La scala di seta, Linbury Theatre - review: A brilliant cast

Holly Pigott designs, Greg Eldridge directs: bravos all round

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Rossini was just twenty when he wrote this glittering farce: it made sense that everybody involved in its two-centuries-belated premiere at Covent Garden should be Jette Parker Young Artists, not much over twenty themselves.

How pleasant to meet the Australian soprano Lauren Fagan as the heroine Giulia, and the Portuguese tenor Luis Gomes as Dorvil, who shins up the silken ladder of the title to tryst with her.

The technical precision of Fagan’s coloratura is matched by the purity of her tone, while the pint-sized Gomes projects a substantial sound with vocal agility and impeccable comic timing.

Their pre-coital romp - while the youthful Southbank Sinfonia delivers the overture under Jonathan Santagada’s direction – sets the tone for the preposterous plot.

And how agreeable to encounter the Armenian soprano Anush Hovhannisyan in a role which gives free rein to her quicksilver voice and personality, with the larger-than-life bass James Platt as her foppish foil. Baritone Samuel Dale Johnson doesn’t have much to do as the disapproving tutor Dormont, but he does it with clean and virile assurance.

As the servant Germano - entrusted with the most complex role and the most taxing aria of the evening – Ukrainian bass-baritone Yuriy Yurchuk surmounted initial intonation-problems to become the opera’s warm centre of gravity.

Holly Pigott designs, Greg Eldridge directs: bravos all round.