Monumental operas deserve epochal stagings. And "Les Troyens" by Hector Berlioz is such a work. This grand opera, complete with ensembles and ballets, large choruses and orchestral set pieces, is given an appropriately grand treatment in this production by the renowned Catalan theater group "La Fura dels Baus" recorded at Valencia's Palau de les Arts. In this coproduction with St. Petersburg's Mariinski Theater and Warsaw's Wielki Theater, the Fura's director, Carlus Padrissa, has gathered around him his faithful collaborators Franc Aleu (video), Roland Olbeter (sets), Chu Uroz (costumes) and Peter van Praet (lighting) who crafted Valencia's sensational "Ring des Nibelungen" (also available on fidelio). "That this is such a feast for the eyes, a veritable orgy of optical opulence, is due to the sheer inexhaustible fantasy and creativeness of the Catalan artist group" (Das Opernglas).
In the first part of the work, Padrissa plays with the present-day meaning of "Trojans" as computer viruses: his Trojan horse carries within it the infection that will cause system failures and, ultimately, destruction. In the second part, Carthage is presented as the mysterious seat of a future civilization, where human life is heading towards self-destruction through environmental disasters. "Ancient myth meets Star Wars" (International Herald Tribune).
A great part of the production's success is due to conductor Valery Gergiev, who "leads a thoughtfully paced performance rich in detail and draws fine playing from the orchestra" (International Herald Tribune). The Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana itself underscores "what a high level of musical quality it has reached in its fifth season" (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung). Among the large cast of excellent singers, the lead trio stands out: Daniela Barcellona as a "breathtaking Dido" (Das Opernglas) and "true prima donna" (Il Resto del Carlino), the effortlessly singing Lance Ryan as Aeneas, and Elisabete Matos, who paints an "intense, highly expressive" (Das Opernglas) portrait of Cassandra. This is a "worthy and compelling, glittering version" of a "sublime work" (International Herald Tribune).