Very strong singing, but the production values weren't to my tastes
Les Troyens is for me Berlioz's masterpiece and one of the best grand operas there is. Of the productions available, the best is the Chatelet production with Antonacci and Graham. The Met is also very good, it is flawed with some weird costumes(Domingo's helmet for instance), but the strength of the musical values and the sensational performances of Jessye Norman and Tatiana Troyanos really make up for things. There are many things to like about this Salzburg performance too, though it is my least favourite of the three. The production values were not to my tastes, the sets are very sparse and almost as if they are entirely made of plaster- considering the grand opulence you'd associate with Les Troyens I personally did find it on the cheap side- and I also disliked the red and blue gloves, they looked really silly and didn't add anything. However, the orchestra play with such stirring power, and the conducting is efficient and authoritative. The chorus are splendid. There is some good staging, Nuit D'Ivresse is quite erotic and the Royal Hunt and Storm scenes are staged superbly with no sense of the superficial. The singing is excellent as well. I did think that Deborah Polaski's voice was not rich enough for Dido, though her acting is very moving in this role, but she is a revelation as Cassandre, singing with a huge crystalline voice and meeting every ounce of the character's complexity. Jon Villars is young, heroic and has a brilliant tenor voice that sounds fresh and ringing in tone, my personal favourite of the three Aeneas' I've seen on DVD. Yvonne Naef is a very strongly characterised and intelligently sung Anna, and while his voice has lost some of the power he had in the 80s Robert Lloyd's Narbal is otherwise excellent. All in all, didn't do much for me visually but the musical side was just exceptional. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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