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Alternating in the title role were the well established American soprano Lisa Saffer and a somewhat lesser known artist, Nathalie Paulin, who sang the Phoenix première. Both vocally and histrionically Paulin was a wonderful surprise. She looked like a movie star and was able to handle every coloratura ornament with ease, never repeating a melody in exactly the same way it had been sung before.

David Walker as Athamas. Photo © 2006 Tim Fuller
David Walker as Athamas. Photo © 2006 Tim Fuller

Countertenor David Walker was a smooth and lyrical Athamas. He sang with great elegance and seemed a fine consort for Semele until Scott Ramsay, the Jupiter, appeared and won her over with his more virile and emotionally intense tones.

Stephanie Blythe as Ino (left) and Lisa Saffer as Semele. Photo © 2006 Tim Fuller
Stephanie Blythe as Ino (left) and Lisa Saffer as Semele. Photo © 2006 Tim Fuller

 

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Copyright © 5 February 2006 Maria Nockin, Arizona USA

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