The performance from Joyce El-Khoury was astonishing....Here as Elisabetta she was a positive spitfire. The voice still flowing stylishly around the busy passagework and fearsome coloratura, but added to it was a real steeliness and intensity of tone. This sense of vivid vocal acting was combined with strong visuals so that in Act One she really did establish this Queen as a dominant character, fearsome yet needy, bravura yet intense, both musically and visually stimulating. Through the opera we get a real sense of Elisabetta the person behind the mask, the woman manipulating the spider. And this unfolded brilliantly in the final scene where, now bald, El-Khoury steps down from the spider machine as she abandons all hope, and finally abandons life.