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Nino Machaidze effortlessly thrills at Rossini Festival / Financial Times

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The Rossini Opera Festival has raised the profile of the composer's forgotten works using a simple formula: it hires and trains the best Rossinian singers, seeks out imaginative productions and promotes the latest Rossini research. This year is no exception. To open proceedings, the organisers presented a new critical edition of Le siège de Corinthe - in which Rossini harnessed outrage at the Turkish siege of Missolonghi in 1826 to conquer the hearts of Parisian audiences - in a new production from Carlus Padrissa of the Barcelona collective La Fura dels Baus.

Singers often delivered their parts close to the audience from a platform skirting the pit, where bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni growled fearsomely as Sultan Mahomet, tenor Sergey Romanovsky as Néoclès matched a warm tone with pinging top notes, and tenor John Irvin was self-assured as Cléomène. The young Cecilia Molinari provided lambent singing as Ismène, but soprano Nino Machaidze as Pamyra thrilled most of all, as she purred effortlessly through pyrotechnic coloratura.

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