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Bellini I Puritani

Elvira Mariola Cantarero ArturoJohn Osborn Riccardo – Scott Hendricks Giorgio – Riccardo Zanellato Enrichetta – Fredrika Brillembourg

Orchestra and Chorus of De Nederlandse Opera/Giuliano Carella

Production: Francisco Negrin (director) Es Devlin (designer)

Opus Arte OA BD7111 D

There's plenty of excellent singing and impressive ensembles in this rare dramatic opera recording from Amsterdam. The direction of the singers and period costuming are fine (though people are incessantly pointing guns at each other) but for us the whole thing is completely vitiated by Es Devlin's ludicrous set design.

The walls though the first Act and the court house in the 2nd were studded with Braille to show, one review informs us, that most of the characters, who often ran their hands over it, were blindly following dogma...

Elvira and Arturo do not act blind and they write to each other in Act 3 (hugely magnified on those walls) to "break out of this limited world and into something new".

This is all explained charmingly, in one of the quite interesting, but to me unpersuasive, short "Extras", by Meisje Hummel, a young assistant to whom it had "come to me suddenly that it had to be like that"...

We have reviewed a less trendy version with Juan Diego Flórez from Bologna, but I fear that I Puritani is really not the opera for us.

There are several CDs, and Sutherland's is highly rated.

Peter Grahame Woolf