Colston Hall, Bristol - L'incoronazione di Poppea
MONTEVERDI 004-web

©Shotaway

8 May 2017

The Guardian ★★★★★ by Rian Evans
'Impressive playing by the English Baroque Soloists and standout performers including Kangmin Justin Kim make a memorable semi-staging'

'Gardiner’s musical characterisation and Elsa Rooke’s semi-staging brought great clarity to the hierarchy of lovers and their relationships, highlighting the servants’ delicious undercurrent of satire. The genius of Monteverdi could not be better honoured.'

'For his celebration of the 450th anniversary of Claudio Monteverdi’s birth, Gardiner has assembled a touring ensemble of remarkable quality, with a standout performance here from Korean-American Kangmin Justin Kim, as Nerone. His countertenor often defies belief with an elegant tone, instrumental agility and nuanced expressive colouring. It’s a sound to die for'

'The ecstatic intertwining of Hana Blažíková’s soprano – all refinement and wholly idiomatic musical style – in Nerone and Poppea’s duets produced the most sublime moments, the intimacy of the English Baroque Soloists’ accompaniment judged to perfection'

The Times ★★★★★ by Richard Morrison
'The flow is seamless, yet the fluctuating emotions of these cynical or anguished souls are captured in microscopic detail'

'Do as Nero would do and ruthlessly bribe, cheat or bully your way to a ticket for the latter'

'What a stunning cast they are: Kangmin Justin Kim, more turbo-charged male soprano than countertenor, is a mesmerically volatile Nero, Marianna Pizzolato ferocious as the wronged wife, Ottavia' 

'Gialuca Buratto gloriously resonant in subterranean depths as the stoic Seneca – and so on down the line with the men of the Monteverdi Choir popping up to fire thrilling broadsides of exultation or woe'

'A crowning glory, you might say, to Gardiner’s half-century association with Monteverdi'