The English National Opera has always had an attractively light touch in Handel; this classic production, designed by Nicholas Hytner (director of The Madness of King George and The Crucible), manages to preserve both the work's occasional passion and its undercutting of that passion into urbane absurdity. Anne Murray's Xerxes is a tyrant in love, who learns the hard way that he can neither play with, nor command, his subjects' affections; her forthright declamatory singing, not least in the famous "Larghetto", conveys both the petulance and the final grandeur of a... man undergoing a sentimental education. Valerie Masterson and Christopher Hudson, as the principal pair of lovers, combine perfect singing with an attractive romantic ardour; Hudson in particular makes clear just how heroic a counter-tenor can sound, listened to without preconceptions. In the soubrette role of Atalanta, Lesley Garrett is a cute trouble-maker. Sir Charles Mackerras' conducting gives each of the genre arias of which the work consists both an appropriate intensity of emotion and an overall charm. The English libretto is by Hytner. The recording is decent PCM stereo and the picture, originally produced for TV broadcast, is in 4:3 ratio. --Roz Kaveney [show more]
We will publish your review of Handel: Xerxes  on DVD within a few days as long as it meets our guidelines.
None of your personal details will be passed on to any other third party.