Beatrice di Tenda by Bellini. 21 March-1 April 2004. Conducted by Renato Palumbo, directed by PierAll, with Mariella Devia, Anthony Michaels-Moore, Maria Pia Piscitelli, Jos Bros. Bellinis penultimate opera was first performed in 1833. Although musicologists agree it is one of his finest works, it was a failure from the start and is infrequently performed.

Beatrice di Tenda by Vincenzo Bellini goes on stage at the Teatro degli Arcimboldi in Milan 21 March-1 April. It is rarely performed in Italy but the strength of this production will be Mariella Devia. There is no question about the bravura of this soprano; the only query is how she will interpret the role of Beatrice. Will she emphasise the lyrical aspect, with the tenuous colouring and shading so dear to Bellini and which Joan Sutherland knew how to achieve with such mastery? Or will she go for the fiery romantic interpretation, along the lines of Leyla Genger, a Beatrice who dominates all the other characters and who imposes herself with authority and drama? Knowing the vocal characteristics of Devia the first rendering is the more likely, but much will also depend on the conductor Renato Palumbo and the director PierAll. Paolo Di Nicola

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Address Teatro degli Arcimboldi, tel. 0272003744.

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Beatrice di Tenda by Bellini, conducted by Renato Palumbo, directed by PierAll, with Mariella Devia, Anthony Michaels-Moore, Maria Pia Piscitelli, Jos Bros.

Teatro degli Arcimboldi, tel. 0272003744.