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Zandonai;Riccardo Francesca Da


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Amazon.com: 14 reviews
53 of 53 people found the following review helpful
The Best Francesca Possible...... Dec 31 2007
By OperaLover - Published on Amazon.com
While I agree with the other review about the merits of this performance, I do not agree that his review should be a forum for the merits of Francesca di Rimini as an opera. Francesca is well known to the opera cognoscenti for generations. Zandonai had a unique voice which was never to everyone's liking. Nevertheless, Francesca has remained in the repertory in Italy without interruption. Clearly there are enough supporters of the opera to keep it popular. If you don't like this opera, don't buy it. Meanwhile don't damn this superior DVD with only three stars because you don't like the piece in the first place. This is not a forum for your learning curve.

As to the performance itself, without the likes of Magda Olivero or perhaps Raina Kabaivanska in her prime, Renata Scotto brings a sense of authority and style to this music that is incomparable. Perhaps one may not like this high note or that, but her supreme knowledge of the verisimo idiom makes her the only choice for this role at the time of this broadcast. Domingo is in spectacular form and looks the part to perfection. MacNeil also displays vocal flaws but performs the role to the manner born: he is truly menacing. The production is exquisite in every way and gives the opera the best possible presentation imaginable: this includes intentionally stylized acting, presumably recreating the style that was prevalent at the time the opera was written. James Levine conducts magnificently as if this opera were indeed a masterpiece. I do wish (and I know this is a controversial opinion) that some cuts had been made, especially the redundant music written for Francesca's handmaidens. Cuts in this opera are routine in Italy however controversial they may be.

This DVD is a MUST for any lover of the verismo idiom! Thank you DG for this wonderful re-mastering.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A landmark in opera March 23 2009
By Dino Starcevic Rivera - Published on Amazon.com
Superb, amazing, exotic, erotic. As Gabrielle D'Annunzio's poetry, such it is this Metropolitan Opera production of Francesca da Rimini. A classic on recorded operas, we have to thank the Met for registered this magnificent production.
If the sum of talents weren't enough, there is Renata Scotto. As the critic of the moment (1984) remarked, she found HER character. I haven`t found a better Scotto on video, no matter how much I love her Giorgetta. Here, as Francesca, she reinvented herself and reach the stars. She MUST be seen.
Do not miss this one.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
The stars were in perfect alignment... May 13 2009
By B. Cathey - Published on Amazon.com
I saw--and absorbed---Francesca da Rimini when the Met offered it, and like almost everyone else, I was swept away. Oh, yes, Zandonai is not Puccini, not Mascagni, but there is just something "special" about Francesca da Rimini that has always captivated me (well, I also like very much Spontini, Montemezzi, Auber, R.Strauss, and Mussorgsky). With the right cast and staging it DOES work...and the Met production, with Domingo, Scotto, and MacNeill, all in stellar voice, and those magnificent sets, well, it was indeed an "event" of the first order. And this DVD preserves it all.

I must confess that I really adore all the twists and exotic turns musically, as well. Ovderheated? Oh, yes, most definitely. Not something you want to hear or see everyday...but, wow, yes, most assuredly from time to time. The love duet at the end of Act III and the final feverish scene of Paolo and Francesca are simply spectacular, passion-filled, volcanic eruptions....I don't fight them, rather I just enjoy them.

Magda Olivero, Leyla Gencer, and Raina Kaibavanska sang Francesca, and I enjoy each of their interpretations, but this Met production remains unique and special.

Let yourself go, let the music (as overblown as it may seem, at times) and the drama envelope you. Have a glass of wine with it all, and simply enjoy it. Highly recommended.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
"In the Trembling of the Stars" Jan. 1 2012
By Brian Morgan - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This is certainly one of the Metropolitan Opera's most fascinating productions available on DVD.

In 1984, the Met mounted a new production, directed by Piero Faggioni, of Riccardo Zandonai's "Francesca da Rimini," after the purpled play by Gabriele d'Annunzio. Most of us knew the score from the 1969 recording of excerpts from Decca, starring Mario del Monaco and the magnificent Magda Olivero, conducted by Nicola Rescigno. Here, we had Renata Scotto, Plácido Domingo, and Cornell MacNeil as the tragic triangle, conducted by James Levine. (This writer saw several rehearsals and performances of this production in the theatre.)

Faggioni's staging is really grand, recreating the theatre style of the verismo era, and resembling great silent-film acting. The detail and grace of his work here is indescribable. Ezio Frigerio's sets and Franca Squarciapino's costumes are truly magnificent. To have seen this in the theatre is to never forget the experience.

Scotto's performing here is sublime, her movements marvellously co-ordinated with the music to moving and authoritative effect. She was certainly one of the finest singing-actresses, and her voice, sometimes harsh, is totally expressive, her musicality exquisite.

Domingo fits the character of Paolo il Bello to perfection, and MacNeil roars like a beast in a stunning portrayal of the betrayed husband. The remainder of the cast could hardly be improved. Especially noteworthy are Richard Fredricks, William Lewis, Natalia Rom (a great artist and a marvellous Biancofiore, near the start of her career), Gail Robinson, Isola Jones, Anthony Laciura, and Brian Schexnayder.

A thundering, transcendent experience.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Stunning in every way Nov. 30 2009
By J. L. Glass - Published on Amazon.com
I agree with all the positive opinions given here on this DVD. I was lucky enough to have seen this production twice at the Met during the two seasons it was performed. Having attended the Met many times, I can say that this was overall one of the most stunningly beautiful productions I'd ever seen there, let alone at any other opera house. Aside from the sets and scenery, the staging and singing is magical, and through their passionate performances, Domingo and Scotto (despite some vocal shortcomings) seem to become the illicit lovers Francesca and Paolo. Scotto does a particularly magnificent job of conveying Francesca's girlish innocence at the beginning and her uncontrollable passion at the tragic end.

As for the opera per se, if I had to describe Zandonai's score, I would say it sounds like Puccini crossed with Richard Strauss. It is a highly individual, richly orchestrated and passionate work. The music and poetry of the libretto capture the ecstasy and sadness of a passion bordering on the obsessive. The florid writing of the libretto, however, may be a bit much for some tastes, given that it was written by the eccentric, "decadent" poet/playwright/right-wing Italian patriot Gabrielle D'Annunzio and taken directly from his play of the same name. In any case, Zandonai's opera is not for everyone, but it is very special and deserves to be performed more frequently in the U.S. If you are a "Francesca da Rimini" fan, this DVD must be in your library.


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