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Christie Grimstad, April 2012

This Opus Arte recording aptly captures the essence of drama, singing, staging and lighting under the direction of noted film director, Werner Herzog…the contentious Riccardo Muti splendidly conducts a power house of principals in one of Rossini’s most romantic operas… Rockwell Blake is a polished tenor who possesses the vocal demands as Umberto…with brilliantine translation… Similar lyrical difficulties await Elena, but for June Anderson, it appears an effortless venture. No matter the role, no matter the complexity, she commands with the greatest of ease and bathes herself in a sense of rarefied decorum. “Exceptional” can be said about Martine Dupuy as Malcolm Groeme, adding a bountiful and expressive edge to her “recitativo e cavatina”, sliding through notes with comfortable fluidity and rapidity. Native Oklahoman Chris Merritt possesses a burnished flair in his portrayal as the clansman, Roderick of Dhu, and Giorgio Surjan’s Douglas of Angus has a paternal dominance and calming effect as Elena’s father.

Gianni Mantovanini’s expressive lighting heightens the opera’s locale. Nearing the opera’s conclusion, faux metal doors open to reveal the lavish and magical/mythical interior of Umberto’s castle that can only be described as “awesome”…this is opera at its best.

Franz Blumauer’s costumes are enriched with hues of brown, purple and burgundy, adding to the intrinsic value…La donna del lago has Rossini immersed in beautiful counterpoint, and extenuated ensembles. It is a lovely piece. © 2012 Read complete review

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