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Do we have a new entrant to the bizarre world of celebrity baby names? Hot on the heels of poor real-life mites Sistine, Halo and Saint we now have Satanella, who sounds infinitely more fun. This is courtesy of Richard Bonynge, who has exhumed yet another obscurity for the delectation of some, the derision of others. Balfe premiered Satanella in 1858 and then trimmed the work, and Bonynge has further edited it. It’s a lurid and dodgy tale involving demons, pirates, clocks striking midnight, virgins sold into slavery and love between half-siblings, culminating in Satanella renouncing evil and ascending to heaven on a cloud, where, upon arrival, she hopefully changes her name to something more advisable. It’s certainly enjoyable, awash with the tuneful ballads for which Balfe was famous. Bonynge conducts with affection and his cast is good. Sally Silver takes the title role, her winning soprano only pushed slightly at the very top, Kang Wang is a melodious tenor lead, and there is an innocent charm to the piece.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica


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