Listen to a Sample:
This rare gem finds its way to the stage with an excellent (and somewhat incongruous) cast. The standout by far is Olivia Stapp. I used the word incongruous because, on paper, Stapp, a soprano who excelled at parts like Aida, Tosca and even Elektra shouldn't be a good fit in Rossini. She proves this wrong delivering a fiery performance coupled with great technical agility. Yevgeny Nesterenko in the title role is imposing and suave as is Simon Estes as Faraone, matching Nesterenko in vocal gravitas. The last incongruity is the conducting of Wolfgang Sawallisch. It is a credit to the maestro that he recognized the musical value of this piece in a time when Rossini was often relegated to up-and-coming conductors who haven't earned their wings. The sound is excellent.