One of the most grown-up review sites around

52,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!
£11 post-free

we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


with Eggebrecht we get all the excitement we can handle

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

absolutely thrilling

immediacy and spontaneity

Schumann Lieder

24 Preludes
one of the finest piano discs

‘Box of Delights.’

J S Bach A New Angle
Organ fans form an orderly queue

a most welcome issue

I enjoyed it tremendously

the finest traditions of the house

music for theorbo
old and new

John Luther Adams
Become Desert
concealing a terrifying message

ground-breaking, winning release

screams quality

Surprise of the month

English Coronation, 1902-1953
magnificent achievement

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1854-1921)
Roberto Devereux (1837) Tragic opera in three acts
Libretto by Salvadore Cammarano
Queen Elizabeth – Marielle Devia (soprano)
The Duke of Nottingham – Mansoo Kim (baritone)
Sara, Duchess of Nottingham – Sonia Ganassi (mezzo)
Roberto Devereux – Stefan Pop (tenor)
Lord Cecil – Alessandro Fantoni (tenor)
Sir Walter Raleigh – Claudio Ottino (bass)
A page – Matteo Armanino (contralto)
A servant – Loris Purpura (bass)
Teatro Carlo Fenice chorus and orchestra/Francesco Lanzillotta
Directed by Alfronso Antoniozzi
Video direction by Matteo Ricchetti
rec. Teatro Carlo Fenice, Genoa on 20-24 March 2016
Sung in Italian using the Ricordi music edition
Picture Format: 16:9 NTSC Sound Formats: Linear PCM 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1
Region Code 0
DYNAMIC 37755 DVD [136 mins]

This tragic opera by Donizetti was surrounded by tragedy in Donizetti’s own life during its composition since his young wife lost two children and then herself died shortly before the opera was mounted.

The Devereux story is loosely based on the fate of the Earl of Essex at the court of Queen Elizabeth I. Donizetti was familiar and comfortable with portraying Tudor history, having composed earlier operas relating to this period. He brings together the Queens; Maria Stuarda, Anna Bolena and the important Elizabetha herself. With a libretto by Cammarano (who had supplied libretti to two previous operas by the composer) the elements of history are taken lightly.

With eight characters, the plot revolves round Sara, Duchess of Nottingham’s attraction to the Earl of Essex, Roberto Devereux. As a friend of her husband, Devereux is accused of treason yet Queen Elizabeth admits her love for him and promises his safety. Robert meets the distraught Sara who declares that her love for him will never die.

The Queen, aware of Robert’s secret lover, demands her name but this he refuses to give and so his death warrant is signed. From the Tower, Robert sends his ring to the Queen but this is withheld by Nottingham. To save Robert’s life Sara tells the Queen that she is her rival. The Queen tries to stop the beheading but is too late. When Nottingham eventually brings the ring, he admits that he wanted to see Robert die as an act of revenge for loving his wife.

Despite Donizetti’s depression about his tragic home life the emotive music for the singers is some of his best. Sara’s Act I soliloquial aria, "All’afflitto è dolce il pianto" is tenderly sung by Sonia Ganassi with sincere emotion while the Queen’s aria, 'L’amor suo mi fe' beata’ is outstanding as Mariella Devia soars effortlessly to generously sustained top notes. The opera contains stirring duets that communicate the tension admirably. Of these the Act I duets, ‘Nascondi, frena i palpiti’ sung by Elizabetha and Roberto, and ‘Dacché tornasti, ahi misera’ by Roberto and Sara are full of energy and admirably sung. In the opera the role of the Queen is enormous, as she is on stage singing much of the time. Marielle Devia rises to the occasion and delivers without any of the strains of tiredness showing.

This production by Alfonso Antoniozzi concentrates on creating expressive characters and is neatly framed. Most of the action takes place on a broad platform backed by wrought iron gates, which act as screens in another act. There is little visual change to the scenery over the acts and there is a lost opportunity to use lighting to transform the stage with fresh light direction or hue. With mainly overhead lighting throughout, deep shadows are cast on downstage faces and although this may be effective for use in one act the style is retained throughout and gives a general feeling that the stage is under-lit. Fortunately, Queen Elizabetha is adequately lit throughout. The costumes are admirable, especially the Queen’s embossed robe and the generously-proportioned ruffs of the chorus which stand out in the gloom.

The orchestra is excellent under Lanzillotta’s direction and an ideal balance between singers and orchestra is provided. For my stereo TV, the Linear PCM 2.0 setting was much preferred for clarity. The booklet in English and Italian contains good notes on the history of the opera, yet omits mention of the singers, conductor or director. Subtitles are available in Italian, English, French, German, Japanese and Korean.

This is a worthy DVD for consideration as both performance and technicalities are good.

Raymond Walker



We are currently offering in excess of 52,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger