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This performance from Hamburg has two crowning glories, the soprano and the conductor. Alexia Voulgaridou is a thrilling Cio-Cio San. She has the physique du role and the ability to draw her audience in without being hammy, and the bonus, has a firm-toned soprano of many colours and beautiful dynamic grading. She identifies completely with the role and is deeply moving. Alexander Joel’s conducting is equally impassioned and responsive of his cast, and with his soprano he builds quite a performance. Cristina Damian’s Suzuki, like all good proponents of the role, is faceless until needed, when she’s very effective, and Lauri Vasar’s Sharpless is cut from the same cloth. As Pinkerton, Teodo Ilincai looks the part and his tenor has a thrilling top though lacks some focus lower in the voice. Vincent Boussard’s production is strong and moving – one cavil, Butterfly’s lack of child and collection of spooky dolls is effective but leaves her emoting to nothing at the end.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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