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Donizetti’s La Favorite gets a non-production by Ariel Garcia-Valdés at Florence, filmed earlier this year. The production comes from Barcelona’s Liceu, and why anyone thought it was worth borrowing for the local premiere of the original French version is a mystery. The gloomy sets are almost non-existent, the costumes often garish, and there seems little attempt to create a story, or encourage any interaction between the performers, who are left to sink or swim according to their own abilities. Fabio Luisi does display a sense of purpose in the pit, and his cast flickers in and out of focus. Léonor, the titular favourite, is Veronica Simeoni, an efficient mezzo with all the notes and some style, but little vocal panache to mark her out from the crowd. Celso Albelo’s Fernand has more lyric grace and knows what he’s about, but he is rather wooden. Mattia Olivieri’s baritone is more promising still, if a touch small, but it has focus, spin and, mirabile dictu, an attempt at a trill. Orchestra and chorus are good, but overall it’s an also-ran of a performance.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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