Handel: Agrippina

About the album

Joyce DiDonato has staked a powerful claim on the multi-faceted title role of Handel’s opera Agrippina. In the words of The Telegraph, she sings it with “authority, grandeur and high style”. She has performed it in concert and in the opera house with Maxim Emelyanychev, Chief Conductor of Il Pomo d’Oro. Joining them on this three CD set recording is a cast of established and rising stars that includes Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Franco Fagioli, Luca Pisaroni, Elsa Benoit and Jakub Józef Orlinski.

Gramophone Classical Music Awards 2020

Limelight Recording of the Year 2020:

Opera Recording of the Year has gone to the winning new recording of Handel’s Agrippina on Erato (9029533658). Conductor Maxim Emelyanychev leads Il Pomo d’Oro with American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato as the scheming Empress and a cast that includes Elsa Benoit as her rival Poppea, Luca Pisaroni as the bumbling Emperor Claudius, Franco Fagioli as a petulant Nerone and Jakub Józef Orliński as the lovesick Ottone.

“DiDonato can be hard to write about, because you find yourself constantly reaching for the same superlatives,” wrote Justine Nguyen. “Her singing is simply magnificent, technically brilliant and expressive, without ever being mannered or laborious. In other words, you can’t detect the work, only Agrippina and her fearsome drive to wrest power for herself and her son.”

Arts Fuse – Best Recordings of 2020

Handel’s Agrippina (1709), brought to life by today’s reigning Baroque mezzo, Joyce DiDonato, with a Hungarian period-instrument music orchestra.”

BBC Music Magazine: The best classical albums released in 2020

Handel: Agrippina: ‘DiDonato commands the vocal pyrotechnics, dramatic depth, personal charisma and absolute diction that her role demands’

DiDonato’s rendition of the soliloquising aria Pensieri, voi mi tormentate, singularly affecting and so piercingly phrased, must be a career highlight.

The Times

Joyce DiDonato was in resplendent voice in the title role, making the most of her second-act dramatic scena “Pensieri, voi mi tormentate”: it’s hard to imagine this music sung better.

The Telegraph

Over the course of the opera’s three hours plus, DiDonato has the opportunity to show everything she can do. She uses her ease at the top of her voice to spin beautiful lines and sharpens Agrippina’s claws with her fearsome ornamentation, including a few places where she dashes down to a low, baritonal register full of menace.

Financial Times

Album info

Release date: January 31, 2020
Number of Discs: 3
Format: CD, mp3
Label: Erato