Jean-Marie Leclair, a pure product of the 18th century, was at the crossroads of styles, cultivating a virtuosic art combining melodies à la française and Italian virtuosity stemming from Corelli and Vivaldi. He was 49 when he undertook his first (and only) lyric tragedy: Scylla et Glaucus. In the greatest French tradition, this work combines sumptuous numbers of sentimental outpourings with frightening scenes of fury and terror, in which the orchestra, with forceful passages, plays a dazzling role.
"It's possible to recreate everything about an eighteenth century opera except the audience,’ says director Robert Carsen in a documentary included with this DVD. ‘My work is for modern audiences.’ And how…In this brilliant production, Carsen goes to the heart of the drama…Michael Levine's stylised, bold designs allow the story to unfold with gripping clarity and, remarkably, some of the spectacular set-pieces (especially the storm in Act III) work even better on DVD than in the theatre itself. Barbara Bonney is vocally and dramatically stunning as Alphise…Conductor William Christie responds to Rameau's varied and colourful score with élan, and Édouard Lock's choreography – a version of classical ballet deconstructed and then pumped with amphetamines – is breathtaking."– Classic fM - DVD Best Buy