Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Ponchielli - La Gioconda / Fischer Marton Domingo Wiener Staatsoper|
Actors: Eva Marton, Placido Domingo, Ludmila Semtschuk, Kurt Rydl, Margarita Lilova
Director: Hugo Käch
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
The Vienna State Opera's 1986 production of La Gioconda, Amilcare Ponchielli's only lasting success, was an increasingly rare event. The story--based on a long forgotten Victor Hugo drama--is an emotional roller coaster of... more »
A fine performance of consistently high quality.
Janos Gardonyi | Toronto, Ontario Canada | 11/17/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is the only DVD so far of this rather neglected opera . Its neglect is perhaps because it is formidably difficult to perform requireing six top quality singers in all vocal ranges and to paraphrase Alan Blyth,the British public's abhorrance to a strong melodrama such as this. However, it is still very popular in the U.S. , Italy and as we see,in Vienna. British neither here nor there, this is a highly satisfying work
both musically and dramatically. Strong passion is the key word: here we have everything, love, hate,evil, jealousy,gratitude,betrayal you name it. Setting:the picturesque but decadent 16th century Venice with its palazzos, islands and dead canals ,the very stuff of Romanticism. The music is very melodic in the
tradition of the great Verdi of his middle period. There definite echoes of "Un Ballo in Maschera"
and even " Otello" , but Ponchielli's music is no copy,it is original and he points forward to a new generation of opera composers.We ,of course musn't forget the excellent libretto by "Tobio Gorrio" (Arrigo Boito),Verdi's librettist in Otello and Falstaff.
This is a very fine performance, dating back to 1986, with sumptious , resplendent décor and
beautiful costumes in the traditional manner, probably best suited for this opera, not to mention the Vienna Philharmonic in the orchestra pit.
For the title role one usually thinks of the great sopranos (Tebaldi,Callas,Caballe) who tackled this role with memorable success. It is a very difficult role, encompassing a great range of range and emotion and dramatic acting. Eva Marton, though does't quite measure up to the stars mentioned, still gives a very satisfying performance especially the "Suicidio" aria. She is also great in the duets and assembly scenes, has a wonderful stage presence and passionate acting ability, which carries through her singing.
For the tenor lead, Placido Domingo is beyond praise. We are fortunate to hear a young Domingo
with a beautiful, strong , youthful and Italianate voice, magnificent throughout. The aria "Cielo e il mar" rarely sounded better.
The supporting roles are also splendid. Fortunately, Ponchelli wrote a lot of wonderful music for them. Just to mention the magnificently inspired second act with the mezzo Ludmila Semtchuk in two duets, one after the other, her voice is clear, strong and inspired - worthy of her predecessor the
great Marilyn Horne in the role of Laura. The evil, conniving Barnaba gets the famous aria "O monumento! " where we hear echoes of Jago's "Credo" in Otello. The cheated husband,
Kurt Rydl is suitably brutal and ruthless, although at this time his voice was somewhat higher than it is now. ( I saw him recently in the role of Osmin where his voice was much deeper)
It is good to see a young Adam Fischer conducting the VPO. He has since became world famous
specially with his recording of the complete Haydn symphonies. Here we see a sensitive young man working hard to bring out all the beauty of this score. He is quite successful, although an Italian conductor, like Gardelli has sounded more effortless and flowing and genuine.
By the way the famous ballet, Dance of the Hours, is beautifully danced and a treat to the eye and ear.The DVD sound somewhat favours the singers, and this is not quite fair to Adam Fischer.
All in all, a highly recommendable DVD. One last thing: the shoddy presentation by IMAGE is
deplorable. We are given one sheet of chapter headings in italian, no translation, no mention of who sings. For the price, we pay this DVD is treated like third rate Hollywood movie. For this I deduct a star."
Very nice performance -so was this really neccessary?
jgri | New York, NY, USA | 09/21/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a solid performance with a very good cast and orchestra throughout. But there is one curiosity: At the very end of Enzo's aria in the 2d act ("Cielo e mar") the music and the video do not fit together - in the video Domingo's phrasing is different from what you hear, the last note is also shorter than he actually seems to be singing it on stage. When I saw it the DVD the first time I was surprised by the seemingly delayed applause of the audience but it seems that the end of the aria was edited for the DVD, it is even possible to hear where the editing starts (a little clicking sound). I can only assume that the artist was not satisfied. But was editing really necessary, especially if it is so obvious? It seems somehow not honest on a DVD, showing a "live" opera performance. It would be interesting to hear the "original version"... But this should not keep you from choosing this recording which is otherwise very convincing."
Great singing, big production
C. Harbison | Montague, MA United States | 07/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The painted illusionistic sets are evocative, grand and (appropriately) a bit unreal. The singing is unformly good, if not in many cases great (especially Marton); conducting fine and lively. The costumes are an odd mixture of 16th and 19th century, again adding a rather surreal operatic touch. Altogether a grand performance of one of the most extreme grand operas."
Muy satisfactoria 'Gioconda'
Annio mozartiano ;) | España | 11/27/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Son bien sabidas de quienes conozcan esta opera de Ponchielli las dificultades que provoca llevarla a escena con resultados de nivel debido a las multiples dificultades que encierra la partitura (son nescesarias 5 primeras figuras del canto, un numero importante de secundarios, coro adulto, coro infantil y una nutrida orquesta, ademas de 5 cambios de escena). En esta version de la Opera de Viena, las espectativas se cumplen de manera satisfactoria y el resultado final es un espectaculo de calidad indiscutible.
Comenzamos con La Gioconda que recrea EVA MARTON, que a una voz bella y bien controlada une un dramatismo y una identificacion con el papel totales que la convierten en una interprete ideal del personaje: eso si, mas verista que belcantista. Junto a ella, otro tanto de elogios se pueden decir sobre el Enzo Grimaldo de PLACIDO DOMINGO, pletorico de voz y siendo una vez mas el gran actor que ha sido siempre. El malvado, Barnaba, esta aqui interpretado por MATTEO MANUGUERRA, que (como Marton, en linea mas verista que belcantista) canta perfectamente su parte y construye un personaje creible.
Como Laura Adorno, la mezzosoprano LIOUDMILA SEMSCHUCK es menos interesante que los tres anteriores, aunque esta correcta. Lo mismo puede decirse del Alvise Boadero de KURT RYDL (quiza hubiera sido deseable un bajo mas profundo) y algo mejor que los dos anteriores La Cieca de MARGARITA LILOWA.
La Orquesta y el Coro titulares del teatro se muestran como unos conjuntos muy ductiles, de calidad, muy bien controlados desde el foso por un ADAM FISCHER que concierta con acierto a todo el conjunto sin mayores problemas.
La puesta en escena es tradicional, sencilla y agradable: algo que se agradece en los tiempos actuales (no olvidemos que estamos ante una filmacion de los ultimos 80s)
En resumen, destacable version de una opera que no se conoce lo suficiente y que encierra una gran belleza que merece ser desenterrada por todos los amantes del genero. No se la pierdan."