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new-classics.co.uk, November 2016

Richard Bonynge, an acknowledged master of eighteenth and nineteenth-century opera, has edited [this] new performing edition recorded on this double CD release on which he conducts the Victoria Opera Orchestra and John Powell Singers. The excellent soloists include baritones Quentin Hayes and Anthony Gregory, Australian-Chinese tenor Kang Wang, and soprano Sally Silver as Satanella, a female Demon. © 2016 new-classics.co.uk Read complete review




James McCarthy
Limelight, September 2016

…recordings such as this are important, as they preserve the best part of these operas, the music. Performed to the high standard it is here, and under the direction of a master of the genre, Richard Bonynge, this is how Balfe’s interesting supernatural opera will be remembered. © 2016 Limelight Magazine Read complete review



Richard Sininger
American Record Guide, September 2016

…their singing is satisfactory. Best of the lot is Sally Silver. She has a bright, clear soprano with enough range and flexibility to meet the coloratura demands of the title role. The soprano Catherine Carby displays a pleasant voice in the role of Lelia.

The orchestra and chorus perform well under Richard Bonynge, who apparently oversaw this project. This is an entertaining score. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



David Shengold
Opera News, August 2016

Sally Silver…manages Satanella’s coloratura cleanly with aplomb, and some charm. Australian-trained Chinese tenor Kang Wang…fares credibly as Rupert, with a light voice with some metal. Catherine Carby’s sparky high mezzo illuminates Lelia. …Baritone Anthony Gregory makes an elegant Karl. © 2016 Opera News Read complete review




Robert Levine
ClassicsToday.com, July 2016

Richard Bonynge is the knowledgable, loving conductor, and this is his performing edition. All of the singers, including the chorus, are light-voiced. I adore the fact that the John Powell Singers (the chorus) sound equally beautiful, all the voices pure and on the breath, whether they are party guests, pirates, or demons. …The Victorian Opera Orchestra is mellow and/or colorful, as need be. The harpist deserves an award of some kind.

Sally Silver is our Satanella and she has plenty to do. A high soprano role with plenty of coloratura, Silver fills it delightfully with an operetta-like voice that turns marvelously paint-peeling on interpolated high notes.

Leila, like her pure and loving character, is purely and lovingly sung by Catherine Carby. Arimanes, the wicked demon king, is nicely sung and characterized by bass Trevor Bowes; Anthony Gregory makes the most of his fine aria as Karl… © 2016 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review



Michael Quinn
Opera, July 2016

The musicians of the Victorian Opera Orchestra and the chamber-sized John Powell Singers give all of their best, the playing by turns idiomatically graceful and duly excitable… © 2016 Opera



Paul Corfield Godfrey
MusicWeb International, June 2016

Indeed by far the greater bulk of the solo work in the opera goes to Satanella herself, and Sally Silver copes well with both the dramatic effects and the abundant coloratura. …all the singers make as much of an impression as they are allowed. The small chorus are firmly in the picture, …Balfe’s combination of cornet with woodwind in the prelude is fortunately a rare exception to his generally happy scoring.  © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review




Remy Franck
Pizzicato, May 2016

In Richard Bonynge’s new performing version, Balfe’s Satanella is a truly enjoyable lyric piece. The performance is of a very good quality, and so we only can recommend it. © 2016 Pizzicato




James Manheim
AllMusic.com, April 2016

Britain’s Victorian Opera, with a cast led by tenor Kang Wang as Count Rupert, delivers an enthusiastic performance free of mugging and broad humor, but the real star of the show is 85-year-old conductor Richard Bonynge, who also made a new performing edition of the opera. …an enjoyable find, and for lovers of Victorian-era culture, it’s essential. © 2016 Allmusic.com Read complete review




Francis Muzzu
Opera Now, April 2016

…certainly enjoyable, awash with the tuneful ballads for which Balfe was famous. Bonynge conducts with affection and his cast is good. Sally Silver takes the title role, her winning soprano only pushed slightly at the very top, Kang Wang is a melodious tenor lead, and there is an innocent charm to the piece. © 2016 Opera Now



Richard Bratby
Gramophone, April 2016

This recording was clearly a labour of love for the Cheshire-based Victorian Opera Northwest, and it has one unbeatable ace to play—the conducting of Richard Bonynge. Bonynge is unsurpassed in this repertoire; he keeps it zipping buoyantly along, effortlessly supporting his singers and clearly relishing every baleful horncall, rippling harp and languishing cello solo.

The young Chinese-born tenor Kang Wang is a Rupert of considerable dash, and Sally Silver sings the title-role—the only really developed female character—with sweetness and sparkle. Catherine Carby makes a warmly expressive Lelia and Trevor Bowes is suitably black-toned and sonorous as the demon-king Arimanes. © 2016 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



David Denton
David's Review Corner, March 2016

Michael William Balfe was born in Dublin in 1808, his musical education taking place in England, Italy and Paris, where he became much involved in opera. A singer of such standing that he appeared at La Scala, Milan, and the Paris Opera, and also enjoyed some success as a conductor, though in theatre management he was an abject failure. In 1835, he had an instant success with the The Siege of Rochell, his first English opera, and though others followed, it was to be in the busy Indian Summer of a relatively short life that he was most active. Central to that period was Satanella or The Power of Love, his 23rd opera, its premiere given at London’s Covent Garden in 1858. There it enjoyed a run of fifty-seven performances before arriving in New York to some success in 1863. Stories of demons, spells, spirits and angels were part of Victorian enjoyment, but will be laughable today, so I won’t go into that side of the score, apart from saying that operatic love stories rarely run smoothly, and this one is no exception. The music, on the other hand, is highly enjoyable, the style best described as a serious Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, with some delightful arias and energetic choruses, the ‘bad’ people handled with sounds of villainy. The release—it is a studio recording—comes as part of Richard Bonynge’s exploration of long forgotten operas from the Victorian era, and here he has struck gold. The cast he has brought together comes from South Africa, China, Australia, Canada, France and England, with the Australian soprano, Catherine Carby, in the leading role of Lelia, particularly outstanding, while Sally Silver, as Satanella, admirably handles the vocal acrobatics. Of the men, the major accolade goes to the baritone, Anthony Gregory as Karl, the friend of the main character, Count Rupert, sung by Kang Wang. A chorus, gathered together in the north-west of England, combined with an orchestra of freelance musicians and students from the Royal Northern College of Music, are just as good as you will find in a provincial Italian opera house. A most welcome excursion into days long past, and the sound quality is first class. © 2016 David’s Review Corner





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