Nowadays HIP baroque operas take on new height after new height.
This French production featuring in title role French counter-tenor Philippe Jaroussky, with Max Emanuel Cencic in 'skirt role' as Artaserse's sister, new CT stars Valer Barna-Sabadus and Franco Fagioli are a 'must see' item, having previously been issued in CD format to great acclaim.
I will focus on the visual aspect of this performance since this is a DVD release.
The sets and costumes are fabulous to begin with, they are a mixture of rococo and baroque, and the protagonists take on the style well.
The most eye-catching performances come from the pair of Fagioli's Arbace and Cencic's Mandane.
The other skirt role Semira is undertaken by soprano CT Barna-Sabadus, another young up-coming star. He, however, is slightly taller and hence not as 'faminine' in appearance as Cencic.
So actually this Artaserse production has 'two sets' of CT stars - the reigning Jaroussky/Cencic pair and the up-coming Fagioli/Barna-Sabadus pair. Each pair as as good as the other, so this is first rate singing contest non-stop, but the pair of Arbace/Mandane really has more drama, so it is more eye/ear catching.
The lone tenor did a passable but not illustrious job as Arbace's father, the murderer of Artaserse's father (Serse).
The Concerto Köln, one of the longer-serving period bands, benefited from Diego Fasolis' almost dance-like approach to conducting (partly) from the harpsichord.