Last week saw a remarkable combination of Askonas Holt talent for the opening night of Le nozze di Figaro at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Luca Pisaroni made his Covent Garden debut as the eponymous hero and Lucy Crowe made her role debut in the house as Susanna. Christopher Maltman sang the autocratic Count Almaviva, his fourth Mozart role at Covent Garden and a role that he has sung around the world, most recently for the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Dudamel, and renowned French tenor Jean-Paul Fouchécourt returned to Covent Garden as the scheming Don Basilio. Sir John Eliot Gardiner returned to the house to conduct.
The performances have been hailed as “…immaculately cast and meticulously rehearsed.” with praise being heaped on the performers. Rupert Christiansen of The Telegraph comments that Sir John Eliot Gardiner was “…wonderfully relaxed, genial and buoyant, accompanying the singers with great consideration and seemingly allowing Mozart to do the work without forcing his own interpretation…” and that John-Paul Fouchécourt’s Basilio was “sharply etched”. He also notes that “Christopher Maltman made a splenetic and saturnine Count, who sang with exemplary clarity and attack…Equally good were Figaro and Susanna – rangy Luca Pisaroni and wide-eyed, sweet-voiced Lucy Crowe – both spot on in their big arias and vivid in their characterisations.”. Richard Fairman of the Financial Times also praises Luca Pisaroni’s “first-rate bass-baritone that never loses its quality and makes every word of his native Italian tell, complementing the creamy soprano and vivacious appeal of his Susanna, Lucy Crowe”.