I was fortunate enough to attend the concert performance of Les Troyens at the 2012 Proms, with the same forces as recorded here. That was impressive enough, but this completely blew me away.
First of all, there is the staging. The visuals are quite simply superb, and the fire-breathing horse will make your jaw drop!
Then the cast. Bryan Hymel stepped in for an indisposed Jonas Kaufmann, and his final act aria brought a standing ovation both in the Royal Albert Hall and here. His singing is exemplary throughout, and his chemistry with Eva-Maria Westbroek as Dido is palpable.
For me, though, the standout performance comes from Anna Caterina Antonacci as Cassandra. Her portrayal of the prophetess doomed never to be believed was electrifying, both visually and vocally.
The lesser roles were all well sung, and Antonio Pappano conducted the ROH Orchestra with purpose and a real understanding of Berlioz's music.
This production is a triumph from start to finish, and has to be seen to be appreciated. A must-buy.
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