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Cilea’s L’Arlesiana has never quite made it somehow – always the bridesmaid – and Rosetta Cucchi’s production, filmed in Jesi, shows why. The tenor and mezzo leads are juicy, the soprano and baritone roles rather wan, and the titular temptress never appears – though in this production she does throughout, which is mistake No 2. (Mistake No 1 is a mimed dream during the Prelude). Things settle down eventually and Annunziata Vestri provides a powerhouse Rosa Mamai, with Dmitry Golovnin as a suitably unhinged Federico, a plangent tenor, slightly strained on high. Mariangela Sicilia makes much of little as Vivetta, despite having to carry a small glass tank everywhere (why?); and Stefano Antonucci makes even less as Baldassarre. In the end, Cucchi throws the baby in with the bathwater and sets Act III in an asylum. The result: one hot mess. The cast, aided by Francesco Cilluffo’s lively conducting, rises above it.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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