Aside from the music, quality of the playing and the opening night scene, disappointing
Vivaldi, 17th-century French music and baroque music is reason enough to see or hear anything, but Il Giardino Armonico was a sad disappointment. It's not all bad though, the music is energetic and beautiful. The opening night-set scene had a striking dream-like quality to it with the torch-lit grotto. And the quality of the playing is great, the flute, harpsichord and violin were particularly good. There's quite a fair bit that lets Il Giardino Armonico down. The setting is not a very interesting one, very plain and lacking elegance in colour(the dull lighting didn't help though), while the sound quality generally lacks resonance. It was nice to have some dancing, 17th-century music works wonderfully with dancing as seen with the operas of Lully, but the camera work doesn't capture it very well at all. There are a lot of close-ups, and when you can't see the moves or even the person it is difficult to appreciate any intimacy or grace. Having seen a lot of Lully opera productions that are historically aware, it was something to look out for. And actually, the dancing did seem rather static and going-through-the-motions-quality from what could be seen of it. How the players acted actually was what was off-putting most, it is very over-the-top and often it looked as though they were either not really playing the music or looking as though they were playing an entirely different piece altogether. So in conclusion, has things to redeem it but not recommended, sorry. 3/10 Bethany Cox
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