Roberto Devereux review - The Age

It is seldom that a semi-professional opera company – even Melbourne Opera, which so consistently overachieves – can host a performance that would grace the stage at Covent Garden or the Met. It did so at the Athenaeum on Saturday where Helena Dix was utterly superb as Queen Elizabeth I in Donizetti's Roberto Devereux.


The Australian-born soprano sang one of opera's most demanding roles flawlessly, from florid coloratura to (literally) high drama via ravishingly delicate pianissimos. But what was most extraordinarily impressive was her acting, vocally and physically, by turns a termagant, fragile, nervous, regal, vulnerable – a woman in love with a man 30 years younger, rightly doubting that it is requited. With what splendid malevolence she reminded Roberto: "Never forget that I am a daughter of Henry."


Whenever Dix was on stage she imbued this rather silly opera – the final of Donizetti's Tudor trilogy, staged by MO in successive years – with real credibility. .........................


Suzanne Chaundy demonstrated yet again what a capable director she is.


Reviewer: Barney Zwartz