What a great Rossini we had at the Royal Opera House! Event if a priori it had all the ingredients for a good opera night (infrequent wonderful score, superb cast, brand new production, good conductor…) you still need to get this magic of the opera working.
David Alden production is colorful and visually appealing. The action flows perfectly though it although it lacks a little bit of coherence (mixing North Korean with Soviet and western icons) and a main idea gluing everything together. But it works.
Joyce DiDonato in the title role was fantastic. For me, better than expected. Voice is back in good shape and the role is not so demanding on the higher registry so she was comfortable. Also the production allowed her to spread all her enchants as an actress.
Daniela Barcellona as Arsace was the counterpoint to Joyce: less skilled in the acting but much more idiomatic and exquisite in her singing.
Having Lawrence Brownlee is one of the best light lyric rossinian tenors nowadays and having him as a Idreno (not a primo uomo role) was a luxury and a real treat. His musicality was awesome during the whole night.
Michele Pertusi after canceling the previous nights finally sang Assur. Probably he was not at his best and he sounded quite tired at the end of the performance.
Pappano had a very nice global concept of the score not as just a succession of isolated numbers. However I’d had liked more crispiness in the attacks and more contrasts on the dynamics, making Rossini sound like Rossini, even if this was the serious one. Orchestra was okeish and chorus was fine in their not so difficult parts.