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Review of Handel's Rodelinda

6 April 2018

The young cast – hand-picked by Perkins, who led the medium-sized orchestra (half of whom were undergraduate or postgraduate students, playing alongside established professionals) from the harpsichord with verve and suavity – could scarcely have been bettered. As Rodelinda, soprano Alice Privett gave a complete performance that showed why the opera deserves to be named for her character even if others hog the limelight; she turned from forlorn to venom-spitting (and back again, several times over) on a sixpence, also skilfully manipulating her vocal heft to match.

Mezzo-soprano Ida Ränzlöv (Eduige), bass Nick Morris (Garibaldo), and countertenor Tom Scott-Cowell (Unulfo) all played their characterful part in the intricacies and intrigues of the plot, but the stand-out performance came from tenor William Wallace as Grimoaldo; as the winner of the 2016 Handel Singing Competition his pedigree was not in doubt, but the nonchalant ease with which he handled the vocal demands – ranging from pyrotechnic to plaintive to possessed – of the role, while also giving a full-blooded dramatic performance, was nothing short of breath-taking.

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