Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Lucia Di Lammermoor|
Genres: Indie & Art House, Musicals & Performing Arts
Carrera's only Lucia on DVD!
Laudable performance, despite noticeable decline of Ricciare
Niel Rishoi | Ann Arbor, MI USA | 09/09/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This Bel Canto Society DVD of Lucia di Lammermoor dates from 1982 in Bregenz,Austria.It stars Katia Ricciarelli in the title role, José Carreras as Edgardo, Leo Nucci as Enrico, John Paul Bogart as Raimondo, Ermanno Lorenzi as Normanno, Waltraud Winsauer as Alisa, and John Dickie as Arturo. Lamberto Gardelli
conducting the Wiener Symphoniker.
The "tragedy" is ascribed not only to the story, of course,
but in hearing the two leads, Ricciarelli and Carreras,
both already in 1982, prematurely on their way out of a
too-early peaked vocal prime.
It WAS a tragedy, because: the soprano and tenor had two of
the most sheerly beautiful, natural voices in opera. Both
lost the sheen in their voices by the choices they made -
singing repertoire wrong for them. Lucia and Edgardo were
roles that could have been theirs, by nature: few singers
had such RIGHT material for this repertoire. But both had
"higher" ambitions. And their soon-to-be blown-out voices
bore out their choices.
The loss, when hearing them in this performance, is
palpable indeed. So much is so good you just want to weep.
Ricciarelli just takes your breath away in Lucia's
*sortita*. The opening bars of "Regnava nel silenzio" has
never sounded so contoured, lyrical, and with such plushy,
velvety tone. All her other set moments of pure lyricism -
"Verranno a' te," "Soffriva nel pianto," her contributions
to the wedding scene, and "Ardon gli incensi" are
absolutely, ideally sung. She luxuriates in the long,
sculpted line, and it makes you realize the advantage
Italians have in this music: it just sounds impeccably
Ricciarelli's soft-singing is spellbindingly beautiful: it
had a genuine float and with that ubiquitous "suspension"
quality. The unmistakable Italianate *morbidezza*,
belonging only to to her birthright, is all there.
Furthermore, her performance is constantly alive: she acts
out Lucia with a good deal more involvement than you
usually see. "Regnava" is atmospheric, "Quando rapito"
rapturous, "Verranno a te" quietly joyful. Watch her face
prior to "Il pallor funesto"; she gives Enrico looks that
kill. Ricciarelli and Nucci really play off each other
well. When she's given the letter, she collapses with
convincing abandon. You see clearly how's she lost hope;
and it makes sense when Raimondo convinces her to put her
family's honor first. But you see the steel in the
character's backbone: she does not merely come off as a
passive simp. You see a natural consequence of the lies and
In the wedding scene, Ricciarelli's `La mia condanna ho
scritto" is heartbreaking. She and Carreras create a rare
tension: both face off in the story's dilemma with unerring
skill. "Chi mi frena"is charged, febrile. Her Lucia reacts
violently, hysterically to Edgardo's denunciation. The
entire scene is feverish, excitingly sung (but with cuts! -
and the Wolf's Crag scene is missing. Plus the trio after
the mad scene. what gives??).
The Mad Scene is anything but a canary-bird exercise.
Ricciarelli's tonal weight and timbral luxuriance give it
a welcome gravitas. Like Callas, she doesn't deal in
looney-tune hysterics. Ricciarelli allows the pathos of
the score dictate her moves - like a lost, forlorn ghost
recalling happier days. Moreover, Ricciarelli is beautiful
to watch, both physically and in the way she carries
herself. There is no cadenza with flute - just a short,
simple a cappela vocalise; after the word `sará' we have
Donizetti's original, eloquent ending - the harmonic
resolution is intensely poignant, and needs no
In general, Ricciarelli inserts no upward extensions, and
very, very spare "extra" notes. It is interesting hearing
the score like this, but given the factors involved, there
is no choice.
The problem, then? Ricciarelli has audible trouble with
most notes above the staff. The cabalettas to the sortita
and the mad scene tax her sorely. Her upper tones are
tight, spread, and lacking freedom (despite a passable D
flat at the end of the sextet - who knew she had it in
her!). A lot of her passagework, lacking ideal fluidity and
freedom, suffers. Sometimes she has an approximate trill,
more often, not. You can imagine, then, my frustration at
hearing someone so ideal for Lucia, falling short of that
at all the crucial moments. That Ricciarelli took the
direction she did and ended up so is a sad tale indeed.
Then we have Carreras, who was gifted with one of those
beautiful tenor voices in the last 50 years. A nice, light,
lyrical tone, just the match for Ricciarelli. Could have
had a sensational career as a major bel canto tenor - but
no, Verdi, Giordano, and Puccini beckoned.
One will scarcely find a more suitable Edgardo, physically
and vocally. Romantic, properly Byronic-looking. An
exciting, intense actor who gives his all - more
spontaneous and "real" than the generic, too-intellectual
Domingo, far more involved than the static Pavarotti. That
golden, Spanish tone turning "Fra poco a me ricovero" into
a lesson in Donizettian lyricism. But. All the pushed,
forced highs - from training, beating his voice in the
meantime into Verdian submission - painfully manifest.
The revelation in this performance is Leo Nucci. Probably
the best performance of Enrico I've ever seen. His facial
contortions are difficult to watch, but this singing actor
acts the hell out of his role. His "Cruda, funesta smania"
is tense, furiously nasty and powerful. His intensity is
amazing -it oozes out of his pores.
John Paul Bogart is one of the better Raimondos. He sings
with a fine, resonant tone, and manages to make his two big
scenes engaging, sympathetic and weightier than we usually
The sets and costumes are spectacular. The atmosphere is
wonderfully, dank, cavernous and Poe-like gloomy. Some
interesting staging effects. Lucia and Enrico have their
duet in her bedroom, where it is obvious that she and
Edgardo have had a tumble in the sheets prior to his
leaving (And::: - in a surprise move of indiscretion, the
program notes coyly mention the affair between Ricciarelli
and Carreras! - "They remained lovers for 13 years and sang
many performances together, among them this Lucia, warmed
by their love" !!! So don't tell anyone. Be nice and
respect their privacy.)
Just as Edgardo is about to sing "Tu che a Dio spiegasti,"
a curtain rises, and Lucia, dead on her bed, is there; he
finishes his scene by stabbing himself and topples in death
at her side. A nice touch, actually.
Despite my frustrated reservations, this really is a very
fine performance, in many respects, much better than most
I've seen. It remains a bittersweet document of the "could
have been" aspect of the 2 leads. Still - you don't get
this kind of Lucia and Edgardo much these days, and the
luxury of having two such artists and voices is still a
tantalizing lure, and I'm sure I'll return to it from time
M. S. Davis | Sydney, Australia | 09/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After reading Toni Bernhard's review I bought this disc. This is a really fabulous Lucia, although it is 1982 and both Carreras and Ricciarelli are both past their best they are still great. Ricciarelli's "Mad Scene" is magnificent both in her singing and her acting, the "Verranno a te" duet is first class as is the rest of the opera. Ermanno Lorenzi's Normanno is excellent and John Paul Bogart's Raimondo is absolutely superb, the orchestra under Lamberto Gardelli was magnificent, but one would expect nothing less from this great maestro, his detail in the orchestration is up to his best standard which is always superb. The picture is not as good as it could have been but it is still very watchable, I would have thought that in the transfer to DVD some of the long breaks between scenes and Acts would have been cut, they are a bit annoying at times. Overall this is a fabulous Lucia, forget that there are no subtitles, all the cast in this production paid really great attention to the pronunciation of the words so they are eminently understandable, buy yourself a libretto and learn the principal arias first then gradually learn the rest of the libretto it will be well worth your time and effort.
A marvelous performance from all concerned, congratulations."
The Love Duet is Unforgetable
Colston | Las Vegas | 01/18/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Every time I play this DVD, I never fail to demand an encore immediately after the love duet. Of course, all I had to do is to play back electronically. The Ricciarelli-Carreras duet is emotion-packed. It is so addictive I have to play back at least once. They must have sung this many, many times together, and know the love that Walter Scott intended. Ricciarelli's Mad Scene is arresting, with admirable emotional impact. She is superb. The final scene with Carreras' soliloquies is an impassioned performance. He delivers an aura of pain intended by Donizetti. Of the famous Three Tenors, Carreras has always been my favorite. This DVD demonstrates why.
If there is a disappointment to this DVD, it is the audience. With a handful of exceptions, the audience seem to be mostly neuter genders, oblivious to this heart-wrenching performance. The disappointment is even obvious on the faces of the performers as they line up to acknowledge the passive applause at the end. These artists know this is one of the best performances ever! The audience do not."
The best Lucia di Lammermoor on DVD.
Abel | Hong Kong | 12/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was recorded live back in 1982. For the past 27 years, believe it or not, no other video of this opera has managed to surpass this one.
The immense success of this live performance that wasn't really 'properly' recorded (there was no subtitles, no libretto, plain track description only, no photos)lies solely on the performance itself.
The performers are ALL so good...Katia Ricciarelli is simply the most convincing Lucia on video - blonde, sweet, vulnerable, resolute...and with one of the most beautiful bel canto singing to boot. Some reviewers here pointed out that in this performance, Ricciarelli was already past her vocal prime. I can testify to this fact, but even so, her portrayal of Donizetti's Lucia did not suffer significantly, though it is noted that the Mad Scene here was being cut short.
Title role apart, the two male leads in the form of Leo Nucci's Enrico and Jose Carreras's Edgardo really made this performance a 'must see'.
Nucci is the perfect Enrico - unscrupulous, schemy, yet still caring for his sister. His suppression of conscience as the story moves on was so well portrayed in this performance that his was the definitive Enrico todate.
Jose Carreras's Edgardo similarly boasts as being one of the best ever. Edgardo's pathos in this drama was so well carried through vocally that there is no other top tenor ever could surpass. Added onto this is the all-time wonderful visual portrayal by Carreras - his acting was so ardent, so real that even stones would weep, as one reviewer pointed out here.
Lamberto Gardelli led the orchestra in one of the best ever renditions of this opera. The musical drama from the pit follows the vocalists on stage as if hand in glove. Much credit also goes to the director, who did a truly wonderful job in synchronising the musical drama with the theatrical drama, some thing that is so seldom seen these days any more."