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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
76 of 77 people found the following review helpful
A REALLY GOOD SHOWAug. 1 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
This Met production of Verdi's "Nabucco" finds that dear old "Metropolitan Institution" at the top of its form delivering a wonderfully exciting operatic production; one that is filled with HUGE sets and brilliant colors. This stage production has some astounding visuals including massive staircases, columns (on a revolving stage) and giant statues (idols) plus at one point half the stage is set on fire. Added to all of the aforesaid there is some wonderful singing from a superlative cast as well as marvelous and heartfelt singing from the chorus. The orchestra, under Levine, (as expected) plays marvelously. Levine keeps the proceedings moving along very well. I was never made aware that Nabucco is rather immature Verdi. Having followed Samuel Ramey's career from his very early days, I was somewhat saddened, at first, to hear and to see him sounding and looking rather old realizing that indeed time had slipped away. However, once his voice warmed up and he discarded some unflattering costumes, he sounded and looked as if not too much time had gone away delivering his usual sonorous bass tones. Juan Pons has never been a particular favorite of mine; however his singing of Nabucco is awe inspiring portraying the character believably while delivering a full rich sound. After all, there aren't too many of the heroic Verdian Baritones hanging around opera houses' stage doors these days! So I was very impressed with Juan! A fearless Maria Guleghina tackles that voice-killer role of Abigaille with much nerve and sings it very well. She displays no trills and not the greatest floritura; however, she lets fly with many astounding high C's at one moment then plummeting into the lower depths the next-brava! I guess we really can't have everything in this role for it is really impossible to sing well. (Callas dropped it early in her zenith later advising Caballe not to even think of singing it) Gwyn Hoghes-Jones as Ismaele and Wendy White as Fenena are also very good displaying rich full voices. If you want to see and hear opera at its most exciting do not hesitate to buy this DVD. (By the way, the picture and sound qualities are great!)
40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
At last released...the best Nabucco availableMarch 18 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
I wrote this review in spanish first, then i translated to english for respect for most users. As it follows:
I was thinking on rating this DVD with 4 stars. The reason? Juan Pons. He's a great baritone, with a deep strong voice. But on stage is terrible. I have this idea since i saw him the last year as Rigoletto at the Met. I feel that he's the less brilliant of all principals, and his bad acting, make us lose much information about his character. Nabucco, on the opera, goes trough arrogancy, ,madness, etc. It's really important that the singer will be able to portray this emotions and to exprese them. Pons satisfies only the musical part, not the characterization, as maybe is more important on DVD.
However, the DVD deserves 5 stars because the performance is amazing. Levine, conducts in an intimistic manner, but with energy and dynamism. As well the chorus, another character by itself in the opera, gives us great pleasure troughout their different moments. Even that "encore" of "Va, pensiero", something unprecedented in the Met, is totally justified. Considering that this opera, and this part on particular, was seen here jus a few times. The sound and acting of the chorus is great.
Maria Guleghina, awesome! She's so a strong woman, ideal to portray women like Tosca, Lady Macbeth, Odabella, or Abigaille of course. Able to sing those dangerous notes, specially on the scene of the second act. She gives the character the personality required. Those things made her an excellent and top of the line performer. Sometimes out of pitch, as many say, but never ruining the interpretation. I think is her style and is not necessarily disturbing. I had the chance to see her performing Lady Macbeth, and i noticed that, then I heard Nabucco by radio, and enjoyed the same effect.
Samuel Ramey creates again a great Zaccaria. His convincing performance and his voice make this Zaccaria a perfect role for him. Two big surprises are Gwyn Hoghes-Jones as Ismaele and Wendy White as Fenena. Two great discoveries, wouldn't be better.
The production of Elijah Moshinsky and John Napier is elegant and dynamic. Using contrasts of lightning to create nice pictures for each scene.
Yo pensaba calificar este dvd con 4 estrellas. La razón: Juan Pons. Para mi, el es un magnífico barítono, excelente voz, potente y grave. Pero en escena es un fiasco. Esta idea me la hice cuando lo ví el año pasado haciendo Rigoletto en el Met. Luego, cuando supe que este gran esperado Nabucco salía en DVD con él en el papel principal, estuve un poco escéptico por eso. Siento que es el menos brillante del conjunto, y su mala actuación nos hace perder mucha información. Nabucco debe pasar por varios estados, soberbia, locura, entre otras. Eso es muy importante y no se debe obviar. Pons no esta a la altura del personaje. Sólo lo está musicalmente, pero esto no es un disco...
Como sea, le pongo 5 estrellas porque, definitivamente, la energia que se percibe en esta performance es única. La razón? No sólo la impecable dirección de Levine, quien sabe darle un toque natural y relajado, pero dinámico, a la ejecución de la orquesta; también el Coro, quien, como un personaje mas de la ópera, nos conmueve y lleva al clímax en sus diferentes pasajes. Ni que decir del bis de "Va Pensiero", algo no visto antes en el Met, pero perfectamente justificado. Pues, la mayoría de personas de este coro tan estupendo quizá nunca antes la había cantado en este teatro. Impecable el sonido y actuación.
Maria Guleghina, impecable. La presencia de esta mujer la ayuda a interpretar papeles fuertes, como Tosca, Lady Macbeth, y Abigaille por supuesto. Pero esa voz que tiene, tan ágil para jugar peligrosamente con las notas, casi mortales, de la partitura, además de la potencia de la voz, que inunda los teatros, la coloca en primera línea de las sopranos actuales. Si bien algunos lectores aqui tienen ciertas objeciones, yo recomendaría conocerla más, además de conocer mejor al personaje de Abigaille. Quien conoce a Guleghina, sabe que ella juega con la orquesta, saliendo de tiempo a veces, pero nunca desmejorando la interpretación. Cuando la vi como Lady Macbeth, tuve la misma impresión, pero al escucharla en Nabucco por radio luego, confirmé ese estilo. Samuel Ramey aporta de buena manera pues, no solo su porte actoral convence, sino la franqueza y belleza de su voz, que encaja como anillo al dedo al personaje de Zaccaria. Dos gratísimas sorpresas son Gwyn Hughes-Jones como Ismaele, y Wendy White como Fenena. Voces que dan un tremendo aporte al conjunto, no hubieran podido ser mejores.
La puesta de Elijah Moshinsky y John Napier es elegante, dinámica, y, aunque tradicional, bastante estilizada. Jugando con una buena iluminación y contrastes de luz que crean postales de cada escena.
40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
THE MIGHTY MET PRODUCES A CLASSICMay 27 2005
Charles D. novak
- Published on Amazon.com
What DVD were some of the amazon critics watching? I saw this production at the Met and have since watched it twice on DVD and find it to be a truly historic Metropolitan Opera experience. The entire cast gets into their rolls with a frenzy seldom seen on the opera stage. The Met production out does their massive sets for AIDA, which I've also seen on the Met stage. Levine has the orchestra eating out of his hand and the singers/chorus are with him every note of the way.
Without any hesitation or reservations buy this DVD and go off into opera heaven!
26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
StunningJune 8 2005
Beverly Bower II
- Published on Amazon.com
Contrary to the very poor review given by other(s), I, being a singer myself was blown away by the live 2005 production of this opera and it is excellently recaptured in this DVD. Having grown up on the stage of the Met for 5 years in the children's chorus,the daughter of reputable classical musicians, and the godmother of a diva who graced the stages of the Met, City Opera, and La Scala in the 60's, great opera has been a part of my life from the beginning. THIS is great opera. Guleghina may slip a pitch once in a while, but popping out one fearsome high C after another is no easy feat. The chorus gives one of the better performances I've ever heard them do in the "Va pensiero," that ends in a near impeccable pianissimo, garnering the now traditional cry of "Viva Italiana" followed by an encore. Embodying great Italian literature, Verdi's masterpiece is done great justice, despite a note here or there. To those who may not agree, I only suggest that you try singing it.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
It doesn't get much betterAug. 18 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
I didn't even bother to read the reviews of less than 5 stars. This performance is the Met at its best, Levine at the top of his form, and one has to wonder if, in Verdi's lifetime, it was ever performed this well.
Its other dvd version, from La Scala, is stodgy and plodding; this performance moves with the winds of freedom that were just beginning to blow through Italia of the time.
Disclosure: I wept during Va pensiero...that never happened before...and I wept during the encore (I can't remember another Met encore in my day)...the Metropolitan Opera Chorus should be counted amongst the wonders of the world.
So, whoever found something to object to, I leave them to their spleen. I had a grand time and a Big Fat Bronx Cheer to those who didn't.