In my opinion this is a "strange" opera (strange comparing to other Prokofiev operas). It has elements of ROSSINI, a little Verdi, a little of Puccini, Strauss AND, of course a lot of Prokofiev in it. It IS modern in style but has its roots in the Italian bel canto/buffa 1800 (Rossini)tradtion.
I dont know if I dear to reccomend this to opera-newcombers, looking for some ROMANTIC period russian opera music/singing (Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninovs "The Bells", Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky etc) BUT if you are looking for VERY good music, singing, and GREAT conducting... and SOMETIMES a more "mellow" Prokofiev... this set is for you.
This has not the schezoid music you could find in, as an example, "The Fiery Angel" or some theme moments you find in "Love for three oranges" (well it has some themes but not that famous as in "the oranges") but it has a lot of good music, singing and those discs has a nice sound and that should be enough for music lovers in general (Prokofiev lovers should def. NOT be out of of this masterpiece but dont expect anything spectacular... more than straight, forward moving good music, conducting and singing, specially good Prokofiev-style music at the first disc).
For Philips.. I should advice you do a libretto in western style written russian, so you could follow this in english, german, french and so on. I understand if you like russians to enjoy and follow this libretto too, but I think TWO versions of this libretto would be in order. Othervise this libretto is filled with information in english, french, german, so dont worry about that (songtexta/libretto too comes but its probably hard to follow for must of us even if english is our language because of russian kryllic version choosed by Philips).
To rate this disc and not give it five star would be, in my opinion, nearly insane but as I wrote before... dont expect any "Tosca" arias or typical good Prokofiev ballet music in this... or russian romantic... or not completly modern style either. Its a mixed bag having its roots in Italian buffa/bel canto AND some modernism parts in music and is by that very special, fun, intresting... true art from one of the greatest composers ever.
This is a good, quite FUN solid opera with fantastic singing, music and conducting and if that is what you want, this set is highly recommended.