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When Respighi’s opera finally enjoyed its world premiere in Rome in 2004 I reviewed it warmly in these pages. I have not heard it since and imagine that most readers will be approaching the work for the first time. Reacquaintance confirms that there is much to enjoy, not least the rich orchestral palate that Respighi lavished upon the piece, but also highlights that without the aid of visual distraction the opera is poorly paced and, to be blunt, suffers from a lack of A Big Tune; you really won’t be humming this one afterwards. This recording, caught live at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 2009, is strong. Takesha Meshé Kizart’s soprano has gleam, Markus Brück’s baritone is firm, the supporting cast generally excellent and Michail Jurowski’s conducting wonderfully vivid. The French Revolutionary events pass without the thrills of Andrea Chénier – Respighi may be a more polished composer, but misses Giordano’s ear for a hit.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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