Rayfield Allied cast impresses in Handel's Radamisto

10 October 2018

The reviews are in for English Touring Opera’s opening night of Handel’s Radamisto, held at the Hackney Empire on Saturday 6 October 2018, and William Towers (Radamisto), Katie Bray (Zenobia) and Grant Doyle (Tiridate) are all firm favourites with critics:

"The star of the evening is William Towers, the counter-tenor in the title role: tall, commanding, and physically expressive, he sings with a refined musicality, and a delicacy of sound which for most of the time conceals the power held in reserve...Katie Bray’s Zenobia delivers turbo-charged coloratura while being well-nigh throttled...the sheer physicality of Grant Doyle's performance." Michael Church, The Independent ****

“The prince Radamisto (sung with mellow mournfulness by William Towers)… the Armenian king Tiridate (Grant Doyle, appropriately venomous)… Katie Bray’s ferociously combative portrayal of the wife, Zenobia — her resistance hurled out in a series of spitfire arias… really impresses.” Richard Morrison, The Times ****

"Countertenor William Towers makes a handsome, melancholy titular hero, singing the opera's most celebrated aria 'Ombra cara' with feeling... Katie Bray brings tonal clarity and sensitive style... Grant Doyle is a rough and gruff villain." Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph ****

“Individual cast members have a lot to offer… Bray in her noble obstinacy as Zenobia, Grant Doyle making a vigorous villain as Tiridate... William Towers has the tone and stature for Radamisto” George Hall, The Stage ****

“Countertenor William Towers is a commanding presence in the title role. Handel is clearly writing to showcase a virtuoso singer here, and Towers is secure in all the runs and ornaments. He also has a sweet, round tone, even in the highest register – the sort of countertenor you’ll warm to even if you don’t like countertenors... Katie Bray brings a purer tone to the role of Zenobia. This is a wide-ranging role [and] her voice is an excellent complement to Towers’. Grant Doyle is an ideal Handel baritone.” Gavin Dixon, The Arts Desk

“Things… caught fire [when] Katie Bray entered as the flashing-eyed, flinty Zenobia... Her incisive singing, scything through the semi-quavers, lifted the whole show into a different dimension… Towers sang the familiar “Ombra cara” with great poise and refinement [and] particularly seemed to find new energy when disguised as the messenger Isemeno... Baritone Grant Doyle is the madman Tiridate. He sings with real fire and fury [and] his voice is so warm, rich and round…” Stephen Pritchard, Bachtrack

“the very experienced countertenor William TowersKatie Bray’s singing is sure-footed, colourful and nuanced, every scene stepping up a gear when she is on stage… Doyle [has a] fine voice and will be in villanous mood again in Spring 2019, when he sings with ETO at Hackney the title role in Verdi's Macbeth (9 March)...” Claudia Pritchard, Culture Whisper ****

Directed by James Conway and conducted by Peter Whelan, the opera can be seen across the country as part of ETO's autumn tour. More information about dates available here.

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