This is the second DVD of this opera to be released in as many months; sadly both are modernised productions, with evening ware seaming to be the chosen costume for both! Although there are some rather peculiar sets and costumes too, not least Cupid singing whilst sat on what for all intensive purposes are a revolving door! It would be nice once in a while, for a production of an opera, especially a baroque opera, to be staged in costumes appropriate or the time the opera was set in!
The story of this opera revolves around Poppea and her schemes to become Nero's wife, and therefore empress. As a piece of storytelling, it works well, with both the comedic and the dramatic aspects being brought out well. Throughout the singers are excellent, there is not a single weak link, with even the least in the cast being really good singers and actors. I particularly enjoyed Sarah Connolly as Nero and Franz-Joseph Selig as Seneca, but as I have said, all are excellent in this stellar cast. The singers are ably backed up by the instrumentalists and the conductor Harry Bicket.
It is easy to forgive the foibles of David Alden, the director of the opera, and his costume and set designers, especially when the performance if so good, the production positively zings! So much so that when Nero and Poppea sing their famous love duet at the end of the opera, you wish it didn't have to end!
The extras are a cast gallery and an illustrated synopsis which is helpful as there is none in the booklet; neither is there a track listing, which would have been good, if only to tell you know who is singing what! However, despite the drawbacks of this production, this is a wonderful performance and one I don't hesitate in recommending!