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Three productions of Agrippina are available in DVD. In chronological order of the DVD format we have first Jean-Claude Malgoire and Frédéric Fisbach’s production at Atelier Lyrique de Tourcoing, France in 2004 with La Grande Écurie et la Chambre du Roy (stage production in 2003), Arnold Östman and Michael Hampe’s production at the Rokokotheater Schwetzingen, Germany in 2005 with the London Baroque Players (stage production 1985) and Jan Willem de Vriend and Eva Buchmann’s production at the National Slovak Theatre in Bratislava, Slovakia with the Combattimento Consort Amsterdam in 2006 (stage production 2004). Malgoire was the first to get on DVD. We should add the very recent CD recording of the opera by René Jacobs and the Akademie für Alte Musik, Berlin released in October 2011 under the Harmonia Mundi label.
The original score counted three male roles in “countertenor” range: Nerone, Ottone and Narciso. The original cast on the first performance was a soprano castrato for Nerone, an alto castrato for Narciso but a female contralto for Ottone, according to Winton Dean. Jean-Claude Malgoire’s production has three countertenors, two called male altos, Philippe Jaroussky for Nerone and Thierry Grégoire for Ottone, and one more called male soprano, Fabrice Di Falco for Narciso. Arnold Östman’s production does not have any countertenor and has replaced them with David Kuebler, a tenor, for Nerone, Claudio Nicolai, a baritone, for Ottone, and Eberhard Katz, a tenor for Narciso. Finally Jan Willem de Vriend’s production has Michael Hart-Davis, a tenor, for Nerone, Quirijn de Lang, a baritone, for Ottone, and Clint Van der Linde, an alto (identified as a boy-soprano and countertenor from South Africa on the Internet), for Narciso.
Clearly only Jean-Claude Malgoire respects the original score, whereas Arnold Östman uses the re-composed score of the 19th or 20th century when castrati had disappeared and were replaced by male voices one octave lower, and Jan Willem de Vriend uses the same 19th-20th century adapted score with the compromise of having a male alto for Narciso since in the 19th-20th century Narciso could have been sung, in the German tradition, by a female soprano like Richard Strauss’s Rosenkavalier to take one example of the use of female sopranos for young males.