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Verdi’s creation Alzira is an opera worth hearing

James Cleverton (Gusmano) and Jung Soo Yum (Zamoro) in Alzira at Buxton Opera House. Photo by Richard Hubert Smith.
James Cleverton (Gusmano) and Jung Soo Yum (Zamoro) in Alzira at Buxton Opera House. Photo by Richard Hubert Smith.

Alzira is the last of Buxton International Festival’s early Verdi trilogy and provides a rare opportunity to see this tuneful opera staged, writes Mavis Kirkham

The story of true love trapped in war between the Spanish and the Incas is set in Peru, though it feel like Italy.

The conflict between passion and civilisation makes an odd plot by modern standards but the music is beautiful. The lead singers are all impressive and Yung Soo Jun is outstanding as Alzira’s true love, Zamoro.

The Buxton Festival chorus are, as we have come to expect, skilled singers and actors with real collective power.

The lighting is excellent and the slight staging did not impose on the action.

The opera consists of a series of set pieces and could be presented in concert form with little loss. This would have enabled us to concentrate on the lovely

music, especially the ensemble pieces and wonderful duets. The orchestral music is lovely and the outbreak of war conveyed in music did not need embellishment with handbags and chairs.

The Northern Chamber Orchestra played superbly, conducted by Stephen Barlow, the festival artistic director.

This is certainly an opera worth hearing.

Alzira is at Buxton Opera House on July 10, 13, 16. 18 and 20 at 7.15pm. Tickets £20-£78. Call 01298 72190 or go to www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk