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Handel: Riccardo Primo, Acts 1 and 2

Ian Skelly presents Acts 1 and 2 of Handel's opera Riccardo Primo, written for the great castrato Senesino. Plus Kings and Queens: Beethoven's Piano Concerto No 5 in E flat.

Handel Operas 2009

As part of BBC Radio 3's complete cycle of Handel's operas, Ian Skelly presents Acts 1 and 2 of Riccardo Primo. Written for the great castrato Senesino, Handel's only opera about an English sovereign contains arguably some of his most beautiful and challenging arias.

This version of the story of Richard I or Richard the Lionheart coincided with the coronation of George II - a stroke of good fortune for the astute composer, who revised the opera substantially as homage to the new king. The revised version emphasised the heroic and romantic aspects of George's great predecessor, dramatising his conquest of the island of Cyprus and his marriage to a beautiful Spanish princess.

Handel: Riccardo Primo (Acts 1 and 2)

King Richard I ...... Lawrence Zazzo (countertenor)
Costanza, his betrothed ...... Nuria Rial (soprano)
Pulcheria, daughter of Isacio ...... Geraldine McGreevy (soprano)
Isacio, governor of Cyprus ...... David Wilson-Johnson (bass)
Oronte, Pulcheria's lover ...... Tim Mead (countertenor)
Berardo, Costanza's tutor ...... Curtis Streetman (bass)
Chamber Orchestra of Basel
Paul Goodwin (conductor)

Plus Kings and Queens: music inspired by kings, queens and emperors.

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No 5 in E flat (Emperor)
Eduard Kunz (piano)
BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Jac van Steen (conductor).

2 minutes