Giuseppe Verdi's first big Paris hit, Jérusalem is an 1847 rewrite of I Lombardi. Along with a new French text, the action is clarified, characters and scenes are dropped, the tenor role is beefed up, and the obligatory ballet is added, among other changes. It's a more coherent opera in this version, although Italian audiences have clung to I Lombardi, which is still mounted on the world's stages. The Philips team, however, makes a powerful case for this French grand opera story of betrayal, love, war and rescue, penitence, and vindication painted in primary colors on a canvas of Crusaders and villains, rousingly set to effective, if blunt, music.
Bel Air present Don Pasquale, a true masterpiece from Donizetti. It's one of the funniest operas ever composed, but it also shines with Donizetti's trademark touch of gentle pathos and some of his finest music. The production is from the Grand Theatre of Geneva, with soprano Patrizia Ciofi as Norina and baritone Simone Alaimo in the title role.
An encounter between contemporary and folk Armenian and Swiss composers, performed within the frame of an international festival that was held in the two countries.