Erato’s latest take on Handel’s Agrippina,with Joyce DiDonato as the scheming Roman Empress, has won the LimelightOpera Recording of the Year 2020. Baroque specialists Il Pomo d’Oro are conducted with fiery energy by Maxim Emelyanychev and, besides DiDonato, the cast includes Elsa Benoit as Agrippina’s political rival Poppea, Luca Pisaroni as the bumbling Emperor Claudius, Franco Fagioli as her petulant son Nerone and Jakub Józef Orliński as the lovesick Ottone. Clive Paget caught up with the American mezzo and star of the new recording to find out why this early Handel opera has become so popular of late, the joys of playing an arch-plotter, and how the team behind the three-disc set got it so right.

Joyce DiDonato as Agrippina at the Metropolitan Opera, 2020. Photo © Marty Sohl/The Metropolitan Opera

Congratulations on winning Limelight’s 2020 Opera Recording of the Year. The set has been hugely well received – you must be very pleased?

Thank you so much. It’s a wonderful honour. Indeed, it has been a beautiful gift this year to see how this timely...

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