Opera Rara / BBC Symphony Orchestra

ANTONINA Belisario DONIZETTI Opera Rara / BBC Symphony Orchestra

Belisario is, quite simply, one of Donizetti’s finest achievements. Dating from the high watermark of Donizetti’s maturity, with its premiere in 1836 (the year after the debut of Maria Stuarda in Milan and Lucia di Lammermoor in Naples), Belisario proved a triumph on stages throughout the 19th century. Yet, incredibly, it is little known today. The libretto, by Salvadore Cammarano (who collaborated with Donizetti on Lucia di Lammermoor), tells the moving and typically complicated story of the 6th century Byzantine general. Falsely accused by his wife, Antonina, of killing their son, he was blinded and exiled as his punishment. Only the recognition by his daughter, Irene, that her father’s former captive, Alamiro, was her long-lost brother restores Belisario’s reputation; tragically, too late to save his life.
Opera Rara’s Artistic Director, and one of today’s most celebrated conductors, Sir Mark Elder, conducts this neglected masterpiece in a studio recording, directing the choral and orchestral forces of the BBC Singers and BBC Symphony Orchestra and the stunning cast is headed by young Sicilian baritone Nicola Alaimo (Belisario). Rising Canadian star soprano, Joyce El-Khoury, makes her recording debut as Antonina, American tenor Russell Thomas is Alamiro, Welsh soprano Camilla Roberts is Irene and the role of Emperor Giustiniano is sung by the esteemed bass Alastair Miles.
Opera Rara’s studio recording comes with a lavishly illustrated booklet with detailed article and libretto translation by acclaimed scholar Jeremy Commons.

Opera Rara
Released October 2013

CD Reviews: Donizetti’s Belisario Opera Rara

“Joyce El-Khoury, as Antonina, Belisario’s wife, is a formidable talent whose open-toned voice allied to vocal sensitivity and characterisation is too rare these......

“Joyce El-Khoury broadened the heart-on-sleeve histrionics with her sinuous, intelligent portrayal of Antonina, whose false accusation (via a forged letter) against her husband sets the plot in motion. El-Khoury sang wonderfully, producing a penetrating pianissimo of exceptional tonal solidity and dealing with all the bel canto gymnastics with effortless technical security. Her sexy and imperious presence cast a long, interesting shadow over the whole evening, and she was electrifying in her confession of perjury that closes the opera.” -Peter Reed

Belisario nominated for Opera Awards!

Today the nominations for the new Opera Awards show in London were announced.  Included in the nominations is the @OperaRara @BBCSymphony performance of......

Opera Rara: Donizetti Belisario

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012 “Canadian soprano Joyce El-Khoury lit a bigger fire as Antonina, his poisonous wife, though El-Khoury’s skill in tapering dynamics and placing......

BBC Music Magazine

“Soprano Joyce El-Khoury is taking on the role of the vengeful wife of a Byzantine general in Donizetti’s Belisario this weekend. Sir Mark......