The best Ulisse available
Sergio Mascate Pires (email@example.com) | Lisbon, Portugal | 10/14/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Forget the old Harnoncourt recording: Sure it was an outstandig achievment in the early seventies, but today is really outdated. Jacobs version is fine indeed, but this recording is splendid and surpasses it. The singers are simply starring, specially Gloria Banditelli as Penelope (the lament in the fist act is breathtaking). Garrido chooses the right instruments for each ocasion, and the right sinfonias and chorus for the missing parts, all with a high sense of good taste and sensibility for the drama. An exceptional recording."
A noble and magical saga - and cheap too
Julian Grant | London, Beijing, New York | 03/28/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This set presents a different reading to the opulent Rene Jacobs performance, though that is extremely enjoyable too. This one is restrained, but has an intensity in its story telling that is very compelling. It is extremely well cast, with singers that can act with the voice, subtle vocal inflexion being an essential to bring alive Monteverdi's extraordinary declamation. Gloria Banditelli presents a Penelope that is very much a slow burner, but riveting in her intensity of the opening lament (CD 1, track 3), and in her scene with Telemaco (Jean Paul Fouchecourt) who handles the big monologue about Helen of Troy very impressively (CD 3 track 1). Garrido, like Jacobs fills in the missing portions of this drama with music from other works of Monteverdi, and some of his contemporaries, and these scenes, in general more fully scored and extrovert, contrast well with the more intimate and sparsely instrumented scenes of human drama. I would question the use of an interpolated chorus at the very close of Act 5 - Jacobs ends the opera with the duet for the reunited Ulisse and Penelope, which feels musically and dramatically right - but its a small point, and you can omit the chorus yourself!I'm giving 4 out of 5 stars, just because the set does not come with an English translation - a drawback in as literary an opera as this - it is translated into French. Is this why it's so cheap? - a bargain indeed."