The final opera Handel wrote and produced for his time in Italy, Agrippinais a delicious piece depicting the eponymous character’s machinations to see her son Nero crowned Roman Emperor. Along the way, Agrippina strings along not just one but three lovers, playing them off each other in order to see her plans into fruition.

This eagerly awaited new release from Erato sees Joyce DiDonato lay down her acclaimed interpretation of the role on disc, and she’s surrounded by a cast of equally esteemed Handelians, with her usual collaborators Maxim Emelyanychev and his Il Pomo d’Oro on hand. The mezzo can be hard to write about, because you find yourself constantly reaching for the same superlatives. It’s hard not to do the same here – 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. DiDonato’s interpretation sets a new standard, and her Pensiere, Voi Mi Tormentateblistering in its self-doubt and...

This article is available to Limelight subscribers.

Log in to continue reading.

Access our paywalled content and archive of magazines, regular news and features for the limited offer of $3 per month. Support independent journalism.

Subscribe now