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Orlando suits Mehta's voice far better and he performed throughout with a wonderful bright tone. He tended to edge the vocal line upwards during the decorated repeats of the A sections in his da capo arias, which is always a sure sign that the singer finds the vocal a line a little low. But this was my only complaint. Mehta has a remarkable brilliant technique and the bravura arias which Handel did write for Orlando, came over quite superbly, virtuoso technique harnessed to musical expressivity. Mehta has an attractive vibrato, but this did not intrude too much.
He has a striking stage presence and during the opening act was very much the hero, torn between glory and love.
As his love interest, Angelica, Rosemary Joshua displayed a lovely silvery voice, great poise and expressiveness. She is another singer for whom the technical challenges of these roles hold no fears so that we can simply enjoy her performance. She created an Angelica who combined aristocratic poise with passion for Medoro. My only real complaint is that her fine, silvery voice had too many qualities in common with that of Camilla Tilling as Dorinda.
Tilling's Dorinda combined a winning naivety with a toughness; she was wry and appealing and not a little knowing. Dorinda wanders through the opera never achieving happiness in love. Tilling's Dorinda is a little cool, a playing of the role which works. But I have rather come to prefer warmer, pert and sexier versions of this role, though that is not to say that Tilling's Dorinda was no less valid. And by the end of the opera, she certainly succeeded in pulling the heart strings.
As the main love interest (Medoro is loved by both Dorinda and Angelica) Anna Bonitatibus impressed with a fine technique and a lovely dark voice. She made a convincing male love interest; it helped that Medoro is never required to indulge in any heroics. Her rich contralto voice made a superb contrast to Mehta's bright counter-tenor, just the sort of contrast that we lacked between Angelica and Dorinda. Handel's original cast included a woman playing Medoro, so presumably he had this contrast of voices in mind.
Copyright © 13 March 2007
Robert Hugill, London UK