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There is a plethora of gender identity confusions and crises to cope with in this month’s selection. The admirable mezzo Anna Bonitatibus plunges straight into the mix with en travesti, in which she indulges her in interest in ‘developing a hermaphroditism fascination’ (her words). And she does it exceptionally well, her arias offering a selection of male characters originally written to be performed by a woman. Bonitatibus copes effortlessly with bravura vocalising in arias from Handel’s Radamisto, Gluck’s Orphée et Euridice (Berlioz’s version), the elegant simplicity of Bellini’s Romeo (I Capuleti) and Ravel’s child (L’enfant et les sortilèges), ranging through roles by Donizetti, Meyerbeer, Strauss and Mascagni, among others. Her voice has a quick and controlled vibrato, with a good and lively snap to it – there’s never a sense that she isn’t in control of her considerable resources – and she displays a wide range of vocal colouration and enunciation. Her one strange habit is to sing quietly on the breath, generally a beautiful effect, but a couple of times lapsing slightly into a Jessica Rabbit whisper. Bonitatibus even throws in a number from Henry Mancini’s Victor/Victoria, where she pushes the envelope as a woman disguised as a man who then pretends to be a woman. How different from the home life of our own dear Queen.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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