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Verdi;Giuseppe Il Trovatore [Import]


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Amazon.com: 5 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
'Trovatore' Held Hostage by Egomaniac Director and Set Designer Oct. 18 2007
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Are European audiences so jaded by traditional productions of operas in the standard repertoire that they have to have more and more bizarre productions to satisfy them? Was the audience at the 2005 Bregenz Festival so ignorant of the plot of 'Il trovatore' that they applauded spectacular stage effects that completely ignored the narrative line of the opera? Whatever the case, this production by director Robert Carsen is a disaster. It is set on Bregenz's floating stage (in Lake Constance) with a huge multistory set designed to look like a petrochemical plant painted blood red (symbolic, eh?) and spouting fire frequently at every possible location on the set (something about petrochemicals and global warming?). Impressive though all this be visually -- and even there it becomes boring after awhile -- it is completely irrelevant to a plot about gypsies in 15th-century Spain. The convent scene takes place at a petrochemical plant? When Ferrando, in his narrative at the beginning of Act I, asks his fellows to gather around he is several stories up on this monstrous set while his listeners are a good forty feet below him. Gather around? Sprout wings and gather around?

I could to some degree ignore all this if this were a smashingly effective musical performance of the opera. But it's not. The singers are merely OK. The tenor, Carl Tanner as Manrico, starts out with a bellow and a wobble; he does get better by the time 'Ah si, ben mio' comes around. But what's he doing carrying a Kalashnikov? Is that standard issue for troubadors? The Leonore, Iano Tamar, who arrives on the set in a fancy limousine and wearing a slinky party dress, sings her opening 'Tacea la notte placida ... Di tale amor' with a passable spinto soprano but without a trill or terribly accurate coloratura. Count di Luna, sung by Serbian baritone Zeljko Lucic, is considerably better. And his acting is fairly good. The Azucena, Marianne Cornetti, is quite good both musically and dramatically. The Ferrando is a vocal cipher. But as I say, one could ignore the stupid production if this were a world-class musical performance with five top-drawer singers. It is not.

So, if you're interested in a very strange take on this opera, this DVD might be for you. But it certainly is not a candidate for anyone who doesn't already own three or four other videos of the work and is seeking a fresh look. Frankly Robert Carsen's work occasionally delights me, sometimes puzzles me, and sometimes infuriates me. This time it's the latter.

Scott Morrison
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Take a chance on this Il Trovatore Jan. 12 2011
By Toni Bernhard - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I bought this DVD with reservations, but I wanted to see a recent production of Il Trovatore so it would look good on my HDTV. I generally don't like updated settings for operas and this one takes place at a modern petrol plant with fire spouting all around. In addition, it was filmed outdoors at the Bregenzer Festival and the sound quality on DVDs filmed outdoors is usually poor.

To my surprise and delight, I was riveted throughout. The stage is built on a boat in Lake Constance in Austria. The audience sits on dry land. (I couldn't figure out where the orchestra was; I even googled the name of the festival to try to get a better look at the setting but still couldn't find the orchestra.) The director made good use of the surrounding waters, having several scenes start or end with the characters climbing into a motorboat and speeding away. I've never seen anything like it. There was a sense of realism to the whole production that, oddly, fit the implausible plot of this opera. Maybe it was because fire looms large as a major theme in Il Trovatore and so it didn't matter if it was the fire of a petrol plant or of a gypsy camp.

Of course, all this creative staging would not matter if the performances were poor. But they were not. With the exception of the baritone, Zeljko Lucic (as di Luna) the leads are not top-tier stars. But they did a fine job. Marianne Cornetti has a wonderfully full mezzo voice and captured Azucena's suffering well, if not particularly making the role her own. As Leonora, Iano Tamar was strongly committed to the character. She sang "D'amor sull'ali rosee" with great expressiveness, making up for her occasional strain to reach a high note. Carl Tanner as Manrico got stronger as the opera progressed. His "Ah si, ben mio" was rich and full. The final scene with Manrico, Azucena, and Leonora was beautifully executed both musically and in the use of the massive petrol factory set. The fire glistening in the waters of the lake at the end was thrilling (and chilling).

The sound quality was excellent because the singers have mics over their ears. Purists may object (and I'm often a purist myself), but in this outdoor setting it was worth the trade-off because it made the sound quality that of a CD recording.

This pleasantly surprised lover of Il Trovatore is happy to give the production four stars and would give it four and a half if that were an option!
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Well worth seeing Jan. 10 2008
By Barry J. James - Published on Amazon.com
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After reading Scott Morrison's very detailed review I was somewhat skeptical about purchasing this work. I trust Mr. Morrison's opinions and always check to see what he has written before making any purchase. However, in this instance I must beg to differ with the impression that his review creates. I have owned for some time the Opus Arte Royal Opera House Covent Garden version of the same opera which has, as expected, several very big name opera stars and a fine orchestra. This is very different from the Bregenz Festspiele version where the only person who might be known is the stage director Robert Carsen. As `Opera' the Covent Garden version rates (IMHO) 4 stars; but in terms of `Entertainment' the work would struggle to get 2 or 3 stars. This newest Opus Arte recording is completely the opposite. As `Opera' there is much that I am in agreement with Mr. Morrison; the unknown singers may not be world-class and there are anachronisms with the updating of the work that do not entirely work and, for this, his rating is reasonably fair. However, as `Entertainment,' this open air version has excitement, spectacle, color, movement, special effects and so much more that are easily worth a 5 star rating, in fact I wish I could award it more. Considering this takes place in a vast open air setting, the orchestra and singers are reasonably well recorded, even as they traverse a very uneven stage area and climb precarious metal ladders. There is always much to see and the action never seems to stop. For anyone who is prepared to take a small step outside of a typical opera house performance, they will be well rewarded acquiring this version. On balance, I would suggest that an overall 4 star rating would be much more appropriate for the performance on this DVD.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Without any thought Oct. 26 2013
By Per Arne Rudberg - Published on Amazon.com
I don't mind when an opera is done in a "modern" setting. But then there must be an idea behind it.
This time there is no thought at all. The opera is happening despite the setting.
The acting is awful as some of the singing. The singing is good for Luna and ok for Azucena. Maybe Leonora could be accepted as well. But Manrico is really below acceptable.
I know that the acting in this weird opera is extremely difficult, but the singers need to be able to do more than walk into "singing positions".

And one more thing - all the candles and the cigarette at the oil rig is just stupid! No thought! None at all!
The musical part - nicely done March 25 2013
By Mary Fly - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Can't say much for the staging, but the singers and the orchestra were certainly up to snuff. This is one of my favorites operatically. And of course I dearly love Verdi. Enjoyed it -- several times.


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