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L’Ange de Nisida is an opera that Donizetti composed for Paris, only for it to remain unperformed when the intended theatre went bankrupt. Much of the music was then used in La Favorite, so some may be familiar to you. Opera Rara has issued a recording of last year’s concert performance at Covent Garden, the opera’s world premiere, after its reconstruction from a jumble of documents. Is it a lost masterpiece? I am not convinced. It’s certainly interesting to hear, and Mark Elder’s conducting is its strongest card as he elicits emotional playing from the Royal Opera House Orchestra. But the compositional inspiration is patchy and the libretto from stock. Some elements, for example the complex finale of Act III, show Donizetti at his finest. Other scenes meander, and the comic role of Don Gaspar is more annoying than amusing, although Laurent Naouri gives it a good go. Joyce El-Khoury’s soprano flickers in and out of focus and at times sounds wiry; David Junghoon Kim’s tenor is elegant but sometimes slight. Vito Priante’s baritone takes the vocal honours, consistently firm of tone.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica


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