Cavalli's opera is a strangely distorted retelling of the myth of Jason, made all the more bizarre by intercutting the tragi-heroic story with comic commedia dell'arte
-like scenes - presumably to appeal to the wide opera-going public of 17th-century Italy. Rene Jacobs's rather studied direction of the measured recitative which carries the essence of the drama can seem slightly static; but there are some gorgeous musical moments, and overall the work is curiously compelling. Michael Chance paints a convincing portrait of Jason's ambiguous character, Gloria Banditelli makes an icily imposing Medea, and Catherine Dubosc a suitably anguished Hypsipyle.
© BBC Music Magazine 2001