René Jacobs' acclaimed series of Mozart operas has been full of interesting ideas and lively singing. The newest is one of the strangest, but most fulfilling, of the bunch. The conductor and his crew restored all the spoken dialogue, usually abridged if not cut completely. Then they added all sorts of sound effects and even some original music, based on Mozart, in places where the text indicates a cue, but the score includes none.
This might be tough going for those who have no German at all, but the approach is justified by the freshness it adds to the musical performance. Frequently Jacobs' tempos are radically faster than we are used to. In other operas, this has often just come off as rushed. Here, though, musical numbers that usually seem stuffy come alive.
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