One of the first operas deserving of the name, Didone is our first surviving musical version of the famous episode in Virgil's Aeneid where the Trojan hero loves and then cruelly leaves the noble Dido. Cavalli learnt at the feet of Monteverdi, and his dramatic transformation of the story is all the more expressive for its intimacy, worthy of the examples set by his master. At the centre of this bold and simple staging – the first opera production by comic actor Clément Hervieu-Léger – is the Queen of Carthage herself, sung with uncompromising intensity by Anna Bonitatibus. William Christie and his singers and players show themselves entirely attuned to the world of Cavalli, where meaning and music fuse.
Running time: 176 minutes
Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS
Awards Issue 2012
“With a small orchestra of solo strings, continuo and a couple of woodwind, the focus is very much on the declamatory skills of the singers. Anna Bonitatibus is outstanding, especially in her confrontation, impassioned but dignified, with Aeneas...elegant, well-paced conducting from William Christie.”
“It's a fascinating piece. Cavalli treats Giovanni Busenello's libretto with dignity in a responsive setting...So, too, does Hervieu-Leger, capturing its complex narrative and emotional interaction with flair...there are no weak links in the cast, who impress as a real ensemble of actors...as always, Les Arts Florissants perform with enormous style.”
“Anna Bonitatibus as Dido is first-class; her powerful mezzo voice is as resplendent as her wonderful name and Krešimir špicer’s Æneas is hardly far behind...Christie’s direction can almost be taken to guarantee a fine performance and that’s the case here...If you wish to have only one Cavalli recording in your collection, this would vie strongly for that honour”
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