This production is a very successful one. If one watches the DVD right from the beginning, one would not miss the fact that the production meant the opera to be a 'play within a play'; and that Ruggiero is actually portrayed by a woman instead of a castrato, and why there are presence of 'men' on the stage apart from the actors and actresses.
The opera itself is splendidly performed. Of the entire performing cast, three sopranos stand out.
Firstly, the boy soprano Alois Muhlbacher as Oberto is simply the BEST portrayal of this characther. He surpasses all the previous sopranos, let alone that on stage, he fits in the role absolutely. Alois sings gloriously. Not only does he own a marvellous voice, but that he also knows precisely how to use his voice. What is even more jaw dropping is that even in his tender age, he is able to perform with dramatic conviction - his vocal acting is truly superb and in the rank of the adult top singers in the field.
As Morgana, Argentinian soprano Veronica Cangemi is clearly more than competent - she pulls off all the arias with real aplomb, and acts with total assurance and conviction. Arguably the best ever Morgana.
Last but by no means the least, Anja Harteros in the title role proves that she is the current reigning Alcina.
Tall and elegant, with a fully commanding stage presence, Harteros owns a lush and fully expressive timbre that really suits this role to a "T". Her vocal range throughout all the passages of Alcina is beautifully flexible and highly effective, at the same time movingly rendered in that she imbues her singing and acting with high emotional voltage, and each scene of Alcina in this performance by her is truly exemplary.
The trouser role of Bradamante is competently handled by Hommerstrom, but it does not appear to be her best performance on this particular night of this recording.
The only possible query one may have in this entirely exceptional cast is Ruggiero, portrayed dramatically very effectively by Vesselina Kasarova, but vocally more controversial.
Kasarova virtually 'shifts gears' in each of the arias' differing registers, and this makes listening to her singing tiring after a good while.
However, it would be a gross overstatement to demounce this wonderful production solely for Kasarova's special vocal treatment of Ruggiero.
The scenary and costumes are elegant and tasteful, and all in all, this is a DVD that deserves viewing on top of all others of the same opera.