What a find the opera Il Postino was. A touching story that does equally well at warming the heart and music with a romantic sweep and lyrical harmonies that remind one of Puccini and Debussy(without being too derivative of them). And how better to come acquainted to it than via this production, which is just wonderful in all areas. The costumes and sets have lots of warm colour and are highly attractive to look at, and the loving way the production is shot compliments that in alternative to hindering. The orchestra play Daniel Catan's(who sadly died not long after) truly beautiful score with the lyricism, sweep and subtlety that is necessary, as well as showing great phrasing, while the conducting with the long lines and the nuances allows the poetry to also come through with no problems at all. The staging never tries to be too much and never becomes too stolid either, instead there is a lovely simplicity to it as well as many moments of emotional power. Who can't not at least shed a tear during the final scene, I for one was incredibly moved by it and it looked like Placido Domingo was too judging by his face. Domingo as ever sings with burnished tone, still sounding great at 70, and his acting skills are wise and noble, as always he doesn't just play the character, he embodies the character. He is matched superbly by the more youthful Charles Castronovo, whose ringing tone and charming, warm-hearted and good-natured acting makes for a winning performance. The two work wonders and very naturally together, the final scene is clear evidence of that. And even when the two come on stage together during final bows Domingo allows Castronovo to take a solo bow which was most touching and generous. Cristina Gollardo-Domas is appropriately sympathetic, and the lovely Amanda Squitieri sings clearly and her acting is passionate. In conclusion, heart-warming and beautiful as an opera and as a production, if asked if recommended the answer would be a very easy yes with no hesitation. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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