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Simon Boccanegra lost his voice at the Royal Opera

Verdi's Simon Boccanegra got a new set by John Gunter  with slanted columns, doors and floor depicting a wonky period of Genoan history.  John Eliot Gardiner's tempi were  brisk and incisive  in the crowd scenes, but somewhat lacking in lyricism in the solo and duets.

Ferruccio Furlanetto stepped in as a replacement for Fiesco which gave the show much needed presence. The Royal Opera chorus was great - which gave the show the grand opera feel.  Natalie Ushakova's Amelia was neither here nor there - the voice seemed too unsteady in quiet moments and strained in the big arias. Lucio Gallo had a good start as Simone, but his voice sounded pushed and strained - only to lose it in the final scene when Marco Vratogna (who gave a fantastic performance of Paolo and had just been beheaded off stage) stepped in to sing the most moving scene at the end.

It was altogether an unsatisfying experience of Verdi.


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