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Zubin Mehta and his soprano, Violeta Urmana, try very hard to raise this performance from the ordinary. Mehta’s conducting is taut and pacey but not showy – the music and drama unfold naturally. Urmana’s soprano isn’t the most distinctive but here she is on top form, the tone ample and the phrasing generous, and she manages to involve us in Leonora’s predicament. Everything else is operatic business as usual. Nicolas Joël’s production is almost not there in what amounts more or less to a concert in costume. Marcello Giordani’s tenor has an attractive bloom but he eschews his dramatic opportunities. Carlo Guelfi’s baritone is pleasing but too light for the role, Roberto Scandiuzzi’s bass is secure but unexciting, and Julia Gertseva’s Preziosilla curiously lacklustre. The chorus is excellent. But there is little sense of destiny about the event and it’s all rather nice. Leonora’s superb manicure sums it up – I can imagine people in beauty salons asking for “The Hermit”: an elegantly tapered nail, suitable for the breaking of soft bread and clutching at light caging, but nothing more strenuous.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica


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