Roméo et Juliette - Royal Opera House, 17 November 2010
Not much difference between the final performance of the Royal Opera House's Roméo et Juliette and the first, except for one big improvement - newcomer Maria Alejandres, who replaced the exciting but squally Nino Machaidze as Juliette.
As you might expect from a former winner of Domingo's Operalia competition, Alejandres has a naturally gorgeous voice and a sound basic technique. She took a very long time to warm up - the early Je veux vivre was a bit disappointing - but once she got going in the third act, a big lustrous lyric soprano emerged. Shaping her phrases with innate musicality, she radiated sweetness and wholesomeness. It helps that she looks the part too. Her highest notes aren't yet totally under control, blemished by a harsh edge and often dodgy intonation, but there's enough there to suggest a huge amount of promise for the future. It's just unfortunate that she's ended up making her Covent Garden debut in this unloveable production.
And here is Maria Alejandres singing the poison aria in Moscow: