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Lisa Saffer was a magnetic Cleopatra who could definitely charm an emperor. She gave a fully realized portrayal of the Egyptian temptress and sang her sparkling coloratura arias with well projected clear tones. When she sang with Podles, it was like rich chocolate mixed with cream.

Lisa Saffer (Cleopatra) seduces Ewa Podles (Cesare). Photo © 2006 Ken Howard
Lisa Saffer (Cleopatra) seduces Ewa Podles (Cesare). Photo © 2006 Ken Howard

The aggressive and evil Tolomeo was vividly portrayed by countertenor Brian Asawa, who sang with a clarion tones and strong rhythmic emphasis. An attractive young man, it was easy to believe he was Cleopatra's jealous brother. Cornelia and Sesto, the tragic figures in this story, were deftly portrayed by mezzo sopranos Suzanna Guzmán and Vivica Genaux.

Brian Asawa as Tolomeo. Photo © 2006 Ken Howard
Brian Asawa as Tolomeo. Photo © 2006 Ken Howard

As Cornelia, the suffering widow, Guzmán used her strong low notes to good effect. Genaux, who has incredibly precise coloratura, sang the arias given to Cornelia's son, Sesto, with dazzling agility.

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Copyright © 7 May 2006 Maria Nockin, Arizona USA

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