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The temperature dips somewhat with Verdi’s Giovanna d’Arco, filmed at the Valle d’Istria Festival at Martina Franca. Presumably in an attempt to provide maximum impact for minimum money everyone has a long cloak to swirl and almost everyone a large flag to carry. It must have seemed a marvellous idea until, alas, a seeming sirocco strikes and everyone has to cling on to everything for dear life: it resembles a mass of carrier bags scudding across the stage. The poor baritone deserves particular credit for coping with his parachute of a costume – he probably ended up in Albania. Rising above it all with grace is Jessica Pratt as Giovanna, on very good form, relishing both the pure lines and coloratura Verdi provided. She also manages to look elegant and classy in an otherwise incredibly amateur staging. Jean-François Borras appears rather aimless as Carlo and his tenor seems to blow away along with everything else. Julian Kim’s baritone sounds suave but his costume renders him, shall we say, dramatically incapacitated. Riccardo Frizza keeps control in the pit, but it obviously wasn’t ever going to be an evening where insight or subtlety got a look-in. The chorus deserves a special prize for vocal and dramatic ineptitude.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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