This is a production from the Wiener Staatsoper in 2001. The Cast is notable, with big stars combined with new talents: Leo Nucci, Maria Guleghina, Marina DOmashenko, Giacomo Prestia. Fabio Luisi conducting the Wiener Staatsoper orchestra.
This version is set on the 20th century, very in the style of Robert Wilson's productions. Blues and grays predominant on the scene. Absence of scenery, replaced with some elements, and the chorus that fills the stage.
The direction of Luisi is superb. His tempi are fast and precise, and surprises with new balances and texture in the orchestration we haven't heard in previous recordings. First class direction here.
Leo Nucci is the main atraction here. Being kinda overacting sometimes (part of his style this latest years) he evokes and performs the real way how Nabucco changes from narcisistic to religious and follower of an enemy's religion. The Acting in the last two acts are 5 stars and very rich.
Maria Guleghina performs a good Abigaille, full of force and histrionical voice. But we don't understand at any point in the opera if she is a warrior or a symbolic assyrian, because shes wearing the same long dress troughout all the acts of the opera.
Giacomo Prestia as Zaccaria is a great discovery for me. Beautiful and fresh voice, and agile look, renews my idea of this portrayal. Compared with this DVD, the Ramey's Zaccaria in the Met's version.
Marina Domashenko is a very stylish Fenena. Big and beautiful voice. Pleasant surprise finding her in this role. The Ismaele is sang by a regular repertoire tenor, not exciting at all.
The production invokes the holocaust. We see the hebrews dressed like jews before being taken to the concentration camps. But the Nazi figure is absent here. I don;t understand the real figure of the Assyrians here.
Also, this production is full of symbols that more than enrich the story, are very distracting and doesn't help to understand the essence of the drama.
In short, the idea on setting the story in the past century is very attractive, but wasted in the middle.
The TV direction is very amateur. Do not help to understand the production, and focuses on first shots that are unnecesary, like, at the finale of act one,where the camera is stucked on fenena for long time, when the whole cast is relevant and neccesary to see.
The sound deserves 5 stars, excellent!
Anyways, even with this lacks i mentioned, this is a exciting version of the opera with maybe the best Nabucco and Abigaille of the last years: Nucci and Guleghina.