Here is a complete performance of Rossini’s early opera from the Rossini Festival in Pesaro last Summer. The three principals are splendid. The fabulous (at age 60 she’s still unique) Polish contralto Ewa Podles takes the title role. The American tenor Michael Spyres continues to dazzle in rare roles; he’s the villain of the piece – Baldassare (Belshazzar). The young Australian coloratura soprano Jessica Pratt is Amira the captured wife of Ciro (Cyrus). She’s outstanding and is clearly headed for a major career.
Rossini was only 20 when he wrote the opera, but it’s unmistakably by him though not yet at the level he would achieve in less than a year.