Sara Hershkowitz (Zanaida), Marina De Liso (Tamasse), Pierrick Boisseau (Mustafa), Chantal Santon (Roselane), Daphné Touchais (Cisseo), Vannina Santoni (Osira), Julie Fioretti (Silvera), Majdouline Zerari (Aglatida), Jeffrey Thompson (Gianguir)
Opera Fuoco, David Stern (direction)
After a long war, Soliman, the Turkish emperor, and Tamasse, the Persian sophi, decide to seal the peace between their two countries and, to this end, exchange hostages. The preliminary treaty stipulates that, in order to make this alliance more solid, Tamasse will wed Zanaida, Soliman's daughter. Meanwhile, the sophi falls in love with Osira, a Persian hostage sent by the emperor.
The future Turkish bride arrives in Isfahan with a magnificent retinue. This is where the action of this opera begins, the plot skilfully mixing Tamasse's infidelity, Zanaida's magnanimity, the ambition of Roselane and Osira, and Mustafa's honesty. A particularly appealing opera by the fourth and last of Johann Sebastian's sons whose life was atypical for a Bach, carrying out his career not in Germany but in Italy and England.
“While the story is one of passion, deception and power, the score is characterised by control, clarity and grace...Stern drives a high-energy performance from Opera Fuoco, with spirited orchestral playing and brisk if rather unyielding tempos accenting the work's exuberance. The cast of young singers is well balanced, though some of the more virtuosic arias present quite a challenge.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2013 ***
“if you treat Zanaida as a vocal concert and forget the drama, there is plenty to enjoy here, not least the colourful, sensuous writing for woodwind...while there are no outstanding voices (and words are too often vague), all sing with spirit and a fair sense of style...Stern paces the opera convincingly and gets some lively, pointed playing from his cosmopolitan period band.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2013