As noted in my review of the Anne Sofie Von Otter production, Alceste is not one of my favourite operas. It has really fine music, Dyvanities Du Styx- Ombre Larve in this version and performance- is the most famous aria of the opera and justly so, but the story is static. In its Italian version, this performance is truly excellent. The Von Otter production has much to recommend as well even with its couple of failings. Beautifully recorded, the performance is superb musically. The orchestral playing manages to be both stylish and nuanced, and Arnold Ostmann brings to Gluck the same qualities he brought to Mozart, a clear love of the score, an elegant sense of line and buoyant tempos without it rushing too much. The chorus are also beautifully blended and controlled. The stage noise for a live performance is not problematic, often it can be and with variable results. The performances are difficult to find fault with. The star of the show is Teresa Ringholz, her singing is lovely, focused and commanding and she brings a moving yet frightening quality to her characterisation. Justin Lavender makes for a fine Admeto, though with at times a sound that is on the woolly side. Jonas Degerfeldt and Miriam Treichi are also splendid. Overall, an excellent performance of Alceste in its Italian version. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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