Roberto Devereux review - The Australian

Melbourne Opera’s crowning achievement

With Roberto Devereux, Melbourne Opera completes its Australian premiere of Donizetti’s Tudor trilogy.

None of these three tragedies is in the same popular league as his Lucia di Lammermoor or Don Pasquale. But Roberto Devereux emerged from Donizetti at the pinnacle of his acclaim, authority and audacity: the overture opens to the tune of God Save the Queen.

The role of Elizabeth I, queen of England, is one of the most demanding in the bel canto repertory and calls for a fearless vocal attack, supported by an equally powerful presence. Melbourne-born soprano Helena Dix, who is enjoying increasing international acclaim, delivered an extraordinary performance as Elizabeth.

Robert Devereux, earl of Essex, the queen’s favourite, was dramatically sung by versatile young lyric coloratura tenor Henry Choo. Fine baritone Phillip Calcagno was an impressive Lord Duke of Nottingham, while Danielle Calder as his Duchess sang very beautifully.

Jason Wasley and Eddie Muliaumaseali’i — as Elizabeth’s chief adviser, Lord Cecil, and trusted friend Sir Walter Raleigh respectively — also gave fine performances.

Suzanne Chaundy offered excellent stage direction, beautifully supported by Jennie Tate’s glorious Opera Australia costumes and Greg Hocking’s secure conducting.

Reviewer: Peter Burch

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