Armida, Garsington Opera

By Rupert Christiansen [Telegraph, 8 June 2010]
What a delightful surprise – a Rossini opera which shows him with his mind firmly on the job, from the overture’s arresting beginning to the anti-heroine’s concluding tirade. Making no lurches into banality or resorts to bang-and-clatter clichÈ, Rossini seems to have been unusually inspired by Tasso’s tale of the seductive sorceress Armida, who ensnares the crusader Rinaldo – perhaps partly because his talented new lover Isabella Colbran was creating the title-role.