Really one of the best productions of any of Berlioz's operas I've seen, and I do prefer it to the thrillingly sung but drab 1983 Met production with Norman, Troyanos and Domingo. Visually, it is much more interesting, traditional and classical in colour and beautiful whether in brown-grey or white-blue shades, and the staging is always involving and never dull. Musically, the production really blew my socks off, the orchestral playing are thrilling in sound, especially the brass, and John Elliot Gardiner's conducting boasts a efficiently-moving and intelligent reading. The chorus are wonderfully precise also. The performances are really of a high standard. Anna Caterina Antonacci sings powerfully and with such immense stage presence and dramatic commitment and Susan Graham is a firm and dramatically thrilling Dido. I did worry that Gregory Kunde's Bel Canto voice would not be up to Aeneas, but he sings with great ring and is appropriately heroic. Ludovic Tezier is also very good as Hector, he has great diction and a handsome voice, more eye contact perhaps would have made his performance even better. Mark Padmore and Topi Lehtipu sing their respective arias beautifully, and Laurent Naouri also impresses. On the whole, a really outstanding production of one of the best examples of grand opera. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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