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Clustering round the bath, Eva Bátori's long-suffering Chrysothemis and a bevy of white maids, including the splendidly stage-conscious Eszter Wierdl (who cut her teeth as the Governess in Kovalik's sensual staging of The Turn of the Screw), produced some spectacular singing: blackened at the end, they too are despatched at the end, Ithaka-style (see below).

Gabriella Fodor (front) as Desdemona with Bianca and Otello in the Hungarian State Opera's staging of Verdi's 'Otello'. Photo © Vera Éder
Gabriella Fodor (front) as Desdemona with Bianca and Otello in the Hungarian State Opera's staging of Verdi's 'Otello'. Photo © Vera Éder

Another of Kovalik's most promising pupils, soprano Gabriella Fodor, made an increasingly impressive, aptly vulnerable début recently as Desdemona in László Vámos's stolid yet visually striking Hungarian State Opera staging of Verdi's Otello (this season the Hungarian Opera also has Don Carlo, Nabucco, Rigoletto and La Traviata in its repertoire), holding her own with verve opposite the outstanding Attila Wendler in the title role. Tentative initially, vocally rather too edgy but also overborne by some floppy orchestral playing under Ervin Lukács, Fodor relaxed and blossomed audibly in the second half. In Acts 3 and 4, her initially slender and rather cowed performance was magicked into the makings of a great one.

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Copyright © 13 March 2008 Roderic Dunnett, Coventry UK

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