Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

Gluck E Z I O

Opera in three acts by Pietro Metastasio • original Prague Version of 1750

Cencic, Martinez, Rexroth, Or, Roschkowski, Post

Neue Düsseldorfer Hofmusik/Andreas Stoehr

Coviello Classics COV 20713 (3 CDs)


Revaluation of seemingly well known composers grows apace. Christoph Willibald Gluck "the reformer" (1714-1787) is valued for his later operas which are "in the repertoire", but the neglect of his earlier works - not so early in this case - has been little questioned or explored.

This is a magnificent opera seria, one of the 'canon' in its day (others, Handel included, set the same text). Reconstructed from copyists' copies in libraries in Germany and London, it has been reconstructed by Andreas Stoehr, whose Dusseldorf forces have nothing to fear from better known early opera groups.

The Neue Düsseldorfer Hofmusik is of world class and this recording is compellingly exciting to hear; intending to sample it, I was quickly engrossed and listened to the first act (80 mins) straight through. The singers treat of love, disappointment, revenge, conspiracy in the usual fashion, the protagonists cast here of high quality even if not too widely known internationally.

The presentation in a 100-page booklet is exemplary, with full texts and translations as well as historical background. It really is a relief to be spared the latest trendy director's attempts to stage it, putting his own mark on how to liven up an old fashioned opera.

This CD version is able to stand up well against Mozart's in the genre, which all came out at Salzburg in quickly forgotten "radical" interpretations for his 2006 celebratory year.

Recommended to listeners who accept that patience is needed for the often lengthy da-capo arias, which express a wide range of moods and bring out some heroic decorative singing.

Peter Grahame Woolf