While Mozart and Beethoven regularly get the period instrument treatment, it’s surprising how rarely it’s been applied to the colourful early-Romantic works of Carl Maria von Weber. Dubbed “The Freischütz Project”, Laurence Equilbey aims to put that right by exploring the impact of original forces on one of the 19th century’s most atmospheric of operas.

The Freischütz Project

Der Freischütz was hugely influential in its day, appreciated by forward-thinkers from Berlioz to Wagner, but also hugely popular with the general public who got genuine chills from the famous Wolf’s Glen scene. Equilbey drives a punchy reading of the score and does a fine job at drawing out the felicities and innovations in Weber’s orchestration, spooky woodwind and rasping natural horns being especially effective throughout. The disciplined yet flexible Insula orchestra is a real draw.

She’s well served too by a fine cast, though perhaps Stanislas de Barbeyrac’s ardent Max good do with a little more vocal beauty at the top end. The standouts are Johanni Van Oostrum’s noble Agathe, Vladimir Baykov’s never overdone...