Customer Review

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb production of rare stage work in a fine Blu-ray presentation, 17 Jan 2012
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This review is from: Donizetti: Anna Bolena [Blu-ray] [2011] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
This is a remarkably fine performance of Donizetti's first major success - his 31st opera. By that stage he had really learnt his craft and knew precisely how to sustain musical interest and tension. In this opera he has also got the advantage of an inherently dramatic moment in history as envisioned by a good librettist.

So how have the performers risen to this challenge? In my opinion the whole enterprise is very fine indeed.

Anna Netrebko in the title role gives a performance of real dramatic bite ranging from the reflective and forgiving to the passionate and fiery. She is totally on top of the considerable musical demands of the part. Her voice has also acquired an interesting greater richness and depth of tone and this is one of her finest performances to date.

Elina Garanca is well able to match Netrebko musically and delivers bel canto singing of great accuracy. This is well up to the exalted levels we have come to expect of this artist. The scena and duetto in Act 2 featuring these two fine singers is a high point of intensity creating real sparks of temperament. However the part of Seymour as one would expect does not carry the same dramatic or musical weight as the title role so the limelight rightly remains on Netrebko.

Ildebrando as Henry VIII is in good fine voice too with plenty of regal sonority to his voice and convincing acting. His confidence in the kingly role reminds one of his authoritive Escamillo role in the Royal Opera's production of Carmen.

The roles of Seaton, Percy and Rochefort are all capably sung and acted whilst not being a serious challenge to the three main stars of the opera. The chorus is effective in a rather static production - although, to be fair, this is also the way they were cast by Donizetti - rather like commentators on the unfolding events. Little room for action therefore.

The production values focus attention on the singing with little action to distract the attention. This would be unsatisfactory if the three main roles were not acted or sung so well. The costumes have caused some negative comments concerning Tudor period but I did not find this to be an issue that bothered me!

The recording is crystal clear as regards both visuals and surround sound and I found the camera work to be sympathetic to both the singers and the opera itself.

I would suggest that this recording warrants the full 5 stars and provides a phenomenal role that seems to suit Netrebko perfectly.

In summary therefore, I would suggest that this disc warrants very serious consideration from anyone interested in purchasing a good, modern recording of this relatively rare work which offers both fine performance and production credentials.

........................................

Some dialogue from the comments section that may offer further help:

Hello Ian
Just found your review which is useful as ever. One of my favourites Luca Pisaroni is singing in this at the moment in Japan so that led me to look it up and then led to a YouTube piece of Netrebko and Garanca which was beautiful-hence here and yet another opera to add to my collection. Hope all is well with you.

...........................................

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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Oct 2012 14:51:22 GMT
Mrs Pisaroni says:
Hello Ian
Just found your review which is useful as ever. One of my favourites Luca Pisaroni is singing in this at the moment in Japan so that led me to look it up and then led to a YouTube piece of Netrebko and Garanca which was beautiful-hence here and yet another opera to add to my collection. Hope all is well with you.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Oct 2012 19:28:56 GMT
I. Giles says:
Hello again and nice to hear from you after so long,

Is Luca Pisaroni a relative of yours - the name being the same?
I am sure you will enjoy this opera which carries quite a punch. Anna Netrebko has taken on a totally different type of role with this opera and there is not a trace of her early ebullient spirit - it would be totally inappropriate anyway in a story such as this.
I would prefer to use your name as a matter of courtesy and via e-mail for security but I seem to have mislaid it (lost!) and all I can remember is that it starts with 'c'.
All the best and keep enjoying the music. It is a lifetime passion for all enthusiasts.
Ian

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Oct 2012 14:31:58 GMT
Mrs Pisaroni says:
'Pisaroni' is ,alas, an alias-out of affection for said Luca Pisaroni-but Colette is my christian name. Regards.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Oct 2012 22:08:53 GMT
I. Giles says:
Thanks Colette. If you haven't got the Love Potion Villazon & Netrebko set I would imagine you would love it. My recent review might be worth a read! I have owned the disc for years and have always enjoyed it.
Best wishes,
Ian

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Oct 2012 18:52:08 GMT
Mrs Pisaroni says:
Hi Ian
I do have it-I think I've reviewed it myself. I like it very much-particularly the 'encore' for Villazon and his repeat of 'Una furtiva lagrima'. Its not my favourite version-that goes to Alagna/Georghiou and the wondeful Simone Alaimo version which I also have but I do like it.
Colette.

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Oct 2012 22:02:08 GMT
I. Giles says:
Hi Colette,
I'm not surprised you already have it! I too am fond of the Simone Alaimo version with Ciofi. Ciofi's version of the Regiment's Daughter is also excellent and my personal favourite of that opera.
Best wishes,
Ian

Posted on 13 Mar 2014 19:59:03 GMT
Mr. Giles review was much more in depth than mine, but he seems to appreciate great singing as much as I, and it really is great singing on this DVD, often making me hold my breath.
Charles Webb Pontypool Wales

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Mar 2014 22:13:54 GMT
I. Giles says:
Dear Charles, Regardless of depth, which is a kind comment of yours, I think the key thing is that we both share an admiration for the singing on this disc. Best wishes, Ian Giles.
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Review Details

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4.8 out of 5 stars (29 customer reviews)
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I. Giles
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Location: Argyll, Scotland

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