In genereal, these baroque operas do well with updating, and this is no exception updating Händels 1725 opera to the 1930´s in a stylish film noir production. Simplistic, contrasing colours and silent screen type acting and lighting, this is an exceptionally successful update.
For once, the action is straight-forward and reasonable: The queen Rodelinda believes her husband, the rightful King Bertarido to have been killed by Grimaldo, who tries to win her in marriage. However, loyalty and fidelity prevails.
Anna Caterina Antonacci´s expressiveness and presence easily outweight her occasionally shaky tones. Combined with beautiful singing from then up-and-coming counter tenor Andreas Scholl in his operatic debut and not a single weak link in the rest of the cast, this is an easy recommendation.
Andreas Scholl and Anna Caterina Antonacci (Io t´abbraccio):
The bottom line (scale of 1-5, 3=average):
All singers: 4-5
Jean-Marie Villégier: 5
William Christie: 4-5
Overall impression: 5