While not my most ideal production of Il Rittorno D'Ulisse(the 1980 and 1985 performances, and I was deeply moved also by the Luxon-Baker performance), this production is still impressive regardless. I did find the costumes rather drab, even in the case of Neptune, but loved the impressionist backdrops and sets finding them very evocative. Authentic they aren't, not really doing much to duplicate what the audience of Monteverdi's time might've seen, but very impressive to look at. The picture and sound quality are excellent. As is the large but emotionally intimate orchestral playing and Nikolaus Harnencourt's conducting never dull. I can find little fault with the singing either, and the staging maintains the intimate and moving spirit of the opera. Isabel Rey is a tad shrill vocally at times, but she is very animated. Vesselia Kasarova is a very dignified and telling Penelope, with a very flexible voice, Dietrich Henschel's Ulysse is suitably sympathetic and the Melanto of Malin Hartelius is suitably exciting and adorable. All in all, an impressionist Monteverdi, but an approach that works. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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