Release Date:

Jun 2016



Sound Format:

2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

Catalog Number:


Handel: Saul (Glyndebourne)

Christopher Purves (Saul/Apparition of Samuel); Iestyn Davies (David); Lucy Crowe (Merab); Sophie Bevan (Michal); Paul Appleby (Jonathan); Benjamin Hulett (Abner/High Priest/Amalekite/Doeg); Ivor Bolton (Conductor); Barrie Kosky (Director);

Glyndebourne’s Saul stole the summer and had critics raving. The Guardian (****) applauded ‘virtuoso stagecraft’ from director Barrie Kosky in his debut production there, calling the show ‘a theatrical and musical feast of energetic choruses, surreal choreography and gorgeous singing’. For The Independent, which ranked it amongst five top classical and opera performances of 2015, there was ‘no praise too high’ for the cast. The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Ivor Bolton sparkles from the pit with period panache, and designer Katrin Lea Tag’s ‘exuberant costumes’ (The Times ****) set the Old Testament story in Handel’s time, with a witty twinge of the contemporary.


"Musically this evening is well-nigh flawless. No praise too high for the singing of Davies, Appleby, and Purves; of Lucy Crowe and Sophie Bevan as Merab and Michal respectively, and of Benjamin Hullett as a cross between a clown and a soothsayer." (The Independent ★★★★★)

"Barrie Kosky’s first show for the company is a theatrical and musical feast of energetic choruses, surreal choreography and gorgeous singing ... Ivor Bolton conducts the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment with tremendous elan: theatrically and musically, this is one of Glyndebourne’s finest shows of recent years." (The Guardian ★★★★)

"There is nothing safe about this show. It's a knockout that brings the work blazingly alive and transforms bewigged pieties into high human drama." (The Daily Telegraph ★★★★★)

"The other big success of the season was Saul, Handel's oratorio, given a searing production by Barrie Kosky - vibrant , challenging, often shocking, it blends traditional visuals with contemporary action and choreography to create an amusing, emotional and sometimes outrageous world. Ivor Bolton's conducting is superb: he lives and dies this work, as does all the cast. Christopher Purves is moving as Saul; his encounter with John Graham-Hall's Witch of Endor is deeply unsettling. Iestyn Davies's eloquent David is career-defining; Lucy Crowe's spiky Merab and Sophie Bevan's gentler Michal share soprano honours." (Opera Now ★★★★★)

"Ivor Bolton's relatively orthodox musical approach meets one of the more controversial modern opera directors, Barrie Kosky, with rewarding results... After the visually impressive first scene, there are many splendid trompe l'oeils, with an effective use of light, colour and movement... Perhaps the most significant observation one can make about the singers is their total dedication to the drama, with extreme clarity of diction and expressivity. Christopher Purves is utterly consumed by his role as Saul, which is the only Handel title role sung by a bass. Iestyn Davies is vocally outstanding as David, with customary melting melismas. Lucy Crowe as Merab excels in 'Mean as he was', with well-controlled slow phrasing and nice tone. The Glyndebourne Chrorus is exemplary as always." (Opera)