Unlike Verdi's earlier successes, Nabucco and I Lombardi, both of which had been composed for the large stage at La Scala, Milan, Ernani was written for the smaller stage and more intimate atmosphere of Teatro La Fenice, Venice and he was in his thirty third year when it was composed. This recording is superb in every way. The singers, led by Placido Domingo as Ernani and Mirella Freni as Donna Elvira, entertain us with bravura performances and it's a joy to listen to and watch from beginning to end.
Since this is one of Verdi's lesser known and less performed operas, which deserves to be better known, La Scala is to be complimented on staging such a watchable and inspiring performance. This opera concentrates on personal conflict controlling a sequence of actions bringing the characters into vivid confrontation and this superb production causes one to wonder why more people don't delight in watching and listening to operatic performances. Here we become aware of how the young Verdi was launching himself on a career that would see him develop into arguably the greatest operatic composer of all time. I thoroughly recommend this DVD.