If it sounds a bit like humming the scenery to emerge from the first new studio recording of Monteverdi’s Orfeo in over three years praising the continuo playing, then it’s really not meant to. The sheen on the tone, the range of colour, the effortless, unaffected ornamentation, the craggy depth of the ceterone specified by Monteverdi but so rarely heard – it all adds up to one of the most atmospheric accounts on record.

L'Orfeo

The project is the vision of tenor Emiliano Gonzalez Toro, who not only sings the title role but also directs, presenting an idiosyncratic account shaped by his own philosophy of the work. Taking the hero’s great plea “Possente spirto” as his starting point, he paces the entire opera...

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