I am giving this production of one of the oldest operas four stars only with a heavy heart. I believe it is one of the best 'modern' productions of a baroque opera. Thoughtful, intelligent and utterly convincing. The music, singing and dramatic acting are glorious and a real joy. I am usually open-minded towards modern re-interpretations of classical works, but I found the majority of them disapointing. Some even deserve the American coined pejorative term 'Euro-trash'. Well, this work is definitely not Euro trash, however, the director insisted on giving his detractors the opportunity to attack him by his excessive depiction of blood.
Given the story, the sexual and bloody connotations of the Monteverdi masterpiece are understandable and absolutely legitmate. In this production they are both abundant. Whereas I found the sexual gestures a little exagerated, they remained within the tolerable difference of perspective and taste. However, it is the blood scenes that ultimately disturbed me. Had he used blood in the same dramatic way he has intelligently implemented (I am talking here about his selection of colors: red against a background of white and black,) but in a moderate way that suffices to carry his artistic vision, I would have considered the work one of the best 'modernistic' interpretations. Unfortunately the gushing streams of blood by the end of the opera have simply put me off. Had it not been for all the other good qualities of this production, I would have given it two stars only. Hence four stars.