“This is unquestionably among the finest opera films ever made. Phyllida Lloyd's Opera North staging vindicated this problematic piece, but the film she also directed… takes it to new heights of intensity. Lloyd's camera flows between stage and backstage... This is not gimmickry; it captures the rhythm of the action and the changing scenes with exciting immediacy one moment, deep intimacy the next, staring mirror-close into Barstow's deeply expressive features...The fine ensemble cast survives such potentially cruel exposure through sheer involvement...”
“an unforgettable portrayal of Gloriana, imperious, fickle, dangerous, noble and in the great final scene when she reviews her
life, devastatingly moving. This is a performance to class with Callas’s Tosca in its total believability.’”
“Barstow's portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I could not be more magisterial and Tom Randle's Essex is hardly less convincing. A very strong cast with a strong sense of dramatic purpose and a first-class orchestral response under Paul Daniel.”
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