Handel Vocal Music Offered In New, Traditional Settings

Conductor Paul McCreesh recently recorded 'Theodora' for Deutsche Grammophon.

George Frideric Handel's vocal music — in its myriad forms — has been the focus of recent offerings on disc, both audio and video.

In January, conductor Paul McCreesh recorded Handel's oratorio Theodora with the Gabrieli Consort and Players and soloists Susan Gritton, Susan Bickley, Paul Agnew, Neal Davies and up-and-coming English countertenor Robin Blaze.

That recording, for Deutsche Grammophon's Archiv Produktion, will be augmented by the parent company's upcoming set of Handel's Italian Secular Cantatas "Da quel giorno fatale (Il delirio amoroso)," "Tra le fiamme" and "O numi eterni (La Lucrezia)." The latter features Magdalena Kozená (who recently signed with DG), with Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre.

Meanwhile, a new video from Warner DVD, A Night With Handel, sets various Handel arias in nighttime scenes of contemporary London. The settings range from the sublime to the ridiculous: "Falsa imagine" takes place in a London transit station, while "Al lampo dell' armi" from Julius Caesar opens with a car chase. Singers on the disc include John Mark Ainsley, Sarah Connolly, Rosa Mannion, Claron McFadden and Alistair Miles.