Despite her initial reluctance to play the male role of Enrico, the mezzo-soprano, Anna Bonitatibus, proved to be more than up to the task, putting in an accomplished performance. Her voice has a refined quality, which not only lies easily on the ear, but one Bonitatibus used intelligently to craft a strong vocal portrait of the hero. Her well-grounded mezzo, with its rich dark timbre, shows a wonderful degree of consistency and agility. Throughout the evening she impressed, whether shaping finely articulated recitatives, singing delicately embellished lines with a captivating legato or delivering a sparkling coloratura display, she oozed quality. It was a first-class performance.
Anna Bonitatibus, the seamstress-turned-lead-singer, was splendid as the outsider who invested sincere effort into her hastily-cast role, making the best of it against a backdrop of professionals for whom the performance had long since taken a back seat to their own self-serving interests. She was busy studying the part when she was not on the stage within the stage, while the impresario was sweating profusely as he dealt with missing props, singers not showing up, and other visibly annoyed singers. She displayed a burnished, deep timbre, sparkling coloratura and wonderful phrasing, confirming her status as the most interesting mezzo of her generation. Her cavatina, reminiscent of Tancredi’s, brought the house down.