Cyrano De Bergerac is never going to be one of my favourite operas I don't think, but on first hearing- via the Placido Domingo performance- I was very, very moved by the final scene and there is some lovely music. This, like the Domingo performance, is a wonderful production. It is a very handsome production visually, with very stunningly evocative costumes and sets. The staging is always involving, the final act completely overwhelmed me in how genuinely moving it was in particular, and the balcony scene in terms of individual scenes was also wonderfully done. The orchestral playing is just as marvellous, with attention to balance and musicianship. I want to give a big shout-out to the woodwind, the orchestration is very heavy on them in the final act and they did exceptionally well. The chorus sing beautifully, particularly in the wordless soldiers' chorus, and the conducting keeps things moving without rushing or feeling too pedantic. Roberto Alagna gives one of his finest ever performances in the title role, along with his Covent Garden Romeo, Chatelet Don Carlo, La Scala Macduff and Choregies D'Orange Don Jose. He is in great voice, his top is thrilling and his phrasing elegant especially in his great arioso Oh Paris!, while his acting from cocky and heroic to delicate and tired is done to rousing and poignant effect. Richard Troxell makes for a sympathetic and sonorously sung Christian, with his one man allegiance duet with Alagna a definite highlight. Nathalie Manfrino is great also as Roxanne, her looks may be more striking than her voice but her voice is still a pleasant and healthily produced one with a definite bloom at the top, and her acting is genuine, her Je Lisais, Je Relisais being her best moment. Nicolas Rivenq is also commanding in his role. In conclusion, a wonderful production of a neglected work. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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