Belshazzar | Handel | blu-ray

Belshazzar | Handel | blu-ray

Akademie fur alte Musik Berlin | Rene Jacobs

Harmonia, 2011, Blu-Ray,

Kenneth Tarver (Belshazzar), Rosemary Joshua (Nitocris), Bejun Mehta (Cyrus), Kristina Hammärström (Daniel), Neal Davies (Gobrias), Christina Sampson, Lucy Taylor, Andrew Radley, Richard Wilberforce, Vernon Kirk & Andrew Davies

RIAS Kammerchor & Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, René Jacobs

Directed by Christof Nel – A Film by Don Kent

Set Designer: Roland Aeschlimann

Costume Designer: Bettina Walter

Produced by Bel Air Media / Festival d’Aix-en-Provence 2008

Handel's Belshazzar at the Aix Festival was imported from the Staatsoper Berlin. Berlin had built a huge, magnificent production and imported English and American opera singers, including star-turn countertenor Bejun Mehta. Add to this a superb local Baroque instrumental ensemble and an accomplished vocal ensemble, not to mention the world-renowned early music conductor, René Jacobs: and voilà, an operatic hit.

Christophe Nel, a well-respected director in progressive German opera houses teamed up with famed Swiss minimalist set designer Roland Aeschlimann and costume designer Bettina Walter to create a production which respected the supposed austerity of oratorio. This experienced team brought Handel's not-so-high drama and philosophic tragedy to almost operatic dramatic standards as the Persian prince Cyrus overran the dissolute Babylonians and freed the captive Jews.

“The Persian prince Cyrus, was sumptuously sung in heroic stances by Bejun Mehta; Rosemary Joshua, Belshazzar's mother Nitocris, sang in convincingly Handelian terms, and convincingly portrayed a religious zealot troubled by her wayward son. Most beautiful too was the singing of Neal Davies as the Syrian Gobrias, whose son had been killed by the dissolute emperor Belshazzar, a role also well sung and broadly characterised by American tenor, Kenneth Tarver. The star of the show was the RIAS-Kammerchor, able to personify Babylonians or Jews at the drop of a hat, singing magnificently. The Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin again proved itself a world-class chamber ensemble." musicwebinternational

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