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Stephen Francis Vasta
Opera News, November 2016

Roberto Rizzi Brignoli’s firm yet flexible conducting keeps things moving while giving the vocal and orchestral climaxes their head. Dinara Alieva, the Magda, has a rich, authoritative soprano: she displays a nice conversational immediacy in the midrange and offers full-throated, sweeping climaxes; quieter phrases have lovely spin and float. Charles Castronovo, the ardent Ruggero, brings a wonderful concentration to the intimate moments. © 2016 Opera News Read complete review



Janos Gardonyi
The WholeNote, October 2016

The fine, young and talented cast is headed by Dinara Alieva, soprano sensation from Azerbaijan, whose voice is “a gift from heaven” (Montserrat Caballé) absolutely perfect for the role of Magda. French tenor Charles Castronovo, her unfortunate lover, is radiantly expressive, especially in the last act—guaranteed to break your heart. The other couple (Alexandra Hutton and Álvaro Zambrano) reminds us of Marcel/Musette of La Bohème and provides a delightful contrast and comic relief. © 2016 The WholeNote Read complete review



Grimoaldo
Parterre Box, September 2016

Conductor Roberto Rizzi-Brignoli leads the superb orchestra and chorus of the Deutsche Oper with precision and flair. As Magda’s maid Lisette and her tenor boyfriend, the poet Prunier, Alexandra Hutton and Álvaro Zambrano are certainly lively and characterful… Excellent tenor Charles Castronovo sings ardently and with fine tone, believable equally as callow youth from the provinces, committed lover, and a desperately unhappy man when Magda leaves him. The quartet with chorus in praise of love in act two, one of the highlights of the score for me, is splendid.

Azerbaijani soprano Dinara Aliyeva, who sings mostly at the Bolshoi in Moscow, is a handsome woman with a luscious voice. She can sing pianissimo high notes, as in the famous “Doretta’s dream” in Act One, and is also capable of singing high and loud with no strain. She meets all the demands of the role with no problems and varies her tone and phrasing with sufficient colour and variety to keep the listener’s attention at all times. © 2016 Parterre Box Read complete review



Ian Lace
MusicWeb International, August 2016

Dinara Alieva makes a persuasive Magda. Her timbre is sweetly dusky with strong unwavering projection and she is ably matched by the ardent innocence of Castronovo’s Ruggero. La Rondine productions are more often than not blessed with outstanding castings of Lisette. Here Alexandra Hutton is splendidly worldly-wise and coquettish. Zambrano also makes a reasonable fist of Prunier despite the absurdity of his character depiction. The chorus and orchestra are pleasant and are captured in warm clear sound. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Barry Bassis
The Epoch Times, July 2016

The two stars may not be great actors, but their singing is world-class.

[Dinara Alieva] has a gleaming, dark soprano and her rendition of the most famous aria in the opera, “Chi il bel sogno di Doretta,” is superlative.

The tenor Charles Castronovo, who was born in New York City, is an elegant singer. He has sung on occasion at the Metropolitan Opera and is clearly a talent to watch.

The liveliest performances on the DVD were by Alexandra Hutton as Magda’s maid Lisette and Alvaro Zambrano as her lover Prunier.

Conductor Roberto Rizzi Brignoli led a vibrant performance. © 2016 The Epoch Times Read complete review



Robert Benson
ClassicalCDReview.com, June 2016

…brilliant performance from the Berlin Opera… Stage director was Rolando Villazón, and he keeps things moving at a brisk pace. The two lovers, Magda and Ruggero are superbly sung by Dinara Alieva and Charles Castronovo, a handsome pair indeed. Sets are beautiful, conductor Rizzi Brignoli’s tempi are perfect. Video is outstanding as is audio. © 2016 ClassicalCDReview.com Read complete review





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