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When this production opened at the Met in 2012 it received mixed reviews. Watching this recording it’s hard to see why, as Joyce DiDonato’s central performance is so riveting that it alone makes this disc worth purchasing. The mezzo might not have the optimal luxury of tone for the role but she more than compensates with the most vocally adept and dramatically detailed performance. Her coloratura is always meaningful (as well as pinpoint accurate) and her sense of line immaculate. Mary’s descent to the proud but palsied queen of the final scene is immeasurably moving. Opposite her, Elza van den Heever makes a confident house debut as Elisabetta, working hard on not just her vocal performance but also in delineating the moral dilemma in which she finds herself. Matthew Polenzani is a dull dog as Leicester, Matthew Rose a sympathetic Talbot. Maurizio Benini conducts idiomatically and David McVicar’s large-scale but simple production is effective.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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