Nabucco
Nabucco
© Ellen Kent

Ellen Kent's production of Nabucco by the Chisinau National Opera and National Orchestra, conducted by Nicolae Dohotaru, tells a well-known Old Testament story.

The tyrannical tale of Nebuchadnezzar's attempt to suppress the Hebrews and declare himself God, set in 600 BC, is still powerful, though, on this occasion, he is called Nabucco.

The passion in Verdi's music reaches a head with the "Song of the Slaves" often performed as a one-off by choirs and choral societies, it has even more impact when presented in context.

Petru Racovita handles the title role with the charisma that is so necessary for such a powerful figure. His strong baritone voice reaches to the very back of the stalls and his high calibre acting skills make him a Nabucco you can't forget.

As well as some great arias, especially where he asks God's forgiveness, he sings equally memorable duets with Olga Busuioc who is Abigaille. Her all encompassing envy of Ismaele's love for her sister, Fenena, is reflected accurately in her expressive voice and body language.

Igor Macarenco's tenor notes blend well with Zarui Vardanean's soprano ones to make the chemistry between Fenena and Ismaele strong.

Surrounded by powerful music, both vocal and orchestral, and beholding huge sets of Assyrian murals, winged bulls and the huge statute of Baal as well as magnificent costumes, you are transported to a different world.

Minor teething problems, caused by their recent arrival, makes me wish Nabucco was on for more than one night.

- Julia Taylor