Lebanese-Canadian Joyce El‑Khoury was an incandescent Elisabetta, an introverted role that requires total immersion in the character to be effective. The role of Elisabetta can be overshadowed if the soprano doesn’t have the necessary charisma, and there are very few sopranos that can convey the complexity of the character. This is a French Princess, initially engaged and attracted to the young Crown Prince Carlos, who ends up marrying his father Philip II. In the original five‑act version, we witness the courtship of Carlos and Elisabetta, as well as her acquiescence to marry his father to ensure a peace treaty between France and Spain. Elisabetta is no plebeian; she is a woman of rank compelled to master her feelings no matter how burdensome. This patrician character can often make Elisabetta seem cold. El‑Khoury manages to espouse this noble demeanor while maintaining her humanity–no mean feat. Though a lyric soprano, El‑Khoury has ample vocal means and abundant musicianship to excel in this lirico spinto role. The Act II aria, “Non pianger, mia compagna” was effective, and her phrasing superlative. Her final act aria, “Tu che le vanità,” was the vocal highpoint of the evening.

– Concertonet.com