Handel: “Rinaldo” / René Jacobs, Vivica Genaux
First performed in London in 1711, this hit opera was performed 53 times during Handel’s lifetime. It is an opera seria about the first crusade. It is said to have been completed in only two weeks, and a significant portion of the arias were adapted from previous works. The role of Rinaldo, the main character, was sung by a castrato when the opera was first performed, but in this recording, the role is played by mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux. The other castrato roles are sung by countertenors (Christophe Dumaux、Lawrence Zazzo、Dominique Visse). The only male bass is Argante, King of Jerusalem, sung by James Rutherford.
As already mentioned, this is Handel’s London debut, but perhaps because of its short production period, it is full of plagiarism from his own works. This “appropriation” was made possible by the fact that at the age of 25 he had already written many cantatas, oratorios, and operas in Hamburg and in Italy, and had a large database of his own works. Such “plagiarism” was not limited to his own works; in his later concerts of theater oratorio works, for example, he borrowed a considerable number of themes from Telemann’s Tafel Musik for the organ concerto to be played between acts, which, if it were today, could have resulted in an intellectual property lawsuit. In any case, “Rinaldo” was a very well-written opera and a great success.
Noteworthy in terms of instrumentation is the use of four trumpets and three recorders (one of which is a sopranino). The recorders were probably played by two oboe or trumpet players at the time. René Jacobs assigns a player to each, and in some cases where the score does not specify the instruments, such as the Muslim military march in Act 3 (Scene 5), he uses the oboe and sopranino recorder simultaneously to great effect. The four trumpets and timpani used in the march of the Christian troops in Act 9 and the battle scene in Act 11 are also impressive. #baroque #handel #片山俊幸