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Lawrence D. Devoe, MD, September 2013

Director Davide Livermore has cleverly remounted Rossini’s early and rarely performed opera. The vocal principals are simply superb and more than meet the considerable bel canto demands of Rossini’s score.

There are intentional lighting streaks and flares to suggest the quality of silent films while the details of costume and facial close-ups are superb. The “black and white” effects are also designed to add to the vintage film feeling. With montages continually on and off the backdrops, video director Daniele Biggiero has given us the feeling of an old yet new visual concept that works quite well.

Ciro in Babilonia will likely be a new viewing experience for most audiences as was for me…there is a ton of great music in this score with ample opportunity for vocal pyrotechnics. Fortunately, we have a top-notch cast that delivers the goods and led by the incredible Polish contralto Podles. In summary, this is a revival that does Opus Arte proud and one that will appeal to bel canto veterans and newcomers alike. © 2013 Read complete review

Nicholas Sheffo
Fulvue Drive-in, August 2013

The nice twist here is that the performance starts as an audience watches silent black and white films in a cinema of the 1920s, whose block-style, monochromatic images start to come alive off the screen in color, surround and with living people as reference to Biblical Epics both silent and in large frame formats…that celebrates the genre beyond film. This is a very clever approach done beautifully, authentically, effectively, lavishly and in a way that helps give the deeper irony of the situation of conflict between the three Semite religions of today additional depth. Bravo! © 2013 Fulvue Drive-in Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, August 2013

During Lent theatres in Italy were closed, save for those performing biblical works. That was to give the twenty-year-old Rossini the idea of writing Ciro in Babilonia. In this new production from Davide Livermore the overture is taken up by an audience arriving in the days of black and white silent films to see Ciro in Babilonia…The costumes are of the variety we see in the biblical epics attempted in those days, with the stage audience becoming involved as the chorus on both sides of the war…I hope the real audience had gone to Pesaro to hear the quite remarkable performance of the great Polish contralto, Ewa Podles as Ciro. Rossini gave the character all the great arias, the thrilling bottom end of her range matched by the vocal gymnastics in the coloratura passages. In her surroundings the fine soprano of Jessica Pratt as Amira, and the vocally secure tenor of Michael Spyres, as Baldassare, are almost supporting roles. I much liked the Arbace of Robert McPherson, and Carmen Romeu makes the most of the crumbs Rossini gave the part of Argene. So here we have a superbly sung performance, with a fine orchestra, conducted by Will Crutchfield, all excellently captured in this superb Blu-ray disc… © David’s Review Corner

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