Handel's Xerxes

« previous episode | next episode »

Saturday, November 27, 2010

In this 2010 production from Houston Grand Opera, Susan Graham leads an all-star case in the title role of Xerxes, the tyrannical and flamboyant King of Persia. Soprano Laura Claycomb sings Romilda, whom Xerxes loves but who loves him not. Countertenor David Daniels is Arsamenes, Xerxes' brother, who also loves Romilda (and is loved by her).

This thorny romantic tangle is further complicated by the fact Romilda's sister, Atalanta (Heidi Stober), also loves Arsamenes and schemes to win him. And Amastris (Sonia Prina), the foreign princess betrothed to Xerxes, arrives disguised as a soldier, to find out why Xerxes has yet to claim her.

HGO presents Nicholas Hytner's Laurence Olivier Award-winning production - lauded during its original English National Opera run as "London's most successful Handel staging ever."

Comments [4]

CoolObserver from New York, New York

When WQXR presented this performance on Nov. 27, 2010, there was an intermission interview with a dramaturge. Could anyone identify and help me find this interview dealing with original sound (vibration tuning) and pace of the music, comparing traditions in London, Paris and Berlin.

Dec. 22 2010 01:01 PM
David Bloom from New York

I think Dr. Schechter must have missed the early music movement, or maybe nobody explained to him why there was one. It certainly doesn't sound like Händel did in 1959, thank goodness. Especially nice the way such different instrument combinations are used for the continuo for different moods. But most of the singing--and comic acting--is terrific too.

Nov. 27 2010 02:54 PM
concetta nardone from Elmont, NY

Just finished listening to a cd of mine of the Golden Swede Jussi Bjoerling. Among the selections was Ombra Mai Fu from Xerxes. Caruso's widow was quoted as saying that of all the tenors she had heard, Bjoerling sounded the most like Caruso. Hearing this aria, I have to agree. Jussi had recorded this before his death and his voice had darkened to a wonderful sound. I grew up listening to him. Wish QXR would play more of his recordings.

Nov. 27 2010 02:42 PM
dr yaakov shechter from new york

This is a very poor production. It's actually painful to listen.

Nov. 27 2010 01:38 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

The WQXR e-newsletter. Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.