To be honest, this is the first opera recording Splendid has reviewed. Before you envision 300-pound sopranos belting out Wagnerian arias in Viking garb, let me assure you the Léone is nothing like any opera you’ve heard before. The score for Léone is entirely electronic — disembodied sound blaring through loudspeakers — a symbol of detachment and alienation. The music is sparse yet expressive — punctuating the libretto. It is subdued, foggy almost, as if bubbling up from some subconscious recess of the mind. The plot, while perhaps tame by “Natural Born Killers” standards, is by operatic standards intense to say the least. Its treatment of such topics as schizophrenia, fetishism, bestiality, murder, and infanticide clearly sets it apart from even the most sordid of 20th-century operas. Remarkably, the vernacular style of librettist Philippe Minyana lends a sense of whimsy to the atrocities described in the story, resulting in a sort of “black fairy tale” atmosphere to the whole thing. Perhaps most importantly, the existence of Léone this close to the end of the century bodes well for opera surviving the turn-of-the-century mark.