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Performer: Margarita Gritskova

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Mistrust, rage and colonialism: Otello at the Staatsoper

Aleksandrs Antonenko (Otello) © Wiener Staatsoper GmbH | Michael Pöhn
During the “Salce” and “Ave Maria” in Act Four Bezsmertna turned this to magical effect, thinning out and floating her shimmering soprano into gossamer threads.
***11
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Il barbiere di Siviglia: Flórez triumphs as Almaviva in Vienna

Juan Diego Flórez (Count Almaviva) © Wiener Staatsoper | Michael Pöhn
A solid cast led by Juan Diego Flórez revives Günther Rennert’s production, which still amuses after more than 400 performances. 

“What a commotion!” A slapstick Finta giardiniera in Zurich

La finta giardiniera © Herwig Prammer
Zurich Opera stages Tatjana Gürbaca’s production of Mozart’s La finta giardiniera. True to the opera buffa genre, it teems with silliness.
**111
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Laufenberg’s Elektra a disappointment in Vienna

Elena Pankratova (Elektra) © Wiener Staatsoper | Michael Pöhn
German theatre director Uwe Eric Laufenberg freely incorporates some of Stanley Kubrik’s horror story concepts into his Elektra, but in ignoring both Sophocles and Strauss, is a long way from shining.  
***11
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Baroque sorcery: Handel's Alcina returns to the Staatsoper

Myrtò Papatanasiu (Alcina) and Rachel Frenkel (Ruggiero) © Michael Pöhn | Wiener Staatsoper
Baroque purists might prefer a more surefire line-up of brilliantly executed arias, but the theatrical framework of Adrian Noble's Alcina production offers a great deal.
****1
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