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Performer: Sir Simon Keenlyside

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“Libiam!” Raising a glass to 25 years of Covent Garden's Traviata

Hrachuhí Bassénz (Violetta) and cast © ROH | Catherine Ashmore
Violetta Valéry was Armenian soprano Hrachuhí Bassénz, who made a strong impression on the audience, certainly by the end.
****1
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Gardiner runs Mozart ragged in The Royal Opera's Figaro

Joélle Harvey (Susanna) and Christian Gerhaher (Figaro) © ROH | Mark Douet
An exquisitely matched pair of sopranos as Susanna and the Countess make up for some quirky casting elsewhere. 
***11
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Ever-youthful Emanuel Ax celebrates his 70th birthday

Emanuel Ax © Lisa-Marie Mazzucco
Birthday concerts are strange things. If a hall is going to celebrate your birthday, you'd want to be in the audience and have some of your favourite musicians entertain you.
*****
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Sir Simon Keenlyside masterful in songs by Sibelius in Cleveland

Sir Simon Keenlyside, Franz Welser-Möst and The Cleveland Orchestra © Roger Mastroianni | courtesy of The Cleveland Orchestra

Sibelius’s rarely performed orchestral songs received memorable performances by Keenlyside and The Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Welser-Möst. Grieg’s Peer Gynt and Strauss’s early Aus Italien filled out the program.

****1
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Sir John in Love: the fat knight returns to Covent Garden

Sir Bryn Terfel (Falstaff) and Rupert © ROH | Catherine Ashmore
Sir Bryn Terfel’s Falstaff is still a cherishable rogue as he takes on the title role in Robert Carsen’s joyous staging at the Royal Opera. 
****1
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Evil under the sun: Hymel triumphs in Cav and Pag

Simon Keenlyside (Tonio), Bryan Hymel (Canio), Carmen Giannattasio (Nedda) © ROH | Catherine Ashmore
Even stronger than first time round, Michieletto's impressive staging is complemented by an outstanding double role debut from Hymel and a heartbreaking Santuzza from Elīna Garanča.
*****
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