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Zandonai;Riccardo Francesca Da

Renata Scotto , Cornell MacNeil , Placido Domingo , Piero Faggioni    Unrated   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Met puts best foot forward Aug. 7 2002
The Metropolitan Opera went all out to make its production of this rarely performed work a success. The sets are beautiful and match the music perfectly. The conducting and playing could hardly be bettered. Scotto is nearly perfect in the title role (just a few years earlier she would have been absolutely perfect). Domingo was at his best as Paolo. Nevertheless, veteran baritone Cornell MacNeil nearly steals the show as the nasty, brutish Gianciotto. At this stage of his career, his voice was no longer beautiful, but it still had the range, power, and expressiveness to personify this evil character. The opera falls somewhat short of being an unqualified musical masterpiece, but it is a fascinating and dramatically effective work and has some stunning scenes, including the longest battle scene I have ever seen on stage in an opera theater (Die Walkure, Act III Scene 1 is shorter and the actual battle seems always to take place off stage). I recommend that you get this one. You won't be bored.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Francesca da Rimini at the Met (DVD) July 12 2002
Francesca da Rimini is a fascinating opera and in parts - the end of act 1, the second half of Act 3 - truly magical. It is not the sort of opera which would take kindly to a minimalist production or to updating, so - in this case - the lavish sets and costumes provided by the Met are entirely appropriate and highly effective (though I do wish the audience would refrain from applauding the scenery). The opera stands or falls by the casting of Francesca and Paolo and in this production it definitely stands. In 1984, Placido Domingo was a dashing and handsome Paolo acting with verve and on top vocal form. We perhaps too often take him for granted because he has been so good for so long. Francesca is supposed to be young and beautiful. Renata Scotto is neither, but for much of the time she makes you think that she is. Her acting is most certainly of the operatic variety, but it works. At this stage in her career, when she is called upon to deliver the highest notes her voice turns hard and wobbles - fortunately there are not that many of the highest notes in this part. The rest of the voice remains gorgeous and infinitely expressive. Levine and the Met orchestra play superbly.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A LITTLE-KNOWN WONDER March 22 2000
This opera doesn't find its way to the stage very much, but I fell in love with this video version and look forward to seeing it live somewhere. The first act sets the stage with a great Pre-Raphaelite look, as Francesca and Paolo meet and begin their doomed love. The music, highly melodic in the first and final acts, is charged with drama. In between, you have the brutal scenes of war, hate, violence--with Paolo's brothers, a nasty pair, contrasting nicely with the languid beauty of the two lovers' encounters. This is truly a case where the sets and costumes create a jewel-like setting for the sensual emotions displayed in Zandonai's music.
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