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This review is from: Berlioz: Les Troyens [Blu-ray]  (Blu-ray)
This is, unfortunately, a disappointment, mainly because of staging. From the musical point of view, the performance is not bad, though less splendid performances than Gardiner 2003 from Paris. The Valencia Orchestra plays beautifully for Valery Gergiev. Elizabeth Matos is a good Cassandra; Danielle Barcelona is a good Dido. Lance Ryan who has a big voice, sings Aeneas, but his performance lacks subtlety and his diction in French is poor. Singers for the secondary roles are adequate to good.
The staging was made by La Fura dels Baus. I loved their "Damnation de Faust" for the Salzburg Festival 1999, and their staging for the Valencia Ring is impressive. But directing here is in my opinion a big missed opportunity. The opera takes place here in a futuristic world like "Star Wars". For my taste, it doesn't work. Costumes are ridiculous and ugly. Poor Danielle Barcelona. She is a wonderful singer. How they managed to disfigure her here. Dressed her in an awkward sort of kimono, and her head is covered with an ugly wig. She looks ridiculous, like a caricature of the Mikado in the famous Gilbert and Sullivan operetta of... A sad joke
And the direction succeeds in spoiling all the great moments of opera. The mass suicide of Cassandra and the women, one of the highlights of the opera, then entirely not effective here, as it happens behind the heavy curtain and a strong red background, that barely lets see. Another highlight of the opera, the great duet for Dido and Aeneas at the end of the fourth act, is destroyed by the director that chooses to put the two singers on a basket suspended in the air as they sing a passionate love duet, when there is no eye contact between them at all... etc. ...
The Gardiner 2003 performance is currently the best available on DVD and Blu-ray.