The Biblical story of Belshazzar’s hubristic arrogance set against the valour of the young warrrior-leader Cyrus provided the 20-year-old Rossini with a dramatic story with West-Eastern resonances which still speak to us today. For the title role of Cyrus, Rossini wrote what would be his longest-ever contralto role, to which the great Rossini singer Ewa Podles is both naturally attracted and ideally suited. She is partnered by two young stars of Rossini singing, Jessica Pratt and Michael Spyres, and a conductor-scholar, Will Crutchfield, of immense experience and sympathy.
Stage director Davide Livermore sets the action in the 1920s, with period black-and-white film inserts.
Ciro: Ewa Podles
Amira: Jessica Pratt
Baldassare: Michael Spyres
Zambri: Mirco Palazzi
Argene: Carmen Romeu
Arbace: Robert McPherson
Daniello: Raffaele Costantini
Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Will Crutchfield
Director: Davide Livermore
Recorded live at the Rossini Opera Festival, Pesaro, August 2012
Plus: Cast Gallery
Running Time: 165 mins
Sound: 2.0 Dolby Digital / DTS 5.1 Surround