Top positive review
26 people found this helpful
Superb production of rare stage work in a fine Blu-ray presentation
on 17 January 2012
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:
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.