Handel: Agrippina

Joyce DiDonato has made Agrippina, one of opera’s more unscrupulous characters, her own, both on stage and now in the studio. She embraces Handel’s huge emotional and vocal demands, and makes a real flesh-and-blood schemer come alive in all her duplicity. She is surrounded by a magnificent cast: Elsa Benoit is a naive but delightful Poppea, Luca Pisaroni a pompous Claudio, Franco Fagioli a preening and self-absorbed Nerone, and Jakub Józef Orliński a ravishingly voiced Ottone. Even the smallish role of Giunone is taken by the wonderful Marie-Nicole Lemieux. Maxim Emelyanychev directs with flair and imagination.

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