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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous performance
I have always thought that of the three Donizetti Tudor operas, Maria Stuarda is the greatest. That was until I saw the ghastly produced and under sung performances offered up recently by Welsh National Opera. I thought may be my judgment on these works was wrong. It shows how poor performances can damage a works reputation. It was with great relief that after watching...
Published 12 months ago by A. J. Valentine

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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great
I, too, saw this as a live transmission at the cinema, and was bowled over by the dramatic intensity. Not my favourite out of the 'Three Queens', but still a marvellous work. I would have liked to give this at least 4 stars, but could not do so on 2 counts.

Mathew Polenzani was weak as Leicester, and on top of that, I was infuriated by his arrogance in the...
Published 11 months ago by polly


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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous performance, 22 April 2014
By 
A. J. Valentine (London.UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Donizetti: Maria Stuarda (The Metropolitan Opera HD Live) [DVD] [2013] [2014] (DVD)
I have always thought that of the three Donizetti Tudor operas, Maria Stuarda is the greatest. That was until I saw the ghastly produced and under sung performances offered up recently by Welsh National Opera. I thought may be my judgment on these works was wrong. It shows how poor performances can damage a works reputation. It was with great relief that after watching this DVD my original thoughts, that this is one of Donizetti's greatest works. I have been fortunate enough to hear many great Maria's ,Janet Baker, Joan Sutherland, Montserrat Caballe, Mara Zampieri , to name a few. Having seen Joyce DiDonato in a number of roles mostly comic or frivolous I wondered if she would have the dramatic weight both acting wise and vocally for this role. I need not have worried, she is quite superb.(Sorry Joyce for doubting you) My standard for the role of Mary has always been Janet Baker, whose performances at the English National Opera in 1973 and again in 1982 were quite magnificent. DiDonato runs her a close second, with her great technique and many colours in her voice she brings the character vividly to life, her final scene extremely moving. Elza Van den Heever is an excellent Elizabeth, she may not have the fullness and beauty of voice of Rosalind Plowright at her greatest, or the natural Italianate sound of Sonia Ganassi on the Dynamic DVD but her large well projected voice makes the scene between the two Queens very exciting. Matthew Polenzani as Leicester seems to force his tone in the first scene and the sound is a bit gritty, but he improves greatly later on, though my favourite Leicester is the young Joseph Calleja (also on Dynamic). Joshua Hopkins makes a very insidious Lord Cecil and its good to see the British singer Matthew Rose from the ROH young artist programme making his mark as Marys confidante and confessor Lord Talbot.. Maurizio Benini is well at home is this repertoire and conducts an exciting performance with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra on terrific form. What brings this performance together into a dramatic and believable whole is the production of David McVicar in magnificent sets by John Macfarlane. David McVicar tells the story clearly and succinctly in correct period. He cleverly shows the passing of time between each scene. What a relief to have a producer as servant to the composer, rather than some of the awful travesties that some opera producers foist on the public. I shall always keep my DVD of the ENO production, though sung in English it enshrines a truly magnificent performance from Dame Janet Baker. Some people reviewing this set complain that it is not Blu-ray. I have a large flat screen television and find the HD filming of this opera superbly clear and the surround sound natural and full, in fact the cannon shots in the final scene signifying the execution of Mary quite terrifying . I can fully recommend this great new performance.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good traditional staging with good overall cast, 8 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: Donizetti: Maria Stuarda (The Metropolitan Opera HD Live) [DVD] [2013] [2014] (DVD)
A beautifully costumed but no frills production that brings out the drama of Schiller's original. Overall the singing is above average, but this wouldn't be a first choice for singing except the superb Elza Van den Heever.
Joyce Di Donato gives a marvelously compelling interpretation of the title role, with some brilliant coloratura, but the pronounced fast vibrato can be a little intrusive at times, and occasionally compromises the pitch. She is nonetheless superb. The tenor is not Pavarotti - but who is!
Chorus and orchestra are of the usual high Met standard.
Recommended - but not definitive.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Maria Stuarda., 28 April 2014
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This review is from: Donizetti: Maria Stuarda (The Metropolitan Opera HD Live) [DVD] [2013] [2014] (DVD)
After seeing this in a cinema broadcast from the Met I constantly accessed the Met Opera site to see when and if they would release it. It was the very best production we had seen and DiDonato's voice is out of this world. All the cast is good, set design superb and very imaginative. Camera work is good and was the same as broadcast. Highly recommended as the essential Maria Stuarda
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars La Stupenda for the 21st Century, 13 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Donizetti: Maria Stuarda (The Metropolitan Opera HD Live) [DVD] [2013] [2014] (DVD)
I had the great pleasure of seeing DiDonato sing this live at Covent Garden twice this summer and she was absolutely stunning. Nothing can beat her live performance of the role but this DVD is an essential addition to my collection. Also, McVicar's staging is much more sumptuous and fitting than Leiser & Caurier's was at Covent Garden this year. If you like Bel Canto opera, you should definitely get this!!! If the final act doesn't leave you gasping, you're not human.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good bargain, 18 May 2014
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This review is from: Donizetti: Maria Stuarda (The Metropolitan Opera HD Live) [DVD] [2013] [2014] (DVD)
Good MET production, attractive cast, very good singing and great Di Donato . The best avaible Maria Stuarda on DVD.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joyce Di Donato shows very good acting skills in the title role, 14 July 2014
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This review is from: Donizetti: Maria Stuarda (The Metropolitan Opera HD Live) [DVD] [2013] [2014] (DVD)
The sound is first rate so bringing out the powerful singing of the cast. Joyce Di Donato shows very good acting skills in the title role. Excellent production,
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime Maria Stuarda - A Real Joy to Watch, 11 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Donizetti: Maria Stuarda (The Metropolitan Opera HD Live) [DVD] [2013] [2014] (DVD)
I missed seeing this at the live cinema relay last year. Now I know what all the fuss was about.

This has to be the best production of Maria Stuarda in recent times. Joyce DiDonato portrays the character Maria with some real depth, and sublime clear singing. A real joy to watch. A notable highlight for me, is DiDonato's duet with Matthew Rose (Talbot) after learning of Maria's fate. Without doubt, a true master class in operatic stage craft.

I must also mention the performance of Elza Van Den Heever as Elizabeth I, she compliments DiDonato's Maria perfectly.

Top Marks also go to Producer Sir David McVicar. As I enjoyed this production so much, I'm eager to see what see what McVicar does with Donizetti: Anna Bolena [DVD] [2011] [NTSC]
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Re-Joyce it's Joyce all the way!, 15 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Donizetti: Maria Stuarda (The Metropolitan Opera HD Live) [DVD] [2013] [2014] (DVD)
Saw the Covent Garden production as well as this one. The Covent Garden production definitely peculiar in its costumes and staging. Like its sister production at the Met, the singers bar one were all very competent. Of course I am speaking of the divine DiDonato, who is a world-class star and, in my opinion, the greatest bel canto lyric mezzo in the world and of the last few decades. Acting superbly, singing sublimely with perfect musicality, flawless technique and acting her socks off, she makes the opera and the production the stunning production it was. Act II brought tears to my eyes. The plot is really kind of silly - two queens fighting over a rather boring man - (so what's new??) but the dramatic tension and the focus on Maria/Joyce in Act II are quite electric.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Maria Stuarda, 16 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Donizetti: Maria Stuarda (The Metropolitan Opera HD Live) [DVD] [2013] [2014] (DVD)
Maria stuarda, donizettis very fine opera , historically based on the story of two great queens, is played out in this performance by two stupendous opera stars, mezzo- soprano joyce Didonato, as queen Mary, and soprano ELza van Heever as e Elizabeth, both parts played to great standard, this dvd as it all,Donizettis beautiful music ,great singing and first class staging, to top all of this , my favourite of all opera star joyce Didonato. fantastic.
Pauline
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5.0 out of 5 stars She is backed up by an excellent cast. I love the gloomy settings and the ..., 24 Jan. 2015
By 
Audrey Sawyer (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Donizetti: Maria Stuarda (The Metropolitan Opera HD Live) [DVD] [2013] [2014] (DVD)
Joyce DiDonato is absolutely thrilling as the doomed Mary queen of Scots. Voice, appearance and acting are all superb. She is backed up by an excellent cast. I love the gloomy settings and the rich costumes. A feast for the eyes and ears, at which you will be hard-hearted indeed not to weep at the final scenes..
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