Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Donizetti Lucrezia Borgia|
Actors: Theodossiou, De Baisio, Iori, Palacios, Albani
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Based on Victor Hugo's most sensational play, Lucrezia Borgia, a scandalous tale of murder, torture, incest, homosexuality, drunkenness and orgies, Donizetti's opera is one of the great masterpieces of Italian bel canto re... more »
S. Wells | California | 03/15/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This performance just isn't up to scratch, and the problems start with the prima donna. Perhaps an appreciation of Dimitra Theodossiou's voice is an acquired taste. If so, I haven't acquired it. I found very little bel in her canto. Rather, I thought the voice large, strident, acidic and plagued with a vibrato that threatened to get out of control at any moment. Unfortunately, the scenes in which she appears are a real trial for the ears, and the rest of the cast aren't a great deal better.
Enrico Giuseppe Iori and Nidia Palacios are acceptable, but no more, as Don Alfonso and Maffio Orsini. Mr. Iori has an imposing presence, and voice to match, and can bluster with the best of them. Ms. Palacio possesses a small, but adequate voice. I can't imagine why the costume designer put her in a platinum-blonde fright wig, though.
The performing edition conforms to that published by Ricordi, meaning that Lucrezia loses her cabaletta in the Prologue (whew!). It also means that Gennaro doesn't get the second act aria that Richard Bonynge included on his recording featuring Giacomo Aragall as Gennaro. This is rather a pity as Roberto De Biasio (Gennaro in this performance) was the only cast member I'd not mind hearing again. Indeed, his voice rather reminded me of that of Mr. Aragall -- a warm, ingratiating tone, used with taste, intelligence and sensitivity. He shades his voice well and produces some very lovely soft singing.
The production itself is unremarkable. The set consists of walls, windows and doors that move about to produce different spaces for each scene. The costumes are best described as "inspired" by the Italian Renaissance. The bevy of dancing Amazons who accompany Alfonso are rather silly, but inoffensive. The picture quality is poor. Bright colours, such as the crimson gowns at the beginning of the final scene, over-saturate and rapid movements leave a trail of blurs behind them.
The set comes with a booklet illustrated with black and white photos and containing a complete cast list, with brief biographies, a background essay and a track-by-track synopsis.
On the whole, you can give this one a miss. If you really want a DVD of this opera, you're better off with the performance from Covent Garden with Joan Sutherland and Alfredo Krause. I enjoy this opera best on the old RCA recording with Montserrat Caballe, Alfredo Krause and Shirley Verrett."
A dramatic and sometimes gripping presentation
Dr. J. J. Kregarman | Denver, Colorado United States | 08/09/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I watched this opera with trepidation given the previous review, but was pleasantly surprised. Grove notes that in Lucrezia Borgia we have a dramatic almost Verdian creation and here we have a very gripping telling of the tale. Lucrezia is not sung as flawlessly as she was by Sutherland, but here she is well acted and is always believable whether in the business of poisoning others or grieving over her son. All the cast act well and were well directed and their singing is more than adequate. The sound is good, picture quality very fine, sets and costumes appropriate to the time, and the orchestra well conducted. I judged the time watching as well spent."