DVD0011. IL CROCIATO IN EGITTO (Meyerbeer), Live Performance, 16 Jan., 2007, Venezia, w.Villaume Cond. Teatro La Fenice Ensemble; Michael Maniaci, Patrizia Ciofi, Laura Poverelli, Fernando Portari, Marco Vinco, Iorio Zennaro, Silvia Pasini, etc. Dynamic 33549. - 8007144335496
“The edition recorded here is the original, composed for La Fenice….In these performances the castrato rôle is sung by the American male soprano Michael Maniaci. His is a gorgeous sound, dark, with a slight attractive flutter; his musicianship is consummate. There is also much to admire in the singing of Ciofi. Her dark soprano is a perfect match for Maniaci. In their duets it is difficult to differentiate between the two voices. Then along comes Poverelli with an almost masculine voice of great richness. The parade of vocal grandeur continues with the brighter, but not too much brighter, tenor voices of Zennaro and Portari. Portari is particularly winning with his musical sensitivity and control….Surely this is one of the most attractively balanced casts I have ever heard.”
- Charles H. Parsons, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, July/Aug., 2010
"Concert (performances) so far have cast the Velluti rôle of Armando with a mezzo-soprano, but La Fenice took the fascinating option of using Michael Maniaci, a male soprano (not countertenor) whose technique and artistry vindicated the choice triumphantly and must take us as near to the original as we're going to get today without sacrificing a few unfortunates along the way. Maniaci has impeccable phrasing, excellent coloratura, a confident top and an effective stage presence. Matching him was Patrizia Ciofi's Palmide whose soprano grows in strength without any loss of flexibility or sweetness - their Act One duet was exquisite."
— Francis Muzzu, Opera Now, May/June 2007
“Composed in 1824, IL CROCIATO IN EGITTO, the last of Meyerbeer’s grand Italian operas before he looked for greater and lasting success in Paris, marked the last major opera composed for a castrato, this performance having today’s nearest equivalent in the voice of the male soprano, Michael Maniaci, singing the rôle of Armando d’Orville. He has a very extensive part, and I would commend this release to you if only to hear his remarkable voice. Used as we are to hearing females sing the parts of young males, it then seems strange to hear a duet between a male soprano and the tenor, Fernando Portari. I also much enjoyed the mezzo, Laura Polverelli, as Felicia, the big virtuoso first act aria, ‘Pace io reco, a noi piu grata’, very well taken. Maniaci’s voice blends perfectly with her and with the virtuoso soprano part given to Patrizia Ciofi as Palmide. She is the female at the centre of the story, her second act aria, ‘D’una madre disperata’ being well-worth the audience applause. Stage noises are few; balance between singers and orchestra is admirable, and the general quality of the sound is very good.”
- David Denton, David's Review Corner, March 2010