The Cast

ZAYDA
- Vesselina Kasarova DOM SEBASTIEN
- Giuseppe Filianoti
DOM JUAM DE SYLVA
- Alastair Miles ABAYALDOS
- Simon Keenlyside, (PMF Scholar)
CAMOENS
- Carmelo Corrado Caruso
DOM HENRIQUE
- Robert Gleadow
DOM ANTONIO
/FIRST INQUISITOR
- John Upperton
SECOND INQUISITOR
- Lee Hickenbottom
BEN-SELIM
- Andrew Slater
DOM LUIS - Martyn Hill SOLDIER - Nigel Cliffe THIRD INQUISITOR
- John Bernays
Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House CONDUCTOR
- Mark Elder
Opera

'Ever since the Royal Opera opened its 2005-6 season with two thrilling concert performances of Dom Sébastien, the promised recording has been impatiently awaited. Now that it's here, it stands out as one of Opera Rara's most indispensable enterprises - and that is saying something. Dom Sébastien is every bit as distinctive as you would expect of the last of the composer's 70 or so operas... One observer called it a 'funeral procession in five acts'... that is its strength, especially when the work is shaped with as much conviction and drive as Mark Elder - a conductor wonderfully alert to the idiom - brings to it here... the orchestra (playing without vibrato and including natural horns) and chorus are, along with the galvanizing Elder, the chief heroes of this enterprise. The cast is a fine one. Giuseppe Filianoti brings a pungent tenor to the title role and Simon Keenlyside provides strong, hectoring opposition as Abayaldos. Even in concert, Vesselina Kasarova, who sings with vibrant, dusky tone, supplies spirited presence as the Moorish princess Zayda, tom between Islam and Christianity, or at least the men representing these opposing sides. Alastair Miles is chillingly resonant as the grand inquisitor Dom Juam, and among the smaller parts Robert Gleadow makes a potent mark as Dom Henrique.'
Gramophone

'The two principals are truly excellent: Kasarova so rich in voice and vivid in expression, Filianoti a tenor with brilliantly focused tone impressively supporting his place at the centre of the opera.'

The Sunday Times

'This is an edited live recording of concert performances at Covent Garden... the performance is vividly atmospheric, thanks to Elder's pacy, theatrical conducting and some lusty solo singing. The work itself is a revelation - an epic five-act grand opera in which Donizetti out-Meyerbeers Meyerbeer with this yarn of the doomed Christian king of Portugal pursuing a catastrophic confrontation with Islam.'