Orfeo Ed Euridice is I believe Gluck's most popular opera, and you can definitely see why as the story is very moving and the music amazing. Of the other Gluck operas heard and seen, the dramatic and emotional Iphigenie En Tauride for me is the only one that comes to Orfeo Ed Euridice's level and almost surpasses it. I love this production, and feel that it is a textbook example of how to stage and perform this opera and that productions should learn from it. The production is traditional and looks beautiful, from the handsome conservative settings and classic costumes. I do agree though that there were times where it felt as if there was too much blue. The staging is always involving and never too static or square, the most inspired touch being Orfeo descending into Ades. The Elysian Fields sequence was lovely also. The ballet sequences are nimbly choreographed and danced with passion and grace, it is all very simple but effective in that respect. The orchestral playing manages to be stylish and nuanced, and the conducting keeps things moving briskly. The three leads are faultless. Elizabeth Gale is very good as Amor, and Elizabeth Speicer is a beautiful and moving Euridice, you can definitely see what Orfeo saw in her in the first place. But it was Janet Baker that really captivated. Like Kathaleen Ferrier before her, Orfeo was her signature role and you can see why in this performance. Okay, she is not the most masculine Orfeo there has been, but when everything else is so good that wasn't an issue for me. Her acting is a masterclass of frenzy, dignity and torment, and she as ever sings with a firm and beautiful tone and with some of the best artistry of any mezzo. All in all, Gluck opera as it should be performed, and a must for particularly Baker's performance. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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