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Here’s the other side of the Cavalli coin, an intense drama shot through with rather too occasional bits of light relief. William Christie was a Cavalli novice when he took on the composer’s early (1641) opera, scripted by the same Busenello who wrote Poppea. And you can’t help feeling that the foolery of Giasone is more congenial to Cavalli, though his first act is rather a marvel of dramatic gloom, an hour of unremitting, tormented recit sometimes flowering into a chromatic-bass lament and played with real focus and intent by Christie’s band. Clément Hervieu-Léger, a young Comédie-Française actor, provides the staging, which is one of those anguished-clutching numbers that fairly quickly becomes wearisome. But if you can soldier through to the unexpected lieto fine you will be rewarded with fine performances from Anna Bonitatibus (Didone), Kresimir Spicer (Enea), Tehila Nini Goldstein (Creusa/Giunone), Terry Wey (Ascanio) and others. A bit more lightness all round wouldn’t have hurt.

Robert Thicknesse Read the full review on Agora Classica

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