Reinhard Keiser: Pomona


If you’re looking to get into opera, this fairly simple piece is a good place to start. We suspect opera buffs would dismiss it as lightweight froth; the Review Corner doesn’t particularly warm to opera yet we’ve enjoyed it. It’s a gateway CD: get into this and heavier opera will seem more palatable.
The plot is very simple: a few gods come together for a contest, to be decided by Jupiter, the Father of the guards and, er, that’s it. No convoluted love story, men in helmets or bats: the title refers to the victory of the fruitful Pomona.
It was written in the very early 17th-century to celebrate the Danish king’s birthday. It was performed in Hamburg, its opera house at that time allowing foreigners to pay for operas to be staged, in an attempt to foster international relations. Operas such as Pomona were probably not high art but more to do with high finance and even higher flattery, so Pomona was paid for by a Dane. The sleeve notes report that the founder of Hamburg Opera House popped his clogs during the performance of this opera, possibly because he was worried about the fireworks setting his beloved opera house on fire.
We found it easy to listen to. As far as opera goes, it’s probably workmanlike — your landfill indie or mass produced R&B as compared to your Smiths or your Michael Jackson. But as we say, if you fancy an easy intro to opera, this might meet your needs. The performers are Melanie Hirsch, Doerthe Maria Sandmann and Olivia Vermulen and it’s on CPO, 777659-2.

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