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Il Trovatore [Blu-ray] [Import]

José Cura , Dmitri Hvorostovsky , Brian Large    NR (Not Rated)   Blu-ray
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 47.99
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To-Die-For Trovatore Nov. 22 2003
I've seen some dull, lack-luster Trovs, but this one was truly engaging. At last we have a Manrico who looks and acts like the gypsy boy he's supposed to be. Cura is unmatched in this interpretation. This looser character is real at last. I blead with him all the way down the maelstorm that was his life.
Hovorostovsky, singing like a God, he makes you wonder why Leonora would prefer an unkept gypsy boy to him. I'm usually bored with the gypsy Mama, but Naef made me watch every line like I'd never heard it before. These singers were totally into the story and they carried me along with them.
Watching this DVD made me wish I'd bought a ticket, flew to London and seen the real thing, live on the stage.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By R. Nicholson TOP 500 REVIEWER
A truly wonderful rendition of Verdi's tragic opera.
This presentation is from the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden with conductor Carlo Rizzi and is performed before a live audience. The stars of this opera are Jose Cura (Manrico), Dmitri Hvorostovsky (Count di Luna), Yvonne Naef (Azucena) and Veronica Villarroel (Leonora).
The casting superb; the acting is committed and as passionate as anyone could wish for in this dramatic work by Verdi. The voice qualities are superior for all the principals with the characters of Hvorostovsky and Villarroel leading the way.
The loss of one star (really 1/2 star if it was available) in my rating was as a result of a few things that niggled me during the performance ... for instance
-The sets, although well done, (and undoubtedly a lot of time and effort went into their construction) were cold and grim in their appearance: then add to this, the effect of the darkness of nighttime scenes and you had an opera where it seemed impossible to find a ray of brightness throughout the entire work.
-The only subtitled language on the DVD is English. It would have been nice to at least to have the option of following the opera in Italian.
-And finally (and a really picky point here) but one I feel obliged to mention because once I noticed this, I just could not get the idea out of my mind: that being, the officers costume worn by Count di Luna reminded me of something that would be seen on the doorman of a fancy New York hotel. I'm sorry, but I just had to get that out.
All in all a solid Il Trovatore. To me, there were a few minor distractions, but the great acting and singing would allow me to highly recommend this work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well acted, action packed production Jan. 1 2004
By A Customer
This DVD is aimed at visual affect as Hollywood version. I had some problem with Moshinsky's direction who is a Verdi specialist. But all casts were impressively well acted as well as great singing. As Cura and Hvorostovsky were saying during the rehearsals, it's extremely difficult to sing while swashbuckling. This was 1st act's great ending trio. Normally they just stood still to forcused on singing, but this time they made great effort to making it believable connection to 2nd act by Manrico had a chance to kill Count di Luna but hesitated and the Count took advantage to hurt Manrico instead. I have to give 5 stars just for that. Trovatore is a everybody's all time favorite Verdi opera. I'd say the best Manrico was late Franco Corelli and the best Count di Luna was Ettore Bastianini. I don't think any other singers can surpass them but Cura and Hvorostovsky came pretty close. Though their cabaletta(Il balen and Di quella Pira)were cut short. I wouldn't trade Hvorostovsky's Count di Luna for any other but it's hard to believe Leonora mistaking him for Cura's Manrico even in the dark. They don't hardly resemble to be the blood brothers. The time setting is in the middle of 19th Century instead of original medieval time, so the powdered gun was used to execute Manrico. One scene I resented was assault on Azucena in 3rd act. It was disturbing and unnessesary for the great singing of ensemble scene but I still give 5 stars. This is my favorite Trovatore. Extra features of interviews and back ground parts are interesting as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great voices, weird staging Sept. 17 2003
By Rosomax
Indeed, the principals are ideally cast here. Dmitri Hvorostovsky's suave, evil, yet somehow still-human Count nearly steals the show. He's far superior to all the Counts recorded. Jose Cura gives a believable performance as Manrico, even though he pays more attention to acting than to music. For instance, "Ah si, ben mio" is a bit choppy in sound, but acted out very well.
I really enjoyed Veronica Villaroel's Leonora. Like Cura, she put more emphasis on acting, but she managed some of the most difficult music with excellent artistry and skill. Brava!
Yvonne Naef looked and sang an ideal Azucena.
What kept distracting me was the staging. First of all, it looks like late 19th century Italy (vs. Austria), making Leonora's Tale D'Amor (a knight with an unmarked shield came, etc) along with many other story details quite improbable. Ferrando has a shaved head and looks too young to remember the events of the old days passed. Now, for the ugly:
1. When Azucena is captured, the "warriors" nearly rape (!) her onstage. This is inappropriate for Verdi's delicate, highly melodious music. Neither works the scene when Leonora and Manrico are in some sort of hay stack (okay, call me a purist but I thought it was low brow theater).
2. The strange sabre (schlager) dueling (the producers made a big fuss about it) does not add any value. The "fighters" look like made-up ballet dancers of some sort, they're wearing leather trappings more appropriate for a cult dance club they way Hollywood depicts them). Either include some real sabre or foil fencing or don't bother with "authentications" of this sort.
3. During the famous Anvil chorus, I surely did not see any anvils. (And Manrico smoked a cigar!)
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