Editors' Notes No Mozartean conductor creates greater controversy—and spine-tingling rewards—than this Belgian firebrand. Though he employs ensembles of period instruments (as on his Le Nozze di Figaro), his explosive, visceral, and raw interpretations are rarely restrained to the typical conventions of classical refinement. Jacobs has likened his recordings to “radio plays,” a concept that comes through in his singers' arsenal of tricks (they whisper and chuckle, in addition to embellishing vocal lines). Even if you prefer more traditional interpretations, there's no denying the drama of Jacobs' catalog, which also includes works by Bach and Handel.

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