Elisabetta I – Rossini – Hackney Empire
It is outstanding that the English Touring Opera reaches more towns and cities in the UK than any other opera company. There is nothing easy in the repertoire that ETO performs (this year Elisabetta 1, Mozart’s Idomeneo and Verdi’s Macbeth, next year Mozart’s Seraglio and Kurt Weill’s The Silver Lake, A Winter’s Tale), but with all its work it brings opera to the people outside the main cities, which is hugely important and beneficial for the country as a whole.
Rossini’s Elisabetta is conducted by the British Conductor, John Andrews and directed by ETO’s General Director, James Conway. The production is simple, basically centred round a large throne chair and in the torturous role of Elisabetta is the former company principal at ENO, Mary Plazas, whose mezzo voice grows in stature throughout the evening. Her Duke of Norfolk is John-Colyn Gyeantey, whose tenor voice starts slowly, but comes into his own into the latter part of the opera. The Earl of Leicester is the solid Brazilian, Luciano Botelho and there were good performances too from the Matilde of Lucy Hall and the Guglielmo of Joseph Doody. Enrico was a solid Emma Stannard.
A very worthwhile performance from a company with limited resources, which deserves to be supported.