“the undoubted “find” of the evening”

Opera Rara and the BBC Symphony Orchestra (Sir Mark Elder) recorded Donizetti’s rare masterpiece Belisario. The work was performed after the week of recording on October 28 – the result was serious buzz surrounding the release of the recording in late 2013, and a warm welcome to Joyce El-Khoury in her London debut at Barbican Hall.  Here are some of the reviews:

“In order to sing bel canto successfully, there must be a sensitive feel for the way the text and music work together, a precision in executing both, and full, vivacious life running through every note. It’s not something that can be taught or faked and thus is often missing from modern bel canto performances, even those produced at institutions of the highest caliber. El-Khoury, however, manages to bring all this and more to the stage: she is not only stunningly beautiful and thus has a profound presence on-stage, but communicates with a seemingly inexhaustible amount of artistic gravitas. Her phrasing, dynamics, and pure grain of voice coupled with a seemingly innate feel for the text made for an outstanding interpretation of the role that will not be soon forgotten.”


“Joyce El-Khoury was the star of the evening. Not only is the vocal range of the role enormous, she exercised complete control over the coloratura and the dynamics; at times the pianissimo top notes were spine-tingling. Antonina is an equally tragic and evil character, and showcased El-Khoury’s acting skills. Her voice soared easily over the full orchestral sound, which occasionally overpowered the other characters.”


“Joyce El Khoury…brought fluent coloratura and viperish intensity to the insidious music for Belisario’s vengeful wife.” -Telegraph


“the undoubted “find” of the evening…was Joyce El-Khoury (Antonina) whose plangent tone and uninhibited production and delivery belied great resources of refinement. Her final scene took her softly into the stratosphere where she sat, vocally speaking, with affecting restraint. And then came that conclusive top C. Wow.” -Edward Seckerson


“…in Nicola Alaimo’s Belisario and Joyce El-Khoury’s Antonina we got an ideal pairing, his resonant Sicilian baritone wonderfully complemented by the silky perfection of her sound, and by the Callas-like way she shaped her lines – I long to see and hear her perform again.” -The Independent