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Penguin Guide, January 2009

Francisco Negrin’s production of Giulio Cesare for the Sydney Opera House with walls of hieroglyphics often superimposed, is updated from Roman times to a kind of Ruritanian state, with colourful uniforms involving cuirasses. By contrast, the Egyptian characters, not just Cleopatra but the others too, wear timeless robes, sharply distinguishing them. With Richard Hickox conducting the orchestra in a brisk, fresh reading, taking note of many aspects of period performance, and with an excellent cast, the formula works well. The counter-tenor Graham Pushee sings powerfully in the title-role with his cleanly focused voice, offering immaculate articulation and phenomenal agility in the many formidable divisions. Opposite him is the superb Cleopatra of Yvonne Kenny, glamorous of person and voice. Happily, Hickox allows her big arias full expansiveness, bringing out their beauty. Rosemary Gunn is a fine Cornelia, statuesque in her bearing and rich of voice, with Andrew Dalton a characterful Tolomeo and the dark-toned Stephen Bennett a formidable Achilla. The Sesto of Elizabeth Campbell is bright and clear if shrill at times.

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5:29:30 AM, 8 October 2015
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