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Performer: Gesine Völlm

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MunichUn ballo in maschera

© Wilfried Hösl
Verdi: Un ballo in maschera
Paolo Carignani; Johannes Erath; Bavarian State Opera; Heike Scheele; Gesine Völlm; Joseph Calleja; Vladislav Sulimsky
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Why, why, why Dalila? More disappointment at Unter den Linden

Brandon Jovanovich (Samson) and Elīna Garanča (Dalila) © Matthias Baus
Daniel Barenboim conducts an underwhelming cast in the Staatsoper's new Samson et Dalila, and Argentinian director Damián Szifron's operatic debut is stale and cliché-ridden. 
**111
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Handel’s Ariodante in Drottningholm's magical setting

Ann Hallenberg (Ariodante) and Roberta Mameli (Ginevra) © Mats Bäcker
A splendid cast led by Ann Hallenberg does justice to an integral version of Handel’s masterpiece under the baton of Ian Page.
****1
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All the world's a stage: Xerxes as a comedy of backstage rivalry

Valer Barna-Sabadus (Xerxes) and Torben Jürgens (Ariodates) © Hans Jörg Michel
A revival of Stefan Herheim's production of Handel's Xerxes in Düsseldorf makes for a rip-roaring evening of theatrical comedy.
****1
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A conceptually bold Manon at Oper Köln

Insik Choi (De Brétigny) and Zuzana Marková (Manon Lescaut) © Bernd Uhlig
This production fell just short of brilliance but showed how relevant and thought-provoking opera as an art form can be when tapping into today's headline debates.
****1
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Baroque bawdiness at Komische Oper Berlin

Stephanie Houtzeel (Xerses), Nina Bernsteiner (Romila) and Nora Friedrichs (Atalanta) © Jaro Suffner
With many costume changes, notably into a Sun-King with very prominent phalic sunburst, Houtzeel held centre-stage in the title role.
****1
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