Agrippina is one of Handel's earliest operas, composed during his stay in Italy. It is a comedy with two intersecting plots: the title character's machinations to persuade her husband, aging Roman Emperor Claudius, to designate her son, Nero, as successor; and the competition of Claudius, Nero, and General Otho (Ottone) for the affection of Poppea. Agrippina has become somewhat popular of late because of its good tunes and accessible story.
Some productions ham up the action, but this one captures the humor without taking things to excess. The costumes are generally attractive: somewhat Elizabethan in the first act, although Poppea wears a purple low-cut top with matching pants. Scenery ranges from minimal to nonexistent, but is not missed. The lighting is very effective. The English subtitles are colloquial, and there are separate chapters for most arias.
With the exception of countertenor David Cordier as Ottone, the singers are not widely known, but they all perform quite well under the direction of baroque specialist Konrad Junghaenel. Modest cuts are taken, including the closing recitative and aria by the goddess Juno, who appears to bless the union of Ottone and Poppea.
This Blu-ray's major competitor is the DVD starring Veronique Gens and conducted by Jean-Claude Malgoire on Dynamic. I haven't seen it, but other reviewers give it kudos for the singing and knocks for the costumes and staging. In contrast, this enjoyable production from the Saarland State Theater scores highly in both respects.