Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Giordano - Fedora|
Actors: Mirella Freni, Placido Domingo, Alessandro Corbelli, Olga Sukarev, Gianandrea Gavazzeni
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts, Mystery & Suspense
A Role Made for Freni
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 11/18/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There is another DVD of 'Fedora' starring Mirella Freni and Plácido Domingo and I think it was made within a year or two -- in the mid-1990s -- of this one; that one was at the Met and was conducted by Roberto Abbado. This one is a live performance at La Scala Milan and is conducted by the 82-year-old Gianandrea Gavazzeni, an acknowledged master in this repertoire. I've not seen the Met DVD and cannot make a direct comparison of the two versions. But I can say that I watched this one with great interest and found myself drawn into the highly melodramatic goings-on of Fedora and her lover Loris Ipanov, which requires a fair suspension of disbelief. Freni plays the haunted Fedora with passion and verisimilitude. It is unfortunate that there is no great soprano aria in the opera, or at least nothing to compare with Loris's 'Amor ti vieta' in Act II. Domingo gets a huge ovation at the end of the aria, enough that the stage action simply can't go on for quite a long time. And for good reason -- it's a spectacular performance.
Still, the show is Freni's. She is very much the passionate verismo heroine and she brings out every nuance of the part. Her voice is in fairly good estate; her high notes are intact, and thrilling, but the low voice has become just a bit thready.
One novelty in this opera is the Chopinesque étude Giordano wrote for the 'nephew of Chopin' to play in Act II. It does indeed sound like Chopin and is played well by Arnold Bosman as 'Boleslao Lazinski'. But in the Met DVD Lazinski is played by Jean-Yves Thibaudet! (I wonder if he wore his trademark red socks?)
The stage decor is beautiful and traditional. The designer, Luisa Spinatelli, clearly had great fun designing three completely different scenes. Act I takes place in a Russian salon, Act II in a Paris salon, and Act II at a mountain-side villa in Switzerland. In each case the scene begins with a back-projection of architectural scenes that tell us the setting (e.g., buildings along the banks of the Neva in St. Petersburg in Act I). Stage direction is also traditional; no Konzept issues here!
Alessandro Corbelli is very good as De Siriex, Adelina Scarabelli a bit less so as Olga. The other minor characters are unexceptionable. Orchestral accompaniment is excellent. (I was particularly struck by the fine horn section, especially in the alpine scene.)
'Fedora' is not a great opera musically, even though Giordano is a talented scene painter, but it is dramatically effective one that deserves reviving from time to time, particularly for a dramatically compelling singing actress of the quality of Mirella Freni.