Belisario concert reviews

November 26, 2012

Opera Rara and the BBC Symphony Orchestra received stunning reviews for the concert performance of Donizetti’s Belisario at the Barbican on Sunday 28 October 2012. Here’s what the critics had to say:

‘Donizetti’s Belisario proved a revelation. Written just before Lucia di Lammermoor (and containing a similar sextet), it’s a muscular, martial melodrama about a Byzantine general whose honour is besmirched by a scheming wife..In the title role, Nicola Alaimo presented an impressive old-school Italian baritone, forthright in style and big in vocal and physical presence. The fluently musical young American tenor Russell Thomas was nothing short of sensational as Belisario’s lost son, while Joyce El Khoury (WNO’s Violetta earlier this year) brought fluent coloratura and viperish intensity to the insidious music for Belisario’s vengeful wife.’  – Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph

‘This semi-staged rendering from the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Opera Rara, the recording company, had the smack of a triumph from the overture’s urgent first chords. Warning phrases, martial brass, festive clamour and beautifully balanced winds pitchforked us into the drama, and the screw kept tightening during the powerful first act.’ – Geoff Brown, The Times

‘Elder delivered a performance of inexorable momentum and considerable power. The soloists were tremendous, though you could argue that the men were fractionally stronger than the women. Joyce El-Khoury’s Antonina dispatched her arias with thrilling precision. Camilla Robert’s Irene was short on innate nobility, though the lustre in her tone is remarkable. There was singing of extraordinary beauty and insight, however, from Nicola Alaimo’ss Belisario, while tenor Russell Thomas brought the house down as Alamiro.’ – Tim Ashley, The Guardian