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Verdi: Simon Boccanegra (Live Recording From The Teatro Comunale Florence 2002) [DVD]  [NTSC]
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Claudio Abbado conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence, Italy, for this 2002 performance of Verdi's 1857 opera. Peter Stein is the stage director and the soloists include Carlo Guelfi, Julian Konstantinov, Karita Mattila, Vincenzo La Scola and Lucio Gallo.
The Scalas critical audience celebrated Plácido Domingos return to the stage with a 15-minute ovation. --EL Mundo
Domingo is an artist whose enthusiasm and experience ensure a solid interpretation. Performance *** Picture & Sound *** --BBC Music Magazine,Apr'12
It remains remarkable how well Domingo sings the title role, given His age (69)…an appreciable achievement. --Opera,Apr'12
Characters' interrelationships come across clearly, and more than that in such confrontational scenes as those between Boccanegra and Fiesco in the Prologue in the final act, in both of which the veterans Domingo and Ferruccio Furlanetto belie their age and create almost tangible tension, both being in grand voice. --International Record Review
Some of the best singing comes from Anja Harteros as Amelia. --Richard Fawkes, Opera Now --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Placido Domingo in the title role was in a astonishingly good voice as were Ferruccio Furlanetto (as Fiesco) and Anja Harteros (as Amelia/Maria). Fabio Sartori (as Gabriele Adorno) and Massimo Cavalletto (as Paolo) were good but not in the same class as the other three. Audio and video quality were excellent.
The production was traditional but with a few strange effects thrown in. The prologue was set on a darkened stage with a docked ship in the background. Unfortunately the ship itself was set in a bright white background and was the scene of furious activity, all of which distracted from the main action in the foreground. At this point the video editor was quite helpful and cut a lot of this out. In the scene between Simon Boccanegra and Amelia, four large uprooted shrubs descended from the top of the stage and were eventually re-united with the soil. You could see the analogy - the uprooted orphan Amelia is being re-united with here Father in this scene. However this was a very strange, distracting effect - basically the Producer was being clever at the expense of the overall performance.
In the final scene, which is very poignant when well done, the Producer and Video Editor combined in a way that completely spoilt the performance of the two principals. The Producer had a large mirror descend above the scene while the Video Editor switched too rapidly from camera to camera, playing about with clever ways of fading one shot into another. This all distracted badly from what I actually wanted to see, namely the two singers.Read more ›
It's perhaps with this in mind that the 2010 production of Simon Boccanegra from La Scala in Milan adopts a kind of hybrid form of traditional staging with some modernist touches that, like the opera's own make-up, don't blend together entirely successfully, but are no less fascinating for how they throw their contradictory elements into relief.Read more ›
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It's perhaps with this in mind that the 2010 production of Simon Boccanegra from La Scala in Milan adopts a kind of hybrid form of traditional staging with some modernist touches that, like the opera's own make-up, don't blend together entirely successfully, but are no less fascinating for how they throw their contradictory elements into relief. There's nothing too jarring or experimental in Federico Tiezzi staging - this is La Scala after all - which gives a sense of historical 14th century period, with beautifully designed costumes and eye-catching colour schemes that make the divisions between the rival factions clear. There are one or two more modern touches of stage technique however - descending trees onto the stage in Act II, a sea of blocks that suggests seismic activity and a huge reproduction of Casper David Friedrich's Das Eismeer - that suggest that this shouldn't be taken simple as a straightforward historical drama, but as one that has greater conceptual meaning with regards to the questions of the nature of power and the place of human relationships within it.
This is a fine, marvellously looking production then, meticulously directed and expertly conducted by Daniel Barenboim to bring out the full conceptual nature of the staging and the abstraction of the opera's music, but it's the human interpretation that is perhaps the most vital aspect of Simon Boccanegra. Domingo, of course, isn't the true baritone that is required for the role, but he had all the necessary qualities and experience - as he approached his 70th birthday - to take on the challenge of two significant Verdi baritone roles in 2010 (and it's probably no coincidence that the other was that complementary character of Rigoletto). His tone of voice, so dramatically attuned, brings a great deal of that necessary flawed humanity to the role of Boccanegra. Ferruccio Furlanetto is of course one of the great Verdi basses of our time and it's particularly wonderful to watch two such fine performers and voices complement each other so well in this rival roles. Their Act III 'Piango, perché me parla' is absolutely stunning. Harteros sings Maria/Amelia well - as you would expect - but I didn't get the same sense of father/daughter chemistry that existed when Domingo was paired with Marina Poplavskaya for the Covent Garden production of this opera the same year.
It's not just experience that is required either on the part of the singers, but rather the ability of Domingo, Furlanetto and Harteros to inhabit their characters and give them a deeply human sense of expression through their delivery that ultimately lifts this production above being merely a faithful and appropriate treatment to one that explores the intriguing potential of the opera, with all its fascinating flaws and contradictions. The Blu-ray release from Arthaus presents the production exceptionally well, with a clear, sharp full-HD image, and two sound mixes in LPCM stereo and DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1 that are superbly detailed and toned. There are no extra features on the disc, and only a brief essay on the opera and the production in the enclosed booklet. A synopsis to explain the historical context of the opera's setting would have been useful, but I imagine you can find that on line somewhere if necessary. The Blu-ray is region-free, BD25, 1080i, subtitles are in Italian, English, German, French, Spanish and Korean.
I had thought this sort of thing doesn't happen at La Scala. But, alas, they are not immune.
If one is dying to hear Domingo sing baritone (and he does so very well) ... there are at least two other productions on DVD.
Musically and sonically the DVD is faultless, beautiful in fact. But we come back to the same issue: if it's a DVD, it's meant to be seen. And if one likes traditional productions, this won't cut it.
La Scala did a nice job staging this opera, and I really liked the orchestra under Daniel Barenboim.
The opera has a Shakespearean tragedy feel to it, and high point to me is the duet in the last act between Domingo and Furlanetto that sort of echoes the Commandetore and Don Giovanni. This is the best Verdi opera I have ever seen. There are no extras, but there is interesting information in the booklet that comes with the disc.
Five stars and highest recommendation.
The one negative that took me by surprise had to do with the camera angles and continual cutting in from close-up to pulled-back view in the later portions of the 2nd act. This choppiness was totally unnecessary and detracted from the production on video as a whole.
That being said, this is a remarkable performance and is certainly a worthwhile addition to this opera lovers collection.
this incredible heart-warming Verdi opera. It is a relief to discover a story that is not silly
and irrelevant, but rather moral, admirable and very worthwhile. Bravo to all concerned!!!