The score makes great demands of its singers. The plot tells of a vicious princess who enjoys murdering young men who fall in love with her. It has an ambitious hero who is silent when the slave girl who loves him is tortured. “For those in love, suffering is a joy,” she sings. Sadomasochism is the opera’s dominant feature and it is those dangerous pathological undertones that count.
“But the finest singing of the night came from Rosamund Illing, whose slave girl Liu has the depth of feeling necessary to explicate the opera’s principal theme of the redemptive power of love. The richness of her timbre is like an unexpected manoeuvre in lovemaking.”
Read the review: The Age – John Slavin – November 21, 2006