Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Cilea - Adriana Lecouvreur|
Actors: Montserrat Caballe, Fiorenza Cossotto, Jose Carreras, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Gianfranco Masini
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
DREAM CAST FOR THE ULTIMATE DIVA OPERA
Bartolome Mesa Gil | Malaga, SPAIN | 08/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Cilea's opera may not be a great work of art, but it has exquisite melodies and is a wonderful vehicle for a great diva as Montserrat Caballé, in 1976 still in the very peak of her long and legendary career. I've seen this Tokyo performance on VHS (with poor picture) and I own the audio recording on CD (Legato) and Caballé has to be heard and seen to be believed. She's in great voice, delivering at full voltage in the dramatic outbursts (including a thrilling passage of declamation) and, with her trademarked pianissimi, just sublime in the more delicate moments. It is hard to imagine a more beautiful performance of this part (and I do love Magda Olivero as well). Carreras (at his most youthfull) and Cossotto are very good too. The production is rudimentary but on the other hand doesn't intrude on the perfomances of the singers as so many recent productions do. Considering the good job VAI has done so far in the quality of transfers of this Japanese telecasts, this could be for me the Opera video of the year. Give it a chance if you love great singing.
UPDATE (September 4): I've just received my DVD and, as expected, it is quite an improvement on the VHS edition, though don't expect great visuals. The stereo sound is pretty good considering the source. You can't get rid of the burnt in Japanese subtitles, but VAI provides optional subtitles in several languages over them. Highly recommended."
L. Marietta | Berkeley, CA | 02/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here is vintage Caballe in her prime. All the famous Caballe trademarks are here: ravishing pianissimi, silvery glistening tone, seamless legato and thrilling fortes. The strength of her acting comes not from tossing her body around on stage in all kinds of preposterous positions [unlike so much of today's ludicrous staging], but from the unbeatable combination of her consummate vocal artistry and innate musicianship, using her tremendous vocal dexterity, a seemingly endless palette of tonal colors, varied articulations that appropriately declaim the text and dynamic shadings: all of which rivets your attention on her...
...except when the stage is dominated by Cossotto, one of the last *real* Italian dramatics, whose vocal thrust and commitment to the part create the perfect foil to Caballe. When these two ladies start to tangle, get out of the way. If looks could kill, the entire cast would be on the floor from their smirking glances of withering rebuke and whole-hearted hatred.
While this is definitely a diva's opera, Carreras shows why he was such a sensation at the beginning of his career. With his classic good looks, outpouring of a sumptuous, spinning lyric sound and spot-on acting, he makes the most of a rather thankless part, being consistenly engaged in the action (albeit perhaps a little over-wrought at times)."
5 stars +++++
Claudia N. Davidsen | Ruskin, FL | 07/19/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Three Big Cs (Caballe, Carreras and Cossotto) plus D'Orazi give this particular performance the place in history it deserves. It is a "must have" for fans of any of those three luminaries. D'Orazi is a wonderful bonus as Michonnet--a real pleasure to hear and watch. Carreras's voice is youthful and virile--very dynamic. Cossotto is amazing--what a beauty! what a voice! what an actress! Caballe, of course, is like going to aural Heaven without dying. As one critic said of her, she purifies the air.
Along the lines of "the show must go on": Watch the first act for when Maurizio embraces and kisses Adriana, gets a little excited, knocks her earring down her bodice, and then RETRIEVES IT! Caballe almosts laughs, but they both keep on keeping on musically. Listen with your eyes closed, and you may hear a certain little something in the voices for a phrase or two, but I'll bet the live audience never noticed unless they were in a direct sight line of Caballe's (ahem) very personal person. Female fans will agree that worst things can happen to a lady than having Jose Carreras--uh--well, you get my drift.
Back to the divas' places in history. I keep waiting for the likes of Caballe and Cossotto to emerge on the current scene. Haven't heard any who can begin to compare. I'll keep listening."