Renowned for his work in Baroque vocal music, René Jacobs is most frequently credited as a countertenor and as a choral director. He is somewhat less familiar as a conductor of Classical symphonic music, though he has increasingly delved into this repertoire in recordings with one of Europe's best early music groups, the Freiburger Barockorchester.
…The greatest pleasure of this sonically vivid recording is the splendid orchestral playing, from the taut brilliance of the overture to the delicate tracery of the strings in the final chorus. Jacobs is more than a musicologist/provacateur, he’s a conductor whose charisma comes across in recordings—just listen to the overtures to any of his Mozart operas or his “Jupiter’ Symphony…
Jean-Louis Martinoty’s production and the sets are—merciful heavens—firmly rooted in the 18th century, but by no means weighted down by convention. This Count Almaviva is something of an art connoisseur, a point underlined at the start of act III, where he is seen discussing artefacts that have been brought to him for possible purchase. One, an hourglass, will later be examined by the Countess while she sings “Dove sono,” one of many imaginative little touches. The décor is thus dominated by pictures, mainly by lesser-known French 18th-century artists like Outrey, providing considerable flexibility, and working to magical effect in the final act, where Almaviva’s gardens are based on decorative floral designs by Jan van Huysum and others, the translucency of which greatly aid the unraveling of the complexities being played out. The period costumes are equally attractive; richly burnished or muted yellows and browns for the principals, with bright primary colors for the peasant chorus, although my wife took exception to Marcellina’s red and white candy stripes. ..
"Greer is a highly accomplished player of the natural horn… I find Greer's playing very musicianly: unusually graceful in the phrasing of the quick movements, with gentle, thoughtful playing in K417 and some lovely smooth and clear lines in K495, while the slow movements are all beautifully done—the Romance of K447 refined and graceful, that of K495 often truly poetic with happy details of timing. And there is no shortage of wit in the finales, or of high spirits. Greer improvises his cadenzas: in the first movement of K495 he does, rightly I think, simply a longish flourish, with no reference to the themes of the movement." (Stanley Sadie, Gramophone Magazine)