There were near-empty stages, in fact, for some of the family scenes with Timur, the old blind wandering ruler (Morris Robinson), and Liu (Sabina Cvilak), the devoted slave girl who guides him partly out of love for his son, Calaf (Dario Volonté). This focus was all the more fitting since Robinson and Cvilak were the strongest singers of the evening, he stentorian, she with a muscular roundness to her soprano.

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