Cavalli: Giasone

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
WORKS: Giasone
PERFORMER: Michael Chance, Gloria Banditelli, Catherine Dubosc, Harry van der Kamp, Michael Schopper, Bernard Deletré; Concerto Vocale/René Jacobs
CATALOGUE NO: HMX 2901282-84 Reissue (1988)
Cavalli’s opera is a strangely distorted retelling of the myth of Jason, made all the more bizarre by intercutting the tragi-heroic story with comic commedia dell’arte-like scenes – presumably to appeal to the wide opera-going public of 17th-century Italy. René Jacobs’s rather studied direction of the measured recitative which carries the essence of the drama can seem slightly static; but there are some gorgeous musical moments, and overall the work is curiously compelling. Michael Chance paints a convincing portrait of Jason’s ambiguous character, Gloria Banditelli makes an icily imposing Medea, and Catherine Dubosc a suitably anguished Hypsipyle. Kate Bolton