But I regret I bought this opera.
High drama? A middle of the road libretto!
Musically it's unsurprising. After sitting through it for 4 times my conclusion is clear. I'm glad Leoncavallo didn't compose the other 2 opera's he'd in mind for his trilogy. So here we've I Medici, a totally uninteresting, unmelodious and too pretentious affair. You can wait for hours before a clear melody (or a hint of a melody) appears. I thought the choral finales, there're 4, lasted for hours. Thought `here we go again' when I thought the end was near. Leoncavallo must have thought to imitate the Wagner school but - I can be mistaken! - I couldn't find any Leitmotif either. It's all third class, Lisztian, humptie humptie music scribbling. There isn't a moment of heat and the best you get is sopranos shouting at tenors shouting at the chorus and the orchestra blaring standard woodwind and brass fanfares.
For the performance DG secured Placido Domingo in one of the central roles. Nearly 70 years of age by now he's the freshest voice in the whole recording! It's unbelievable a man can keep his voice so clean of any distortion through such a long and rewarding career. Compare this with many singers in their forties who sound harsh, or metallic, or have extensive vibratos, or started singing Wagner at a very young age. That's certainly the case with the two female roles in this recording Daniela Dessi and Renata Lamanda. They sound like they smoke 40 cigarettes a day, are uneven, husky, love unnecessary vibrato and can't sometimes get the right notes out of their throats. Brrrrrrrrrrrrr.
So, giving three stars is entirely for Deutsche Grammophon's enterprise, the good presentation, the fine recording and the playing of the orchestra. I don't know if there're any other operas of this period which are very rewarding and interesting and hope sometime a record company will find them, but for the time being, this is a waste of everyone's money.