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Verdi: Il Trovatore (Live Recording From The Vienna State Opera 1978) [DVD] [2011]

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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  • Verdi: Il Trovatore (Live Recording From The Vienna State Opera 1978) [DVD] [2011]
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Product details

  • Directors: Herbert Von Karajan, Raina Kabaivanska
  • Format: AC-3, Classical, Colour, Dolby, DVD-Video, PAL, Subtitled
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Arthaus
  • DVD Release Date: 18 Jan. 2010
  • Run Time: 151 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002YOJBYG
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 96,361 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

'Il Trovatore' was always one of Herbert von Karajan's favourite operas. This 1978 performance is steeped in scandal. Franco Bonisolli was originally cast in the lead role but abandoned the cast during a rehearsal where the public had been admitted entry, throwing his sword at the conductor and leaving the stage in fury, to be later replaced by Placido Domingo.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

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I would class this production of Il Trovatore, conducted and stage directed by Herbert von Karajan, at the Vienna State Opera theatre, as an all time great, which, in the first instance, benefits from clever staging that inspires the imagination rather than 'going over the top' in a mistaken effort to be realistic. The costumes are also well designed and evocative of the period in question. Opera is all about the dramatic manipulation of the human voice in an orchestral setting. Everything else about it needs to be in harmony with these basic essentials. If the action-singing is taking place in a forest glade, then, although no real trees or bushes are displayed, a forest glade is suggested and the actor will not be portrayed singing in front of a kitchen sink. Some operas lend themselves to being filmed on location, but we are not on location here and the staging is perfect for the 'job in hand'.

At the beginning of Act One Jose Van Dam sets the tone of what's to come with a rousing performance in the role of Fernando, Captain of the Guard telling the story of the kidnap of the Count of Luna's infant brother. Raina Kabalvanska is a convincing Lenora caught between her two lovers: Il Conte di Luna (Piero Cappuccilli) and the troubadour Manrico (Placido Domingo), both of whom give outstanding performances. In fact, the performances of all those involved are of the highest quality and Florenza Cossotto is outstanding in the role of the gipsy Azucena. The scene outside the convent, where Leonora is about to take the veil because she thinks Manrico is dead, is particularly well staged, not least in that it avoids the temptation to 'over-nun' the episode with a gratuitous procession outside the convent gates. As throughout the whole performance, the choir is superb.
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Domingo was not yet 40 in 1978 when this performance took place; his recorded "Trovatore" with Mehta (arguably still the best on CD) was almost ten years in the past. One feels here that his voice has grown into the role -- I can't imagine it being better sung, both musically and expressively. That's not to say that I can't imagine another great voice (say Corelli at his best) making an even more striking impression, but by any standard this is great singing, and within the limits of the production, fine acting. The limits of the production are not really terribly disabling -- it's a bit static, and some of the stage business is awkward (the scene at the convent was particularly sticky, I thought), but the sets are nicely rendered in a painterly way, and if the singing were not as strong as it is, the static quality of the production would bother me more. And the quality of the singing is excellent, not just from Domingo. Kabaivanska's Leonora is not as rich and voluptuous as Price's but it is secure from top to bottom, well-focussed, and expressive. It doesn't hurt that she looks good in the role. Di Luna is not a role I associated with Cappuccilli, but he provides a great account of it here. One can remember Bastianini's black baritone, but (as with Domingo vis-a-vis Corelli) one can't fault Cappuccilli's singing or expression. Some reviewers complain that the pacing by Karajan is too slow; the only place where it registered on me as slow was in "Il balen," and the tempo proved no problem for Cappuccilli with his wonderful breath control, and he gave a lovely account of it. Jose Van Dam was a superb Ferrando -- again not a dark voice, but beautifully projected.Read more ›
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This was thoroughly enjoyable and absolutely first- rate, musically, visually and dramatically. What else can I say except that it's a must-have for any collection.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x89de4a8c) out of 5 stars 9 reviews
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x89bcb3e4) out of 5 stars BEST TROVATORE ON DVD !!! 14 April 2011
By Anthony Rossi - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Great Cast and Production! I had the old 2004 DVD pressing but there were too many problems. This 2010 pressing is excellent...better video and audio. You will NEVER see a cast like this ever again!!!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x89bcb390) out of 5 stars a bit static but splendidly sung 28 Jan. 2014
By Stanley Crowe - Published on Amazon.com
Domingo was not yet 40 in 1978 when this performance took place; his recorded "Trovatore" with Mehta (arguably still the best on CD) was almost ten years in the past. One feels here that his voice has grown into the role -- I can't imagine it being better sung, both musically and expressively. That's not to say that I can't imagine another great voice (say Corelli at his best) making an even more striking impression, but by any standard this is great singing, and within the limits of the production, fine acting. The limits of the production are not really terribly disabling -- it's a bit static, and some of the stage business is awkward (the scene at the convent was particularly sticky, I thought), but the sets are nicely rendered in a painterly way, and if the singing were not as strong as it is, the static quality of the production would bother me more. And the quality of the singing is excellent, not just from Domingo. Kabaivanska's Leonora is not as rich and voluptuous as Price's but it is secure from top to bottom, well-focussed, and expressive. It doesn't hurt that she looks good in the role. Di Luna is not a role I associated with Cappuccilli, but he provides a great account of it here. One can remember Bastianini's black baritone, but (as with Domingo vis-a-vis Corelli) one can't fault Cappuccilli's singing or expression. Some reviewers complain that the pacing by Karajan is too slow; the only place where it registered on me as slow was in "Il balen," and the tempo proved no problem for Cappuccilli with his wonderful breath control, and he gave a lovely account of it. Jose Van Dam was a superb Ferrando -- again not a dark voice, but beautifully projected. Most of all, Fiorenza Cossotto was an unforgettable Azucena -- thinking of her performance, one can see why Verdi considered naming the opera for the gypsy. The singing is stunning and intense, and the physically static quality of so much of the production does not in the least impair her communicative power. This is a gypsy who can scare the hell out of you. All in all, then, this is just wonderful. I don't have any other Trovatores on DVD for comparison (yet), but I can't believe that I will ever think badly of this one.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x89cf6af8) out of 5 stars Very pleased 13 Sept. 2012
By Ricardo - Published on Amazon.com
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I really enjoyed this version of Il Trovatore. Although the production is old (1978)and the video format is too narrow the recording is quite good. The singers and direction are first quality although the acting of Capuccilli is too stiff.
I recommend it.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x89b53120) out of 5 stars A wonderful production. 5 Mar. 2013
By Boz - Published on Amazon.com
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Placido Domingo and Fiorenza Cossotto are brilliant. Raina Kabaivanska sings beautifully and is a good actress. The chorus is good and the orchestra under the great von Karajan plays brilliantly. This is a classic performance of a classic opera by Verdi.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x89a21dbc) out of 5 stars A GOOD TROVATORE, BUT NO LONGER THE BEST. 14 Jun. 2015
By Indiana Opera Buff - Published on Amazon.com
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Domingo is in luscious voice, though he cuts Di Quella Pira short. Raina Kabaivanska begins in poor voice, with a hard edge. It does improve somewhat, but she is the weak link here, not Cappuccilli, who is adequate. I have never been a Cossotto fan, but she does a fine job as Azucena, except for the toll the years have taken on her instrument. The bass is mediocre, but his part is not large. I have a recording of Kabaivanska just two years prior to this and she sounds fine. Perhaps she was just getting over a cold, but she should have canceled because it ruins what would have been an excellent video. Speaking of video, the picture quality looks like they just transferred a poor VHS tape to DVD. Very bad. The recently recorded Trovatore with Marcelo Alvarez is better all around, and with superb HD quality. The soprano is its weak link as well, but she is better than Kabaivanska.
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