Then, the castrato known as Senesino as Julius Caesar in the swaggering title role. A contemporary caricature shows this sought-after singer who was a real skyscraper, both in terms of height and musical range. A side effect of the boyhood operation that stopped castratos’ voices from breaking was that they might grow exceptionally tall. For obvious reasons, the role of Cesare is usually sung today by a woman.
When David McVicar's brilliant Bollywood-inspired 2005 production opened at Glyndebourne in 2005 it caused a sensation. At the outset, American soprano Danielle de Niese sang – and danced – the role of Cleopatra. In this revival, the American soprano Joélle Harvey is Cleo; she was in the heroic cast of last year’s muddy La Clemenza di Tito as was the British mezzo-soprano Anna Stéphany, who sings the vengeful young man Sesto.
In the title role is the splendid mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly, returning to the part in which she was so highly praised in 2005.
Giulio Cesare is packed with glorious melodies, teasing duets and grand choruses, and this highly recommended production looks as marvellous as it sounds.
William Christie and Jonathan Cohen conduct the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment over the 12 performances. Not to be missed.
Giulio Cesare is sung in Italian with English surtitles. Public booking opens at 6pm on Sunday 4 March
|What||Handel's Giulio Cesare, Glyndebourne Festival Opera|
|Where||Glyndebourne, Lewes, East Sussex, BN8 5UU | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Victoria (underground)|
15 Jun 18 – 28 Jul 18, times vary; 12 performances, with long dinner interval
|Price||£15 - £230|
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|