To celebrate their 40th anniversary, Andrew Parrott and his Taverner Consort & Players have aptly chosen to record the first great operatic masterwork, Monteverdi's L'Orfeo.
As might be expected from an early-music expert like Parrott, the presentation is faithful to the original small-scale salon performances, which were more like poetic oratorios than grand opera. Thus, colourful singing is eschewed in favour of an almost spoken-sung recitative, with comparatively undemonstrative accompaniment from sparse instruments rather than the sweeping orchestral momentum that would come to characterise opera. The singing is first-rate throughout, with choral harmonies of great warmth.
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