Christopher Cook presents Welsh National Opera's new production of Rossini's Moses in Egypt, given at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. Although not as well known as the Barber of Seville, La Cenerentola, or William Tell, Moses in Egypt is among Rossini's greatest musical achievements. First heard in Naples in 1818, Rossini's telling of the Old Testament story pulls focus between the epic and the intimate, as the story of an entire people persecuted by a cruel tyrant is juxtaposed with the forbidden love of two young people on either side of a religious divide.
The Pharaoh refuses to free the Hebrews from slavery and allow them to leave for the Promised Land. Moses, with God's help, brings down plagues on the Egyptians until eventually he and his people are freed. But Pharaoh's son, Osiris, is in love with a Hebrew girl, Elcia, and he is punished when he attempts to have Moses killed.
The Hebrews reach the Red Sea and are rescued from the pursuing Egyptians by divine intervention.
Characters (in order of singing)
Osiride / Osiris Pharaoh's son....David Alegret (tenor)
Faraone / Pharaoh....Andrew Foster-Williams (bass-baritone)
Amaltea Pharaoh's wife....Christine Rice (mezzo-soprano)
Mosè / Moses....Miklós Sebestyén (bass-baritone)
Aronne / Aaron....Barry Banks (tenor)
Mambre, Egyptian high priest....Nicky Spence (tenor)
Elcia, Hebrew girl....Claire Booth (soprano)
Amenofi, Hebrew woman....Leah-Marian Jones (mezzo-soprano)
Chorus of Welsh National Opera
Orchestra of Welsh National Opera
Carlo Rizzi (conductor).