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Emotional performance of a nun’s story

Emma Mauch in the title role of National Opera’s performance of Suor Angelica at Albert Hall. Photo: Peter Hislop

Music / Suor Angelica, National Opera. At Albert Hall, until March. Reviewed by LEN POWER.

Suor Angelica is a one-act opera by Giacomo Puccini that premiered in 1918. It is the second of the trio of operas known collectively as Il Trittico.

Set in a convent, Sister Angelica has had a baby out of wedlock and given her child up. She takes part in the daily life of the convent with the other nuns, helping them with her ability to make potions and remedies. The arrival of her aunt, the Princess, with news of the death of her child, causes her to take her own life in the hope that she will be reunited with her son.

From the day-to-day life of the nuns to the sadness and loss in Sister Angelica’s heart-breaking aria, Senza Mamma (Without Mamma) and the Princess’ aria Nel Silenzio (In Silence), Puccini’s emotional music weaves quite a spell around this sad tale of loneliness, death and redemption.

Intimately staged by director Rachel Hogan on the floor of the Albert Hall, the strength of this production is the fine singing and performances from the cast.

Soprano Emma Mauch performs in National Opera’s Suor Angelica. Photo: Peter Hislop

Soprano Emma Mauch, as Suor Angelica, sings the role well. She gives her aria, Senza Mamma, a sensitive and moving performance. Her level of emotion throughout is nicely judged and quite affecting.

Soprano Sonia Anfiloff is a commanding presence as the Principessa and gives a strong performance of the aria, Nel Silenzio. A hint of compassion showing through her stern exterior was a nice touch.

There is beautiful singing by the nuns, many of whom bring individual character touches to their roles. The finale, which includes some male singers, brings the opera to an uplifting climax.

Musical director Ella Luhtasaari has captured a striking level of emotion and colour in the singing of Puccini’s music and the musicians, conducted by Leonard Weiss, give a fine performance of the beautiful score.

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One Response to Emotional performance of a nun’s story

colin walters says: 8 March 2024 at 1:00 pm

A wonderful performance which puts the ACT Government to shame for cancelling a miserly grant which would at least allow the company to survive and develop. Few capital cities around the world or European cities of our size are without their own opera company. The supreme art form – but not in the ACT!

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