This revival's unqualified triumph is Joyce El-Khoury as the slave Liu. This fast-rising Canadian soprano captivates whenever she opens her mouth. The role of Liu is not a star-making part, yet she is gifted with two of Puccini's most memorable soprano arias: the meltingly lyrical "Signore, ascolta!" ("My lord, listen!") and her dramatic death scene, "Tu che di gel sei cinta" ("You who are frozen in ice"). El-Khoury caps the former aria with an ethereally floated pianissimo that all but slides down the walls of the parquet. Her performance of the latter aria—which culminates in Liu's suicide—is as dramatically realized as I've ever seen or heard. This is a talent I expect to encounter for years to come, and I couldn't be happier.
The reviews are coming in for Joyce's ÉCHO (debut solo album by Opera Rara). Presto Classical has highlighted the disc as one to "Thrilling dynamic control allows for a really satisfying exposure of micro-emotions, the mark of a singer who’s on