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On safer ground is La fanciulla del West, filmed in Naples last year, and looking very handsome in Hugo de Ana’s traditional and skilfully lit production. So no surprises here, but a good story told with style. Emily Magee stars as Minnie, and excellent she is, too. Her soprano has warmth and bloom, plus the tensile strength to ride the orchestral peaks. She inspires confidence at all times. Magee also displays a light touch in her portrayal, not as dowdy as some Minnies, and with an underlying sense of humour. Roberto Aronica and Claudio Sgura as battling tenor and baritone both have the measure of their roles and help build the tension. The large supporting cast is outstanding, each character finely delineated, and conductor Juraj Valcˇuha ensures that every singer’s moment in the spotlight is skilfully supported. (One minor cavil: I know Italians admire Burberry check, but Dick Johnson wouldn’t be wearing it in the 19th century; his coat lining, lovingly displayed, wasn’t created until the 1920s.)

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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