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"Too much of a good thing is wonderful" – "Serse" with Franco Fagioli

© Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe

The 42nd Karlsruhe International Handel Festival was a resounding success with Franco Fagioli in the title role of "Serse", staged by Max Emanuel Cenčić – who also took on the role of Arsamene. In summary: five sold out performances, jubilant audiences and superb reviews.

 

The two internationally acclaimed countertenors and the rest of the ensemble rocked the stage in a dazzling Las Vegas show. Franco Fagioli, an uninhibited Liberace knock-off, captivated the audience right from the start with his famous aria "Ombra mai fu", followed by almost four hours of an exalted show of glitter. "What a wonderful evening of opera at the opening of this year's Handel Festival in Karlsruhe! An unusual, outstanding performance ...", expressed the Rhein-Neckar Zeitung and the Frankfurter Rundschau concluded: "At the end, the audience raves as festival-like as any theatre could ever wish for."

 

The staging as well as the cast and the musical interpretation were equally acclaimed. "The ensemble, led by Franco Fagioli in the title role, is almost entirely brilliant throughout", stated the Rheinpfalz, while Opernwelt emphasized "the brilliant, always inspiring performance of the Deutsche Händel Solisten under the dedicated George Petrou". "The audience is bursting with awe at the embellished vocals, the unrelenting vocal bravura and the enthusiasm of the fabulous ensemble," the FAZ summed up.

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