For the last few years I have been very satisfied with the Metropolitan Opera House's version of Nabucco starring Maria Guleghina, Samuel Ramey, Juan Pons and others. It has excellent performances with great audio and video but, unfortunately, was recorded too early to be in high definition or wide-screen format. Looking around for a replacement I saw this one from the Opernfestspiele St. Margareten, which had a couple of good reviews and seemed to meet my criteria. Certainly the still photographs of the stage-set in the quarry that I saw on the Internet met my demands for a spectacular account of this grand scale work. Unfortunately, once again the rest of the disk did not live up to my expectations. The faults lie in a number of areas but one that I found particularly disturbing was the video director constantly zooming in and out to show the entire width of the stage set with the audience seated in front, as though he was trying to prove this was a large scale production and that we needed to be reminded of it every ten minutes or so. It more or less made it impossible to get involved with the action on the stage.
Secondly, although the lighting was admirable in illuminating such a huge area with a variety of different light sources, some concealed and others in full view, the fact that the set remained unchanged (except for lighting) throughout the entire performance, got to be somewhat boring. As this was a serious historical opera, and not a pop show, I felt that the inclusion of a laser light show was totally incongruous and absolutely unnecessary. The choreography of the huge forces involved, also left much to be desired. They trouped on stage from all directions whenever the chorus was needed, certainly no subtlety here. Although others seem to be pleased with the performance of Gabriella Morigi as Abigaille, I thought her voice was very harsh and coarse and, as a great deal of the opera is centered on her, very disappointing.
Considering this was an outside venue the sound quality was not too bad, but obviously quite inferior to that in an opera house. I would suggest that the main purpose of the DVD is as a souvenir for those people who were actually present for the live performance.