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Less recommended is Rossini’s Armida, filmed in Antwerp in 2015. Mariame Clément’s production looks low budget both fiscally and stylistically, with its curious and uncomfortable blend of Crusader armour and football strip, set in a stadium complete with podium. Add Armida wearing Marilyn’s pink satin dress from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and it’s a visual mess.

Alberto Zedda conducts with his usual Rossinian correctness and sympathy for his cast but the performance doesn’t take off. Carmen Romeu’s soprano doesn’t help: she looks good, but the role sits uncomfortably in her voice and things get squally in the upper register. Low on vocal thrills, we can at least say she has the notes. Enea Scala is a strong Rinaldo, the sometimes tight quality at the top of his voice lending a squillo ping to Rossini’s wilder writing. He is well contrasted with Dario Schmunck and Robert McPherson, who take on the remaining tenor roles of Gernando, Ubaldo, Godfreddo and Carlo between them. The trio for the three men is the highlight of the performance, thankfully a moment of excitement.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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