03 Feb 2006
Rodelinda, Barbican, London
By Andrew Clark [Financial Times, 3 February 2006]
My first encounter with the work of Alan Curtis, the US Handel scholar and harpsichordist, was at the Piccola Scala, Milan, in 1982, when he conducted Ariodante. I have not forgotten his ability to set the right tempo, the way he understood the music's inner rhythmic life, the fact that nothing was overdrilled or in your face. Listening to his Rodelinda on Wednesday made me realise afresh what a treasure he is, and how underrated. His own ensemble, Il Complesso Barocco, has kept him young: Rodelinda suggested a symbiotic relationship, rather than the leadership- by-personality of so many baroque ensembles. Curtis does not need to impose his personality. His authority and integrity speak for themselves.