Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Cilea - Adriana Lecouvreur / Freni Cossotto Dvorsky Vinco Gavazzeni La Scala Opera|
Actors: Mirella Freni, Fiorenza Cossotto, Peter Dvorsky, Ivo Vinco, Gianandrea Gavazzeni
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
A Diva's Opera
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 02/03/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"First, let me say that 'Adriana Lecouvreur' is not one of my favorite operas. There is some justice in the comment that it is a one tune opera beloved by divas who not only get the hit tune but get to chew the scenery throughout. Adriana's entrance aria, 'Io son l'umile ancilla' ('I am but a humble servant') makes its effect in Act I and then is reprised ad nauseam throughout the whole piece (until I, frankly, want to scream 'Enough!'). True there are some fine moments and truth to tell Cilea's orchestration and imitation of 18th-century musical forms is masterful. But overall the opera is a bit of a bore.
That said, I am very aware there are many opera-lovers who adore this piece, and with that in mind I will try to put my prejudices aside as best I can. But you will want to keep in mind that I do have a bias.
What of this 1989 La Scala production? Well, it is sad to say that the two female roles--Adriana, sung by Mirella Freni, and the Princess of Bouillon, sung by Fiorenza Cossotto--are taken by singers past their prime. In her big aria, with its pianissimo and legato rising octaves, Freni takes a breath to break those tender phrases, and she sings them at forte. (Maria Callas, whose voice was never as fine technically as Freni's at any time during her career, was able to manage those octaves beautifully, as were Renata Scotto and Renata Tebaldi.) I fear this production simply came too late in Freni's career at La Scala. Virtually the same is true of powerhouse mezzo Cossotto. In her Act II aria, 'O vagabonda stella d'Oriente,' there is an incipient wobble. What a shame; in her day her voice was a marvel and although one can hear the echo of that, it's not here in this performance.
Maurizio, sung by Peter Dvorský, is heroic and strong but a bit generic. Strangely, for me, the strongest performance here is by Alessandro Cassis as the lovesick Michonnet. It is nice to see Sara Mingardo, a singer just now coming into real prominence, in the minor role of Mlle. D'Angeville. A high point was the performance of the corps de ballet in Act III. Freni's portrayal of Adriana's death--by a box of poisoned violets, surely the gentlest murder in all of opera--was touching.
There seems to be, in this performance, a gala atmosphere with vociferous audience applause throughout. One wonders whether this was an opening night or whether it was in honor of conductor Gianandrea Gavazzeni, a conductor beloved at La Scala, whose last season in the house this was--he was 89 when this was filmed, and he died in 1996. He gets an ovation each time he takes the podium.
Stage direction by Lamberto Puggelli is unexceptionable. Filming was directed by veteran television director Brian Large and the videography is quite good. Sonics are fine. One can hear the important orchestral contribution very clearly. Sets and costumes are suitably rich and varied. Did anyone ever live in rooms so large?
I cannot recommend this DVD, but I don't have any alternative to suggest. There is one starring Daniela Dessì but I have not seen it.
TT=159 mins. Subtitles in English only. A complete libretto in Italian is supplied in the booklet. Sound is Dolby digital.
Io son l'umile strikes again
Erwin K. Krause | TX USA | 07/30/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Adriana is almost a one-aria opera, but what an aria! This production features four well-known stars performing as they should. Gavazzeni keeps things under control. One hears Io son l'umile ancella early on to get one in the proper atmosphere. Peter Dvorsky, Fiorenza Cossotto, Ivo Vinvo, and Mirella Freni all turn in solid performances. The La Scala audience does get involved, whether they hate you or love you. They loved these folks."