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guided by Laura Caldow, she had clearly taken quickly to puppetry. She and her Aeneas—Ashley Riches, shadowed by Ben Thompson and characteristically engaging and generous-toned—manipulated their alter egos with seamless skill. Both singers have exceptionally expressive faces, so at relatively close quarters the naturalism of their responses tended to overpower the static-featured stylization of the puppets, which came touchingly alive during interludes when Hulcup and Riches made way for two improvising Baroque guitars.

Neal Davies threw himself into the role of the Sorceress, though it is hard for a healthy baritone—surely the most natural-sounding of operatic voices—to convey other-worldly grotesquerie. A captivating Belinda, Rowan Pierce projected both her seraphic soprano and her words with exemplary clarity. yehuda shapiro

Radamisto and Jonas/I Will Not Speak/Dido and Aeneas English Touring Opera at the Hackney Empire, London, October 6 and 12 English Touring Opera’s now almost annual Baroque season opened with one of Handel’s greatest (if not exactly well-known) Italian works and continued with a fascinating triple bill culminating in the first masterpiece of English opera. As ETO now operates a predominantly original-language-only policy, we were treated to the absurdity of an allBritish cast singing Radamisto (1720) in Italian. The same was the case for the two non-operatic components of the triple bill, Carissimi’s Jonas—a mid-17th-century Italian oratorio based on the Old Testament story of Jonah and the whale—and Gesualdo’s Io tacerò (the title alone rendered by ETO in English)—a compilation of

■  ETO’s ‘Radamisto’: William Towers in the title role and Katie Bray as Zenobia

Opera, December 2018


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