The only performance I can compare this with is the Salzburg Whitsun Festival of 2012, directed by Olivier Simonnet. I found the Salzburg staging deficient in most respects, although the singing was pretty fine; I prefer this version, directed with great verve by Laurent Pelly, because sets, costumes, orchestral contributions (love Emmanuelle Haim's conducting) and most of the singers are first rate.
The idea of having the characters as museum sculptures works wonderfully well, especially for Lawrence Zazzo as Caesar. He sings and acts with great panache, and I much prefer him to Scholl in Salzburg. Natalie Dessay is wonderful as Cleopatra--she's fast and light in her coloratura, whereas Bartoli sometimes gives me the feeling she's singing Aida, she's that full-voiced. The only weak link in the cast is the underpowered Varduhi Abrahamian; Anne Sofie von Otter is clearly superior in the part of Cornelia. Unless I can meet up with the Glyndebourne production, this must be my preferred version.
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