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The Chisinau National Opera has been touring Britain, and more recently Ireland, since l993, drawing increasing audiences as their reputation has spread thanks to that pioneer of East European companies, Ellen Kent's Opera and Ballet International. They perform a particular service by visiting not just major venues but a host of smaller cities and towns not regularly served by opera companies. The Arts Council should be grateful.

Despite some bold early risktaking -- Nabucco, Samson and Delila, Ballo in Maschera, Norma -- their recent repertoire has tended towards the safe: in the wake of a workaday Traviata and beautifully staged, particularly moving Madame Butterfly, La Boheme, Tosca and The Marriage of Figaro and Aida were their offerings for the millennium year.

Their latest import is bolder -- that most gripping of double bills, Pietro Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana and Ruggero Leoncavallo's I Pagliacci, first seen here in l996. Both being nail-biting murder stories, one problem is to sustain the tension throughout both halves, without a falling off midway through either, or the chill of one somehow diminishing the impact of the other.

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Copyright © 10 February 2001 Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK




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