YES! - Les Martyrs from Opera Rara and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at the Royal Festival Hall yesterday evening. This marvellous piece, Donizetti's wonderful and exotic adaptation for Paris of his Poliuto, was given a hugely successful public airing by Opera Rara following their recording of the piece which they have been doing these last three weeks.
This was the shortest three and a half hours on record - rich with fascinating orchestration and instrumentation (two harps doubling trumpets(!) for example - four bassoons and a cacophony of flutes/piccolos - as well as an ophicleide). It was an altogether exhilarating evening of the Grandest of Opera, magnificently conducted by Mark Elder, and with some remarkable singing from Joyce El-Khoury and Michael Spyres in the two leading roles, with no less formidable support from David Kempster, Brindley Sherratt and Clive Bayley, showing depth in the quality of the cast assembled by Opera Rara.
It should be noted that there is the opportunity to hear Poliuto at Glyndebourne in 2015. That should certainly not be missed.