A sold-out Barbican Centre in London recently saw a spectacular performance of Handel’s Ariodante with Joyce DiDonato in the title role, Karina Gauvin as princess Ginevra, Matthew Brook as the King of Scotland and Marie-Nicole Lemieux as the villain Polinesso. This was the final concert of a European tour which was to promote the new recording by Il Complesso Barocco directed by its founder Alan Curtis.
In his review of this performance, Rupert Christiansen of The Telegraph describes Matthew Brook’s portrayal of the King of Scottland as “sympathetically incarnated”, and he goes on to praise the whole cast by saying that “it is impossible to imagine these roles more elegantly and gorgeously sung than they were here… this was a feast of bel canto so delicious as to melt the prejudices of even the most hardened Handel opera sceptics.”
John E. de Wald of Opera Britannia writes that “Matthew Brook made the most of the role of the King of Scotland, his bass deep and emotive… Invida sorte was sung with pronounced feeling.”
Richard Fairman of The Financial Times comments that “Matthew Brook [was] a sonorous King of Scotland.”
Il Complesso Barocco’s studio recording of Ariodante has just been released on Virgin Classics. Rupert Christiansen of The Telegraph has awarded the recording a five star review, writing that this “supremely polished performance… is more than a match for the rival versions in the current catalogue.”
Hugh Canning of the International Record Review writes that “The Briton Matthew Brook [...] proves himself an outstanding Handel bass as the King of Scotland.”
To purchase this CD or to read more click here.
Matthew Brook, now firmly established as one of the most important Handelians, has also recorded a Gramophone Award winning account of Messiah as well as Polyphemus in Acis and Galatea with the Dunedin Consort and Players for Linn Records, for whom he will record Handel’s Esther later this summer for release in 2012.
Matthew will perform again with Maestro Curtis later this month when he makes his role debut as Seneca in Pier Luigi Pizzi’s production of L’incoronazione di Poppea as part of the 74th Festival del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, with Susan Graham in the title role. More information on the production can be found by clicking here.