New England Chamber Opera Group
G.F. Handel Imeneo

Susan Larson — Rosmene
D'Anna Fortunato — Tirintius
Kimberly Daniel de Acha— Clomiris
Thomas Olsen — Hymeneus
Stanley Wexler — Argenius
Swami Amrit, Swami Harideva — Two Blackamoors

Director — Rafael de Acha
Conductor — Philip Morehead
Concertmistress — Jean Lamon

"There was much to commend in the Boston performance. Philip Morehead, the conductor, directed a little band of baroque instruments, and did so pleasingly, except when he treated minuet rhythms with too deliberate and even an emphasis. (Ideally, however, more strings than Mr. Morehead's seven are needed to realize Handel's textural variety.) The singers were clear and definite, true in pitch, and accomplished in divisions. Susan Larson was the Rosmene, Kimberly Daniel the Clomiris (she produced a beautiful measured trill, on the upper G, in the reprise of her aria "E si vaga"), D'Anna Fortunato the Tirintius (the castrato role), and Thomas Olsen the Hymeneus (a tenor, as Handel originally intended, though he recast the role for a bass before the first performance). The fifth character, Argenius, Clomiris's father and Rosmene's guardian, is a subaltern role with only one aria. Stanley Wexler, the Boston Argenius, appropriated a second, which should be Hymeneus's entrance aria and serves to establish his stern, stiff character. Unwarranted tinkering. In other ways the edition was even less acceptable. Handel's structure is dramatically and musically sound. But here the Act II finale was moved to the close of Act I. Act II ended with the aria that is supposed to open Act III. The delightfully ironic and humorous device of both suitors' addressing Rosmene in identical strains was omitted, and only the subsequent duettino, in which they combine in canon, was retained. Conductor and director had produced a singable English translation (with some happy pilfering from the translation by Brian Trowell and Nigel Fortune, used for the opera's first modern revival, in Birmingham, England, fourteen years ago), but the somber, moving finale was quite spoiled by their textual imposition of a pointless "Give me your hands, if we be friends" envoy. James Sellers' decor was apt and simple; the scene changes were archly affected with the compliments of the Chaotic Meditation—Joy of Movement Center. In general, a mixture of silliness, perception, and admirable singing marked the presentation. There was more than enough of the last two to reward a convinced Handelian, but doubters of the ability of Handel's operas to hold the modern stage probably remained doubtful." (Andrew Porter, May 12, 1975)

D'Anna Fortunato, Susan Larsen, and Thomas Olsen

Kimberly Daniel de Acha, D'Anna Fortunato