Forza is one of Verdi's most inconsistant pieces, a mixture of wonderful with awful. The sprawling nature of the score and the large cast has perhaps kept it from being performed as much as some of the other Verdi Staples. The Met production, which one would expect would be the benchmark, was sadly let down by Miss Price though it had many other good things. This production, from 2007, conducted by the venerable Zubin Mehta, is basically sabotaged by the entire cast in spite of some interesting staging. Urmana as Leonora is not believable but to be fair she gives it her all. She has a large plummy voice but like most such instruments her's tends to get wobbly. She is a large woman who looks too much like she would put anybody who opposed her in their place in short order. Alvaro is much too old to do daring things like abduct his sweetheart, he also sounds too old, unfortunately. In addition he is wooden. If he was given any stage direction, he did not use it. Father Guardiano is wooley and Preciosilla is wobbly although attractive enough. Melitone, who is usually sung by a large buffa, is in this performance a small imp of a man and he quite steals the show. One thing in its favor is that I think some traditional cuts were opened up in this performance. But this new Forza can only considered a stopgap until the real thing comes along.
The most interesting Forza I have seen was a pirate tape from La Scala conducted by Muti. The Leonora was very young and vulnerable so that one empathized more with her plight. This cast also included Leo Nucci and Jose Cura, the latter being dashing enough to act in the impetuous ways of Alvaro. The La Scala sets and staging were also very interesting. Perhaps one day an enterprising company will release this version.