Written May 25, 2015
George F. Handel's Giulio Cesare was an enormous disappointment. We were worn out with the repeated lyrics time after time, wondering just why the lines of a piece of music need to be repeated over and over to make their effect felt. It once was said of Roger Williams, founder of the Rhode Island colony, that he thought truth is improved by repetition. Maybe Handel felt the same way.
Natalie Dessay as Cleopatra performed brilliantly, both in her singing and in her acting. Alice Coote as Sextus was unconvincing and a bit contrived. David Daniels as Julius Caesar likewise seemed artificial, unreal, simply not really into the role.
The final scene was imaginative, itself pointing to the sort of reconciliation in Egypt that was needed. To have Ptolemy and Achillas both reappear, sitting alongside everyone else in the cast, was great staging and very creative thinking.
So, all in all, the opera was a mixed bag. I would not recommend it to anyone
Written September 04, 2015
It was very cleverly conceived. Though many seemed to criticize the repetitions, the countertenors, the dressed in drag, etc. it was more entertaining than the original concert presentations and made more understandable. After all, it is a Baroque piece, composed long ago when repetitions were always done. When they are cut you were criticized for doing so. It is an art to be able to repeat many times but with different inflections and feelings. One should study a little background before seeing any opera to really understand it. Both Dessay and Daniels have the parts under their belts though their voices are not as strong as they once were. The mother and son were at their all-round best. It was really worth seeing and hearing.
Written January 30, 2015
An innovative take on a rarely performed Baroque opera, with an outstanding cast. The updated production worked very well. Handel would have been pleased.
Written April 28, 2013
This was my first experience seeing this opera. I was delighted to find it had a comic aspect. I was shocked to learn that Cesare had a high voice (falsetto,counter-tenor) and not a deep commanding baritone. The plot went from flirtatious, to dangerous, to romantic, to bloody and back again to a crowning glory at the end. The production was terrifically inventive and dazzling. I'd love to see it again. The performers were all superb.
Written October 06, 2015
Superb, if you have a chance to catch a Met Opera production on the big screen take it!