A decent production of one of Rossini's weakest operas
I like Rossini's music very much and his operas too. My favourites are Il Barbiere Di Siviglia, La Cenerentola and William Tell, though even the operas with not so good stories have wonderful music. Mosè E Faraone, O Il Passaggio Del Mar Rosso is really not one of his best, in fact for me it is one of his weakest. The music has some nice moments but it doesn't feel as inspired as some of his other work, but the real let down to the opera is the libretto, which is utter dross. This La Scala is decent and does much with what they have, but I do hesitate in calling it great. There are things that I did find disappointing. The video directing did have a tendency to be too jumpy and random. Barbara Frittoli does sing beautifully and she is very musical as a singer, but as an actress as I can find with her she comes across as mechanical, while Tomislav Muzek's voice didn't come across as very attractive to me. But what really let it down was the lengthy ballet, as well danced as it was it dragged on forever and what made it worse was that it was really ineptly choreographed. However, the production does look neat if slightly old-fashioned, and the staging is no-nonsense and uncluttered which is good, already an improvement over some of Luca Ronconi's other opera productions. The orchestral playing has great sense of style and musicality, the chorus are not too static and sing well in tuning and balance and Riccardo Muti's conducting never allows the production to rush or drag too much. Much of the singing is great. Giuseppe Filanotti does deserve credit, as his character is the only one that is developed well in this opera and as well as a flexible voice and he is always expressive. Erwin Schrott is very good as the Pharoah and at this point showed much promise. The two best performances though come from Sonia Ganassi whose singing is rich and her acting moving and especially Ildar Abdrazakov who commands the stage brilliantly and he also has a ringing warmth to his voice. In conclusion, has many good things but a few improvements could have been made. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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