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Two operas on film for stocking fillers, perhaps – both filmed at the Royal Opera in 2017. The perennial La bohème in Richard Jones’s production, which is perhaps your best chance of seeing the whole thing – the sets-within- a-set apparently cut offviews from parts of the theatre. It’s fine-looking and traditional, and the performances are generous in a large-scale manner. Nicole Car is a tender Mimì, Michael Fabiano a rich-voiced Rodolfo. Mariusz Kwiecień and Simona Mihai add sexiness as Marcello and Musetta. Antonio Pappano leads an exuberant performance from the pit, all the more to relish the pathos when it comes.

Likewise with Pappano’s conducting of Madama Butterfly, which showcases the stunning Cio-Cio-San of Ermonela Jaho, who lives and dies her role without distorting her vocal prowess and gives an incredibly detailed physical and vocal performance. Elizabeth DeShong is a deluxe Suzuki, Marcelo Puente a handsome and persuasive Pinkerton, though Scott Hendrick’s Sharpless is slightly wooly. Leiser and Caurier’s production is inoffensive, perhaps bland, but looks fine in close-up on film.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica


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