In Review: Velasco and Yankovskaya in Spoleto Festival USA's "Pia de' Tolomei"

"Cassandra Zoe Velasco, playing Pia’s brother Rodrigo, was stunning. Her voice is not unlike the great Maria Callas, with the familiar timbre of a mezzo as well as amazing coloratura and dazzling high notes. Velasco's voice is perfect for the role of Rodrigo"

-The Post and Courier Read full review.

"Mexican mezzo-soprano Cassandra Zoe Velasco proved to be convincing in the musico role of Pia’s brother Rodrigo. Donizetti lavished some of the score’s finest music on the role of Rodrigo. who has two double arias – both with cavatina and two verses of cabaletta. Velasco joins Woodbury in close harmony reminiscent of that sung by Norma and Adalgisa in Bellini’s “Norma”. As Rodrigo, Velasco participates also in the affecting reconciliation trio with Pia and Pia’s husband Nello at opera’s end. . . Maestra Lidiya Yankovskaya presided over the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra in a reverential performance of Donizetti’s musically resplendent score. Utilizing the fruits of the recent scholarship creating critical editions of Donizetti’s scores, she made a strong case for “Pia’s” musical worthiness." -Opera Warhorses

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"With conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya firmly in control, the orchestra was much more lively and idiomatic than the staging." -Wall Street Journal Read full review.

"She’s well matched by Mexican mezzo Cassandra Zoe Velasco as her brother – a late example of the trouser role for Donizetti. Velasco’s Rodrigo may appear more boy than man, but she has a powerful, compelling voice, firm and creamy, and evenly produced across a wide range. Her cabalettas, especially the final thrilling L’astro che regge i miei destini, show off an enviable coloratura. . . In the pit, conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya does a terrific job with the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra. She’s brings a fiery spirit to a score than could easily feel routine and has a sure instinct for pacing, while always finding room to bring out Donizetti’s melodic orchestrational felicities."

-Limelight Magazine Read full review.