Opera Rara: Donizetti’s Les Martyrs a revelation

Donizetti: Les Martyrs *****

Opera Rara, Royal Festival Hall, 4th November 2014

Joyce El-Khoury © Kristin Hoebermann

Joyce El-Khoury
© Kristin Hoebermann

There is no shortage of rare Donizetti operas set in exotic locations – Emilia di LiverpoolZoroaida di GranataHarrison di Accrington (okay, artistic license exercised on that final one) – so a religious drama set in Armenia during the Roman occupation might seem nothing new. In fact, Les Martyrs may be more familiar than it first seems, for it is largely a French rewrite of Poliuto, composed for Paris in umbrage after the latter failed to get the backing of the Neapolitan censor in 1838 and was pulled at the last minute.

Read the full review on Bachtrack.

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