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Opera News – July 2015

Opera News
July 2015
By William Braun

“This recording has an out-and-out star performance from Philippe Jaroussky, who, as Anfione, is given a wide-ranging role for a true actor. He encompasses scenes of divine incantation, fury, sudden abandonment and suicide with his limpid scales and love of text. As the titular queen, Karina Gauvin offers dark colorings suitable for this multilayered woman, who leads her life by ulterior motives. Her florid singing sounds appropriately hard-earned. She is chilling in her imperious moments, suitable for a ruler who, so often insensitive to others, is finally turned to stone. Amanda Forsythe’s Manto, with sunshine in her tone, has bright and forward Italian diction, paired with the equally touching and pure Colin Balzer as Tiberino. The Creonte of Terry Wey is a reminder that Baroque singers were prized for their low notes as well as their high ones, while Jesse Blumberg’s Poliferno is a baritone with a major upper register. Aaron Sheehan’s Clearte, in keeping with the spirit of the enterprise, has no “early music” mannerisms at all. Like the rest of the cast, he is good at differentiating lines sung as asides.”

(Niobe, Regina di Tebe recording with Boston Early Music Festival)