1. The main character is a historical figure, Notker Balbulus (Notker the Stammerer), a ninth-century monk, musician and poet from Switzerland. Notker (sung poignantly by the tenor Topi Lehtipuu) is called Prophet in the text; he has wide-ranging exchanges with a jaded male angel (sung by a woman, the earthy-voiced mezzo-soprano Iris Vermillion), who has not been sober, he explains, since getting drunk long ago with Nietzsche. A blowhard narrator (the imposing actor Peter Simonischek, in a speaking role) dominates the oratorio, which unfolds in four parts, each asking a big question: “Who are we?” “Where are we?” “What do we want?” “What are we silent about?”
2. The suave baritone Nicola Alaimo was almost miscast as the hapless Taddeo, singing with elegance and richness of tone.
The sunny-voiced soprano Ying Fang perfectly inhabited the part of Elvira, Mustafà’s jilted, ditsy wife. The vibrant Canadian-Tunisian mezzo Rihab Chaieb, as Elvira’s slave, Zulma, and the solid baritone Dwayne Croft, as the put-upon pirate captain Haly, offered strong support.
3. There was excellent work from the mellow-voiced mezzo-soprano Gaëlle Arquez, as the confused prince Idamante, and the two singers playing the women who love him: the sweet-toned soprano Sophie Karthäuser as Ilia, a Trojan princess, and the intense soprano Alex Penda as the vengeful Elettra. Julien Behr brought a muscular tenor voice to Arbace, the king’s confidant.I'm just going to have to assume that there's an addendum to the house style guide.