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Recorded at La Scala in 2007, this film catches Nadja Michael in that brief gaudy hour when her ramped-up mezzo actually functioned as a soprano, and before the under-the-note squall set in. In fact it’s rather thrilling, as she has both the vocal heft and delicate refinement to make a very good protagonist indeed. As ever, her theatrical commitment and exciting dramatic abilities are undoubted. So now we can all see why opera managements all over the world rushed to book her for this role and others to which she has since proved so sadly unsuited. Luc Bondy’s production is simple but strong on Personenregie, Daniel Harding’s conducting assured. Falk Struckmann’s Jochanaan is a good foil for Michael’s temptations, Peter Bronder and Iris Vermillion bicker and bitch effectively as Herod and Herodias and the Narraboth of Matthias Klink is pleasingly mellifluous.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica


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