What you thought of Poliuto

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Donizetti’s Poliuto received its UK professional premiere on 21 May, the opening night of this summer’s Festival.

Donizetti’s tragic grand opera is about Poliuto, a man persecuted for his conversion to Christianity, and the decision of his wife, Paolina, to follow him to his fate.

American tenor Michael Fabiano sings the title role, while Puerto Rican soprano Ana María Martínez sings Paolina.

There are now just a couple of performances remaining – you can book your ticket to this UK premiere here.


Your reaction to the UK premiere

As we approach the last night of Poliuto on 15 July, we look at how it was received by UK audiences.



Many were excited at the first professional staging of the opera…


Our audiences have unanimously praised the cast and orchestra…

‘Beautifully sung and played’
– Bill Sennett

‘We found the opera spellbinding, a complete revelation, wonderful music and it will be very memorable. Wonderful voices, great performances.’
– Fiona Macalister

‘The cast and chorus were excellent’
– Andy Pilborough Skinner


The staging divided opinion, however…

‘Excellent musically and therefore thoroughly enjoyed it. Poor stage production that detracted from , rather than added to, the experience. Surely a rarely performed opera (why?) deserved a production that at least approximated what the composer had in mind?’
– Bill Sennett

‘Several poor comments about the production. It does sadden me that opera houses feel the need to find “exciting” “new” “innovating” productions. All well and good for operas that have been done over and again, but this is – as you say – a “forgotten masterpiece”. So maybe just do it as the composer envisaged?’
– Geoffrey Brock

‘The critics, quite rightly, often take opera directors to task for insulting audiences by providing them with diversions when they think things might be getting too long, or too gloomy, or too static. That – entirely to their credit – Mariame Clement and her designer absolutely do not resort to. Poliuto is a serious piece and that’s how they treat it. What were the critics expecting? Don Pasquale Rides Again? Poliuto and the Temple of Doom?’
– Sebastian Birch

‘Certain aspects of the staging made for uncomfortable viewing at times, but no doubt appropriately so. Looking forward to catching the performance again when broadcast on Radio 3.’
– Fiona Macalister

‘The setting resonated and built an atmosphere of state menace and a religious leader manipulating the crowd for their own ends. The darkness of the set was nicely contrasted by the burst of colour the chorus brought.’
– Andy Pilborough Skinner


What did you think? Leave a comment and tell us what you thought of Poliuto.

If you want to see what everyone is talking about, there’s still time to book tickets to see this seldom produced Donizetti opera.