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Rossini’s Semiramide was filmed at the Vlaamse Opera, Antwerp, in 2011, in Nigel Lowery’s production. He sets the action in the modern Middle East, rather a one-size-fits- all cliché, which mooches along in some gloom. Alberto Zedda conducts and I must reveal some bias here, as once having sat through his traversal of this work (Berlin, 2003) I almost required resuscitation. Myrtò Papatanasiu’s blonde Babylonian bombshell attacks the role with appreciable gusto and generally good technique. Ann Hallenberg’s Arsace looks nothing like a young man, and her voice, though beautifully schooled and tastefully deployed, is low on thrills. Josef Wagner’s Assur is rather a gravel mixer, and his unfortunate crew neck makes him look more dodgy geography teacher than power-hungry regicide. Papatanasiu apart, it’s rather a trudge.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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