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on 11 June 2012
This is a stunning performance by all the caste of singers. In particular the baritone Hvorostovsky is absolutely magnificent As usual, as usual not only is his voice superb but his acting is most convincing. My only reservation about this performance is the rather uninspired stage setting. One gets the impression that even the Metropolitan Opera is trying to save money by not giving authentic stage sets. In my opinion opera should not only be a feast for the ears but also for the eyes and while this satisfies the audio portion of the Opera in my opinion these stage sets are really rather mundane. I think that they should bring back Zeffirelli to produce the Operas;he was magnificent.having voiced this quibble I nonetheless enjoyed this version very much and certainly think that it was well worth getting.
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on 23 August 2012
I have seen more own goals by the Met than any other Blu-ray disc producer and here is another. With some minor reservations this is beautifully sung and the sound recording is excellent. The production is unlikely to upset traditionalists in its concept but the whole thing is ruined by the gloomy colours and low lighting that pervades everything. Met broadcasts and in-cinema showings have a tendancy to be far too dark and I no longer follow them because of this. I hoped that Blu-ray might get a better showing but sadly no. The picture quality is not even as good as a regular DVD. It is lamentable and the poor camera men have no chance to deliver a sharp and colourful image. There is no excuse for this and I fear very much that the forthcoming new Ring will be ruined in the same way. I have often wondered if the Met do it deliberately to discourage pirating but surely not. On the other hand why can they so rarely if ever offer sharp clear images to go with the drama and the music? Their recent Fanciulla that otherwise I enjoyed very much was also unnecessarily dark and gloomy. Another own goal is the quite dreadful introduction by Renée Fleming. Great singer she may be but she is no video compere and the cheesy interludes she provides made me cringe. They are not subtitled and several of the parties have accents that are very hard to follow. They can be avoided by using the controls but why should we have to do that? No other opera house intrudes on its repeat audiences in such an inconsiderate way.
I found this a deeply disappointing and even infuriating release. What a shame as the sound is terrific.
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on 22 June 2012
The imbalance is obvious.
We have a stout-voiced, physically burly Leonora in the person of Sondra Radvanovsky, whose acting is stolid and vocal voltage on full-throttled category. With this strength, she suits the roles of the amazons like the valkures rather better than the tragic Verdian heroine.
As the evil Count, Hvorostovsky is perhaps the only suitably casted member, and his reprisal of this role is a welcome treat to opera lovers. The aristocratic and autocratic bearings of DH simply blows other Counts di Luna to the dust.
Unfortunately, the same level could not be said of Marcello Alvarez's Manrico.
Clearly more suited to lyrical roles such as La Boheme, Marcello Alvarez is a sadly under-powered Manrico.
His voice lack the incisivness, and his acting is too reserved for the hot-blooded trovatore. His 'di quella pira' is the most 'lyrical' one could get hold of.
MET is clearly miscasting their major operas' main roles.
Try Marco Berti for the next Manrico, Peter Gelb.
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on 3 April 2013
The setting is brought foreward from the 15th century, which I think was the original period, to what looks to me like 19th century, but it works very well.
The set is a massive revolving affair with a citadel and foreboding stairway. It however revolves to give a seamless transition to the other scenes as appropriate.
Ferrando opens with an explanation of the background to the action to come, sung ably by Stefan Kocan.
When Radvanovsky appears it seems that a treat is in store, her Leonora has a beautifully rounded mobile voice, her phrasing flows easily, an aural delight.
The anvil chorus scene is most entertaining, and well sung. O would love to play an anvil myself, but I am not as well muscled as the on stage blacksmiths.
Azucena is the richly toned mezzo Dolora Zajick, one can always look forward to hearing her.
It makes a change to hear Alvarez other than the Duke in Rigoletto, he does a fine job as Manrico, and is well suited to the role.
Hvorostovsky makes a grand glowering villain, one can really enjoy his powerful baritone. My wife loves his hair!
All minor roles and chorus are to a very high standard. This is by far the best Trovatore that I have seen. I thoroughly recommend.
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on 5 April 2014
Perhaps the best way to stage 'Il Trovatore' is to let the story speak for itself and not tamper with it too much. This is, by and large, what David McVicar does in this 2009 staging from the Met and, on the whole, it works very well. He updates the action by a couple of centuries but that doesn't do any real harm and, if anything, he exaggerates the passions in this this most melodramatic melodrama! The sets are fairly hideous to be honest but, to be fair, they do suit the setting - this is not a pretty opera, set as it is among camps both gypsy and military. The costumes are understated and, on the whole, flattering with the notable exception of most of Leonora's outfits.

The cast is pretty good. My favourite is the ravishing Leonora of Sondra Radvanovsky. This is just the kind of voice I like, big and powerful with a tight vibrato but still capable of thinning it down to almost nothing in 'D'amor sull'ali rose'. Almost as good is Dmitri Hvorostovsky as Conte di Luna. He acts it extremely well and the voice is powerful - I have to say though that I have heard more beautiful renditions of 'Il balen', his glorious Part 2 aria, the top of his voice is just a bit too tight, otherwise he is excellent. Dolora Zajick stomps around a bit as Azucena and her acting is a bit variable but she sings it well and I like the fact that McVicar presents the old gypsy as rather more dangerous than usual. That leaves Marcello Alvarez as Manrico. First of, I must say that his 'Di quella pira' was a bit of a disappointment but it would be a mistake to judge any Manrico on this tricky old warhorse alone and elsewhere he produces some glorious singing, especially his lovely aria to Leonora just before their equally lovely, mini-duet in Part 3. Like Zajick, his acting seems a little uncertain at times but he really rises to the occasion in the finale. The unusually young Ferrando is excellent.

The orchestra is good although some of the speeds here and there were not to my liking. It was good though to have the score more or less complete including Leonora's lovely Part 3 cabaletta. The chorus are good too. On the whole, I enjoyed this very much. I've still to find the perfect 'Trovatore' but this one comes pretty close.
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on 18 February 2014
This must be the best Trovotore ever. Four of the best singers in the world in the Met at the same time. Radvonovsky's Leonora is soaring and sublime, Hvorostovsy's di Luna is wonderful, powerful and moody with long legato passages. Zajick's Azucena is a force to reckoned with. The voice and the character are perfect. The scenery is on a turntable with makes scene changes fast and untroubled. I watch this recording again and again.I love it!
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on 27 July 2014
Great singing,great picture detail,excellent sound balance.Oh dear DGG! why the very annoying American commentator between acts.Please DGG stop it.
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