Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Donizetti - La Favorita|
Actors: Fiorenza Cossotto, Alfredo Kraus, Sesto Bruscantini, Ruggero Raimondi, Augusto Pedroni
Genres: Indie & Art House, Musicals & Performing Arts
No Description Available. Genre: Performing Arts - Concerts Rating: NR Release Date: 16-OCT-2007 Media Type: DVD
LA FAVORITA...THE ONE AND ONLY
A Pavarotti Fan | Palos Verdes, CA USA | 02/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This performance of "La Favorita" is, as far as I know, the ONLY
one available on video. I gave it 5 stars, despite some obvious
flaws already mentioned by other reviewers, because it is a wonderful
production of a much overlooked and underrated Donizetti opera.
The video is somewhat grainy, but my copy does not have the watery
green effect others have mentioned. (Clips of it on You Tube
are decidedly GREEN!) I don't know if I got a better DVD or if the
color is just better on my machine. I do know this...it doesn't
have those annoying burned-in Japanese subtitles evident
in so many operas VAI has mined from performances in Japan!
The audio, while not exceptional, is perfectly acceptable.
Loved the story and found it easy to follow...although, why the
Catholic monk/prior (Baldassare) would have a son and daughter
was a bit of a mystery.
The best part, of course, was the singing, although I didn't find
the acting too shabby either. I think Alfredo Kraus's singing
and acting could best be described as "elegant." What a performance;
absolute perfection from beginning to end. He sang like a god and
moved with the grace of a dancer. He was the quintessential Fernando
in this production.
As for Fiorenza Cossotto, she was a glamorous and thrilling Leonora;
she just nailed the role. (Okay, I admit it...I love her.) Yes, she
did break character in Act III after hitting her high note in "Scritto
e in cielo mio dolor!" But, she did get a thunderous 3 minute ovation
from the audience and, being Fiorenza, she just couldn't resist basking
in the glory! Well, she did try...a little. Personally, I loved the moment,
but I've already admitted my bias and I don't expect others to agree.
Ruggero Raimondi was a majestic Baldassarre, convincingly aged
for the role as I think he was fairly young in this production.
An exceptional performance, beautifully sung and acted.
Unfortunately, this was not one of Sesto Bruscantini's best
performances. As King Alfonso, he was on pretty shaky ground until
he got his footing toward the middle of the opera. He's a
pretty impressive baritone, so perhaps he was ailing
or just having an off-night.
This performance, warts and all, is well worth purchasing and I
highly recommend it. If you've never seen "La Favorita," this may
be your only opportunity.
Great live recording
figaro | Eugene, OR United States | 01/25/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love Kraus and Cossotto. They are both dynamite singers in this video. Cossotto is a bit heavily made-up and her acting is a bit plastic, but her singing is wonderful. Kraus always pleases me with his general class and finesse, even physically. I am also a big fan of Bruscantini, but I will admit, I didn't think this is the best presentation of his work. His Italian style is wonderful, but his voice and manner seem a bit gruff for this role. I have a few recordings of him where he is very good up to even magnificent, but perhaps this particular music is asking too much fluidity for his voice. Still, he was a thoroughly professional singer and enjoyable enough in this video. It's really fun to get some of these older, live performances of great singers, many now deceased, and relive their artistry, seeing them, whilst hearing them. The sound is good in this recording and I play it often."
Spectacularly sublime leading roles; much lessor supporting
A. F. S. Mui | HK | 09/21/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I agree that the cast in this wonderful performance wasn't that even.
However, that unevenness does not really subtract fromt he stupendous performances by Cossotto in the title role 'La favorita' and Kraus in the tenor role of Ferrando.
Of the two major supporting roles, Ruggero Raimondi is an adequate friar, if not outstanding. However, Bruscantini as the King really throws much downhill 'relief' to the otherwise sky high level of performance.
Put it this way - this performance is an out and out showcase of what 'bel canto' singing is about. Alfredo Kraus proved to be the best exponent of this genre in the mid to late 20th century, and the first decade of the 21st as well. He has more elegance and style than Pavarotti, if not the same prowess. His phrasing and messa di voce really put Pav to shame, if you allow me to say so. And he had a much more pleasing timbre than Juan Diego Florez, and far better nuances and characterisation to boot. In his prime, his high notes were done with far greater ease and smoothness than Florez, as his Act Iv aria 'La favorita de re' amply showed (compared with Florez's French version in the 'Bel Canto Spectacular' Album last year).
Then, on the other hand, what non-bel canto singers could 'do' with bel canto works is also amply demonstrated by Bruscantini. Sloppy phrasing, missed notes, inaccurate enunciations, all in all resulting in pitch failures and articulation problems so glaring that one simply had to press the 'fast forward' button to skip the torture.
Then in the middle of the road, Fiorenza Cossotto the famous Verdian mezzo, who demonstrates here that she 'knew' what is bel canto and how she could make the best out of it, though not an out and out bel canto expert. She has less of a stage presence than Kraus in that she was unfamiliar with portrayals of famous beauties than the Verdian mezzo characters like Azucena.
A spectacular performance in many ways. Discounting the hiccups, still heartily recommended for all bel canto lovers and to anyone interested to know what actually is 'bel canto'.
You will fall in love with Kraus and Cossotto.
Cossotto and Kraus are Favorites
Charlotte H. Peters | Maine, USA | 12/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sometimes one forgets the great singers of but a few years ago. This 1971 performance recording, made in Tokyo, though visually a bit dark, is acoustically sparkling with the singers' joy with Donizetti's music. He would surely loudly applaud this effort. Both Fiorenza Cossotto and Alfredo Kraus are at their peak. To say nothing of Sesto Bruscantini and Ruggero Raimondi in supporting roles. This opera, unfortunately, is often overlooked for the better known Donizetti works. Well worth enjoying as the music is grand, the arias are among his finest and the ballet a treat to see."