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Cavalli - Ercole Amante (Hercules in Love)
with ballet music by Lully

Ercole: Luca Pisaroni [pictured]
Iole: Veronica Cangemi
Giunone: Anna Bonitatibus
Illo: Jeremy Ovenden
Deianira: Anna Maria Panzarella
Licco: Marlin Miller
Nettuno/Tevere/Spirit of Eutyro: Umberto Chiummo
Bellezza/Venere: Wilke te Brummelstroete
Cinzia/Pasitea/Spirit of Clerica: Johannette Zomer
Mercurio/Spirit of Laomedonte: Mark Tucker
A Page/Spirit of Bussiride: Tim Mead

Concerto Köln
Chorus of De Nederlandse Opera
Conductor: Ivor Bolton
Stage Director: David Alden

Opus Arte DVD A1020D [filmed 2009]

A lavish presentation of a major work of Cavalli, originally c.1762 "the grandest show ever performed in Europe". Updated to exotic effect and contemporary taste by David Alden and Constance Hoffman with imagination and wit, this is a great show now too.

The libretto (subtitled) holds your interest easily through the ramifications of plot. There is no synopsis provided, so this one is useful for getting your bearings: http://www.dno.story&s=241&lang=uk

It is amusing throughout, the music a delicious counterpoint to a jokey treatment of a story of Gods and Mortals familiar to educated members of the Sun King's entourage. Especially hilarious is the clothing ceremony of the grotesquely self assured Hercules, made into a muscular figure with a royal wig to mark the identity with Louis XIV; the director is unsure whether Cavalli & his librettis's parody of royalty was a risk worth taking...

Good singing and energetic acting throughout, and supplemented with generous documentary extras. The making of Ercole amante has a long sequence of rehearsals and insights into the multiplicity of team work with cameo explanations from singers, costume makers etc - even with engineers who create the radio controlled model fish etc which they hope the director won't reject... One of the stars of the show (she has three parts) talks during a work out in the gym about the demanding preparation in her (fairly new) career to maintain the necessary physical fitness of body and larynx for all that is required of her in the physicallity of this production; then she takes us to her studio at home where she shows us all the preparations and juggling with other commitments needed for life in opera and concert work.

Previously seen at La Scala, Covent Garden, and La Fenice, this production of Ercole Amante will win new friends and admirers for Cavalli and the DVD is highly recommended.

Peter Grahame Woolf

See at myreviewer.com a fuller review, as sumptuously illustrated as was the Amsterdam staging (which apparently had been seen in London - when?) ; a website which, on this finding, deserves exploring. PGW