Handel & Leo: Rinaldo (live)
Fernández-Rueda, Francisco; Cardinali, Valentina; Iervolino, Teresa; Hoxha, Dielli; Luisi, Fabio; Orchestra La Scintilla; Tangolo, Simone; Strebel, Kim-Lillian; Pitts, Ana Victória; Accademia del Belcanto Rodolfo Celletti; Cantore, Eliana; Remigio, Carmela; Ascioti, Francesca; Castellano, Loriana; Savinova, Dara
For the first time in modern times, Festival della Valle d'Itria stages the Neapolitan version of Handel's Rinaldo, a pastiche with a Mediterranean allure which Leonardo Leo assembled in 1718 and which was considered lost until a few years ago. The story behind this most rare opera is captivating: the score of Handel’s masterpiece was illegally brought to Naples by the castrato singer Nicolò Grimaldi, who first interpreted Rinaldo in London. Once in Italy, the work was rehashed by Leo as well as other local composers, who adapted it to the taste of the local Neapolitan public, adding some intermezzos and amusing characters. Director Giorgio Sangati turns this work into a “ba-rock” opera set in the 1980’s, where the struggle between Christians and Turks becomes a battle between pop-rock singers (the Christians) and dark-metal ones (the Turks). These two factions represent two opposite perspectives on love and life. Conductor Fabio Luisi is at the head of the baroque Ensemble La Scintilla, a group of specialists in the baroque repertoire. Excellent reviews for the vocal cast who endured an almost 4 hour performance, special mentions to Carmela Remigio (Armida) who was defined “vocally majestic and most convincing in her acting skills”, whereas Teresa Iervolino (Rinaldo) impressed the critics for her vocal and acting skills en travesti and her ability “to convey all the melancholic shades of Handel’s music” (Luca Ciammarughi, classicaviva.com).