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Zandonai: Francesca Da Rimini: Metropolitan Opera (Renata Scotto) [DVD] [2007]

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Frequently bought together

  • Zandonai: Francesca Da Rimini: Metropolitan Opera (Renata Scotto) [DVD] [2007]
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Product details

  • Writers: Zandonai
  • Format: AC-3, Classical, Colour, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, DVD-Video, PAL, Subtitled
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: Italian, German, English, French, Chinese
  • Dubbed: Chinese, English, French, German, Spanish
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Universal Classics & Jazz
  • DVD Release Date: 16 July 2007
  • Run Time: 150 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000PC1N40
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 93,344 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

Riccardo Zandonai's 1914 opera performed by a cast of three acclaimed singing actors - Renata Scotto, Placido Domingo, and Cornell MacNeil who bring the medieval characters to life in this production, filmed at the Metropolitan Opera in 1984. This opera is a prime example of the lush musical style of the late Romantic era, conducted here by James Levine.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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Zandonai was only 18 when Verdi died and he lived for twenty years after Puccini's death, but Francesca da Rimini, his only operatic success which premiered in 1914, is far more like Verdi than like Puccini. It could readily pass for a middle period Verdi opera. Only in the final duet of the last scene does the music approach the romantic and melodic intensity of Puccini. Nevertheless this is an excellent opera, melodic, dramatic and very well orchestrated. It is given the best possible production in this 1984 performance from the Metropolitan Opera. The sets and costumes are lavish and the cast is simply unbeatable. It is unlikely that this performance will ever be equalled let alone surpassed. Not only are the three main principals superb singers but they are all excellent actors, making this a hugely satisying performance both musically and dramatically. Renata Scotto sings and performs wonderfully as always in an almost ideal role for her as Francesca. Her fabulous voice is full and rich and there is hardly any of the upper range roughness which occasionally occurs in her performances. This is vintage Scotto and she is matched by an equally brilliant Domingo both vocally and dramatically. They work wonderfully well together and this chemistry between the pair is the core around which this immensely satisfying performance revolves. Add to this the raw savagery and malevolence that Cornell MacNeil brings to the role of Francesca's husband Gianciotto Malatesta and the casting is perfect. MacNeil is also vocally excellent and commanding in one of his finest recorded roles on DVD. The supporting cast are also excellent, in the small role of Smaragdi the young Isola Jones brings a wonderfully rich vocal contribution and clearly shows her future potential.Read more ›
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In company with so many nearly forgotten composers, Riccardo Zandonai is remembered nowadays for only one single work which on occasions tends to be dismissed by critics as an attempt to emulate a dramatic tragedy by the eternally popular Giuseppe Verdi. Such a description is manifestly unfair although the plotline does include one of the hallmarks associated with that famous composer being that of an unfortunate heroine at the centre of a complex vortex of family intrigue. In this case the hapless soprano provides the love interest for each of three brothers including a crippled husband (Gianciotto), a requited passion for the most handsome (Paolo) and finally the villainous attentions of the youngest (Malatestino).

Set at a time of continuous warfare in Italy, Francesca, for political/dynastic reasons, is obliged to marry Gianciotto but falls immediately in love with the far more attractive Paolo, sent by his brother to conclude the marriage contract. Her misfortunes are further complicated by the undesired attentions of Malatestino, who, furious at his rejection, plants seeds of doubt during a dramatic confrontation with the cuckold Gianciotto. In a final furious denouement the ill-fated lovers are discovered together by Gianciotto with the inevitable tragic consequence.

Spearheaded by a great performance, this 1984 production, under the baton of James Levine and preserved on film by the very experienced Brian Large, is a great and enduring success. In addition to a cast of fine singers this traditional production is very well staged. Pleasures for the eye include three beautifully furnished apartments for Francesca, a fortified castle and a cleverly executed battle.
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What a pity so few people know about this opera which has some lovely and unusual music, and above all this performance of it.
Everyone involved did so brilliantly, from the make up, stage- set and costumes, to the less major roles.
There is I think a certain black humour about this story, and the two ugly Malatesta brothers ( sung by Cornell Mc Neil and Wm Lewis) were absolutely brilliant(complete with grunts, club and axe swinging and bad table manners!).

Above all I can't praise highly enough the extremely high octane performance of Domingo and Scotto; I couldnt imagine this performed by anyonne else.
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An excellent production from the Met and very well sung. A somewhat odd story and musically not in the same class as Verdi at his best, but it still had two wonderful and passionate love duets.
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