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Judith Malafronte
Opera News, November 2018

Mezzo-soprano Helene Schneiderman brings authority and fine technique to the role of Lucilla… Ana Durlovski uses her forceful soprano with imagination and commitment in an excellently acted performance as Berenice, growing in depth throughout the evening… © 2018 Opera News Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2018

Niccolo Jommelli is now an almost forgotten name, but in his lifetime he was considered one of the foremost opera composers of the Eighteenth century. Born in Italy in 1714, he was described as being one of the creators of the new Neapolitan style, and while in Stuttgart he was credited as having created one of the finest opera organisations in Europe, combining the best Italian singers with French dancers and choreographers. He was hugely prolific with more than fifty operas, many in different versions as it moved between opera houses, Vologeso dating from 1766 and his second opera of a similar story. It was, in fact, a basic plot that crops up in many operas, where the woman, here called Berenice, is captured in war, and believing her lover, Vologeso, to be dead is not indifferent to the advances of the Emperor, Lucio Vero. Belatedly she recognises Vologeso as being one of the ‘slave’ captives, and dismisses Lucio. He in turn receives a visit from the Roman Emperor’s daughter, Lucilla, to whom he is betrothed. Now with mixed feelings he has to impart to Lucilla his new affections when, at much the same time, he finds out that Berenice is in love with Vologeso. Many twists and turns later Vologeso is part of a coup to overthrow Lucio, and now with everyone forgiving everyone else, the opera ends in happiness. At times it is a rather quirky production from Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito, the opening sinfonia taken up with the cast in modern dress getting changed into the opera’s period costume, with the reverse bringing the evening to a close. From a musical point of view, the solo roles, that would have been originally taken by castratos, are, as usual, sung by female mezzos. The cast is uniformly excellent, though I would have to point to the outstanding Macedonian soprano, Ana Durlovski, in the role of Berenice, who rather upstages everyone else. She perfectly fulfils a role that requires vocal agility and an ability to go on high, her effortless singing and impeccable intonation being something very special. Lucio is sung by the German tenor, Sebastian Kohlhepp, with the American mezzo, who is enjoying a long and distinguished career, Helene Schneiderman, singing Lucilla. The Stuttgart chamber orchestra, conducted by Gabriele Ferro, offers a neat and tidy accompaniment of excellent tonal quality. The sound of the singers is somewhat distanced from microphones, but it seemed to become better balanced as this ‘live’ recording proceeded, or maybe it was my ears that adjusted, but it is always pleasing and the quality of the 2015 filming is very good. This production was the first staged performance for over two centuries, and I commend it to you as a major discovery. © 2018 David’s Review Corner

Records International, June 2018

Orfeo recorded this 1766 three-act opera 21 years ago but this video performance of a historically inspired libretto about the defeated King of Parthia, his daughter and their Roman conqueror is claimed to be its first staging since the early 19th century. © 2018 Records International

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