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Performer: Mary Plazas

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An uneven Elisabetta from English Touring Opera

Mary Plazas (Elisabetta) © Richard Hubert Smith
Rossini's Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra is a hard work to love and English Touring Opera's new production which launched at the Hackney Empire Theatre struggled to make a case for regular outings.
***11
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Powder Her Face is gloriously kinky in Dublin

Mary Plazas (The Duchess) and Adrian Dwyer (Waiter) © Pat Redmond
Top accolades go to soprano Mary Plazas, whose Duchess was at once despicable for her sense of entitlement and her racist and anti-Semitic views, and heartbreakingly vulnerable with her realisation at the end that "the only people who were ever good to me were paid for it".
*****
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English National Opera: Madam Butterfly

To describe this revival of Puccini's much-loved Madam Butterfly as a visual spectacle would be to do it a disservice. Originally directed by Anthony Minghella in its first outing in 2005, it is one of ENO's greatest success stories.
****1
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Britten and Bridge with the Philharmonia in Norwich

The fourteen-year-old Benjamin Britten was already a prolific young composer, albeit without any formal training, when he heard Frank Bridge’s The Sea at the 1927 Norfolk and Norwich Triennial Festival. Hearing this performance and also meeting Bridge (who later became his composition teacher) were seminal events in the youngster’s life.
***11
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Minghella's Butterfly returns to ENO

Anthony Minghella's famous production of Puccini's Madam Butterfly debuted with ENO in 2005, and has been revived several times since at the Coliseum, as well as travelling to the Met in New York and the Lithuanian National Opera. ENO's latest revival confirms the classic status of this version, with a musical account which goes some way to matching the sumptuous and – yes – cinematic visuals.
****1
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