Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Giacomo Puccini - Turandot / Dimitrova Martinucci Gasdia Arena Montaldo |
Arena di Verona 1984
Actors: Ghena Dimitrova, Cecilia Gasdia, Nicola Martinucci, Ivo Vinco, Maurizio Arena
Directors: Brian Large, Giuliano Montaldo
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Musicals & Performing Arts
The legend of the beautiful, but icy, Princess Turandot is the basis for the last of Puccini's operas; in fact he did not live to complete it. The Chinese background to the story is amply reflected not only in the staging ... more »
John Cardenas | Ontario, CA United States | 09/01/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The open air Arena di Verona is transformed into an arctic-looking ancient Peking, all the more sympathetic for Dimitrova's gargantuan, monolithic, icy Turandot. Her voice has never been heard to greater advantage--the acuti are resplendently full and throbbing, the middle is voluptuous, free of the wobble that later afflicted it, and the bottom notes threatening in the riddle scene. She is attired in a shapeless white gown; her black hair cascades to the floor in great sheathes. She looks like some primitive Kabuki-inspired vision of woman as temptress-destroyer, inhumanly confident and imposing. Her rival Marton may have the edge on Dimitrova in acting, but Dimitrova clearly sweeps the field with the sheer power, range, and ease of her voice. Madame Dimitrova is partnered with the always reliable, if hardly inspiring, Nicola Martinucci--he looks a bit like an Italianate Sonny Bono outmatched by a physically and vocally grander Cher. Cecilia Gasdia is a touching, fragile, and very lyrical Liu. But the raison d'etre for this production and the main reason for seeing it is clearly the spectacle of the leading lady. Daniel Oren conducts the somewhat pedestrian orchestra and chorus."
This is a top Turandot, where Turandot's vocalizing is conce
Judy Spotheim | Belgium, Europe | 11/18/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"At the moment there are two DVDs of Turandot and one on Blu-ray but is not yet published, the other two should be considered as a bench-mark.
Those two are: Turandot with Ghena Dimitrova in the title roll of Turandot, and the other is the Eva Marton (Metropolitan/Zefirelli/Levine).
A direct comparison between these two stars voices is rewarding:
Even with the 'personalized' microphons extensively used to capture the sound of the singers at the Verona Arena, one could perceive how big and intense Ghena Dimitrova's voice actually is (when she begun to sing - I though for a second that she might be a latent Mezzo-Soprano, that's where her lower register is concern...I later looked at the internet to seek her up and was, not much surprised, to learn that at the start of her vocal studies she was categorized as a Mezzo-Soprano...)
And here lies the clove between Ghena Dimitrova, and Eva Marton:
Eva Marton has very little substance to her voice at the lower register - to a degree that it almost disappears (sunken-down) for a duration of a phrase or two.
One should also observe that Ghena Dimitrova's lower register is 'cut from a different cloth' than her mid-register and surly it is different from her top register. Both singers' mid-register and top register are full throat-ed with a lot of substance and "bloom" (Eva Marton's top register is more 'silvery' while Ghena Dimitrova's sounds more like a 'golden trumpet' and the voice is pushed forward with lots of muscle and power reserves.
BOTH ARE EXCELLENT choice for Turandot.
The staging with the Verona Arena can hardly compete with the colorful Franco Zeffirelli Metropolitan opera staging.
With all of the people on the Arena stage it still looks unpopulated and uninspiring. One can only imagine what that stage would look like with a grand Zeffirelli staging)...
The support cast for the metropolitan production is as good as that of the Verona Arena:
Timur's portrayal by Paul Frishka is inspiring and hold well against bass veteran Ivo Vinco (at the Verona Arena).
While Liu portrayal with Cecilia Gasodia (for the Arena production) has the best ever Liu singing: fresh, young-sounding, almost innocent and her looks is so childish at a time, girlish-like, that it immediately convinces you (I am quite certain that the singer Cecilia Gasodia would have made a marvelous Mimi in La-Bohem, Marguerite in Faust, Gilda in Rigoletto and more...) Yet, the Metropolitan production has Leona Mitchell in that same roll. Leona Mitchell singing and phrasing makes the text and the reason she has for staying with the old blind king a heart breaking conviction when she responds to Calaf (Flacido Domingo) saying to him, "Because ones, at the old palace, you smiled at me..." The way Leona Mitchell works that phrase makes the whole character of Liu and her motivation clear and justified. Actually, because of that the roll of Liu and her reasoning is much more clearer than Turandot's motivation as a whole.
And than you have (with the Metropolitan) Placido Domingo...(a bit later in his carrier but still in excellent vocal shape, where he still can touch the Nessun Dorma;s high C - but unfortunately he has to let it go in a very short span of time, not clinging to it as the younger Martinucci (for the Arena production). Martinucci's voice is fresh, right into the pitch, silvery and exact. He should have been considered as one of the best Italian tenor
in the best sense of the true Italian singing tradition (for the pictures, one would wish he was a foot taller and build more robustly, so as to posses a more stage vigor.
Amongst other singers; not to forget the old emperor's roll: the Metropolitan has the best ever emperor in sung/played/spoken/ by veteran Hugues Cuenod (I believe he is on stage for more than 50 years now...)
To sum it up:
The choice of buying should be BOTH.
You CAN NOT fully grasp what the Turandot is all about (vocally) without both DVDs The roll of Turandot is an extremely difficult with lots of demands on the voice.
It has to be sung almost all of the time in Forte and increase to Fore-Fortissimo; one high note leading to an even higher note with no pause for a breath in between (it is not for nothing that Ghena Dimitrova tells the interviewer that she do not like to sing this roll too many times. And one should know that Callas said she abandoned this roll at the first chance she got. Lilly Lehman said she would prefer to sing three consecutive Wagner Isolde and not one Turandot...)
This is a difficult roll carried out superbly by both; Ghena Dimitrova and by Eva Marton. My personal tendency leans towards Ghena Dimitrova and the Verona Arena if only for the pure vocal talents there.
How could this be, it's not that long ago!
Impostazione | New York City Area | 11/30/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This performance seems like something from the distant past. Gasdia's voice is small but it inhabits her body, the sound is beautiful, believable, and she is attractive. Vinco is wonderful, and moving, even if antiquity is always near him. Martinucci's voice is very forward and very beautiful; the phrasing unmatched, but a bit heavy at the top for the heady spin that impresses at the middle and passaggio fail to inhabit the top. Ghena Dimitrova is fantastic, more vulnerable than the other great Turandot of her era. There is superb warmth about her character, sweetness, sensitivity, and reception, but the strong voice is on a column of vocalized breath that vibrates her head cavities in excelsis. It is a wide voice at the top, but certainly imposing at the bottom and rich too. In fact, one forgets how attractive Ghena was so powerful was her voice and frame, but she had a lovely angular face. I met her just before she died, and we wished each other a happy birthday.
The film quality is better than the VHS by far, and the sound quality is wonderful unlike Marton's Vienna Turandot on TDK.
I took this out again, having pre-ordered it in 2008, to watch over Thanksgiving. I was moved by its grandeur, its largesse, puissance, and a strong sense of nostalgia came over me, though I was only 10 years old when this performance took place.
BIG BOLD POWERFUL - AGAIN BIG - AND BEAUTIFUL!"