fri 17/01/2020

Orlando Furioso, Barbican Hall | reviews, news & interviews

Orlando Furioso, Barbican Hall

Orlando Furioso, Barbican Hall

Slightly second-rate Vivaldi given a slightly second-rate performance

Jean-Christophe Spinosi: Fails to translate the excitement of the recording studio to the concert hall

Ariosto’s epic poem Orlando Furioso has yielded more than its fair share of operatic spin-offs. Inspiring three operas apiece from both Handel and Vivaldi, as well as works from Lully, Haydn, Caccini and Rameau, its vivid stories of love, magic and revenge were plundered freely by composers for the better part of two centuries. It’s a rich seam of works, and one the Barbican is celebrating with a triptych of concerts. We’ve already had an exceptional Alcina from Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre, and Il Complesso Barocco will present Ariodante in May, but last night it was the turn of Jean-Christophe Spinosi and Ensemble Matheus with Vivaldi’s Orlando Furioso.

The evening was made suddenly and gloriously worthwhile by a single aria: Ruggiero’s “Sol da te”

Share this article


If Christian Senn was the "token male of the piece" what was Philippe Jaroussky?

@ Kate I was just going to post that! Surely just because Jaroussky sings in the upper registers (rather well one concedes)... Pitchism!

Surprisingly full review, considering the reviewer wasn't seen again after the interval...

Rather than spend the second half in splendid isolation down at the front I stayed up in the top section of the concert hall with a friend I met in the interval. There was actually an interesting difference acoustically up there, with various of the mezzos coming across surprisingly better over the orchestra than down in the stalls.

"the first major American production of a Vivaldi opera at Santa Fe."; Actually, San Francisco Opera did ORLANDO FURIOSO in 1989, with Marilyn Horne, Jeffrey Gall, Kathleen Kuhlmann etc. It's on DVD.

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters