The Handel revival of the past half century has gone for little at La Scala. A decades-overdue Giulio Cesare (Julius Caesar) is a big step in the right direction. “Age cannot wither her,” Shakespeare wrote of the heroine of Antony and Cleopatra, “nor custom stale her infinite variety”—sentiments also applicable to her operatic avatar. Glum as we were to hear that Cecilia Bartoli had withdrawn from the role, the news of the scintillating Danielle de Niese as her replacement has us over the moon. The triad of World Cup countertenors remains: Bejun Mehta, smoldering as Caesar; Philippe Jaroussky, seething as his Roman foe Sesto; and Christophe Dumaux, white-hot as Cleopatra’s brother Tolomeo, a very loose cannon. —M.G.
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