Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Ponchielli - La Gioconda / Voigt Fiorillo Podles Margison Guelfi Colombara Callegari Pizzi |
Gran Teatre del Lieu
Actors: Deborah Voigt, Ewa Podels, Elisabetta Fiorillo, Carlo Guelfi, Carlo Colombara
Director: Pier Luigi Pizzi
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
La Gioconda at the Liceu
T. C. | 09/16/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ponchielli was a contemporary of Verdi. Arrigo Boito, the composer of the opera Mefistofele, and the librettist of Verdi's Simon Boccanegra and his two final masterpieces, Otello and Falstaff, wrote the libretto for this opera. La Gioconda is a beautiful opera although not on the level of Verdi's best scores. But it contains a few hits like the soprano beautiful aria Suicidio or the tenor very famous aria Cielo e mar. The baritone act one monologue O monumento is very close to Jago's Credo monologue in Verdi's opera. And there is of course the very famous and charming Dance of the hours...
I am quite familiar with the works of the Italian director Pier Luigi Pizzi from a few DVDs of his staging that I have. I like his working method. His stage is never overcrowded and beautified a la Zeffirelli. But it is always very aesthetic and does not have a ragged look either like in the work of a few German directors that I have seen lately... there are a few ravishingly scenes, like the burning in the ship that closes Act II. The conductor Daniele Callegari is doing a fine job and the Liceu orchestra is playing splendidly.
Deborah Voigt is singing the title role. I am not completely convinced that her voice and singing is ideal for the Italian repertoire, but I liked what I heard and was especially impressed in the big ensembles when the voice is heard clearly over the loud chorus and orchestra. The Suicidio aria was done decently, but I heard better versions.
In the leading tenor role of Enzo Grimaldo was singing the Canadian tenor Richard Margison. The voice is beautiful in the lower range, but the high notes are forced. The great hit Cielo e mar was fine but not brilliant. His lover, Laura was sung by Italian Mezzo Elisabetta Fiorillo. She is fine. So is her husband Alvise, sung here by the very good Italian bass Carlo Colombara. Italian baritone Carlo Guelfi sings here the baritone role, Barnaba. He is an experienced performer, but I heard better rendering of this role. His O monumento monologue is very effective. Last is Gioconda mother La Cieca. She was sung here by Polish contralto Ewa Podles. She is a great artist with an impressive stage presence and good acting abilities, but alas, her voice here is not in good shape. I hardly recognized her voice, but the audience loved her performance...
And a few final statements about the dance of the hours: the way it is done here is absolutely charming: twelve female dancers in colorful dresses to indicate the months (?). The solo couple, Ángel Corella and Letizia Giuliani is nothing less than amazing!! The audience went crazy after the dance, with very loud and long applause.
To sum up: this is not an ideal performance, but it has its fine moments. I liked it. Technical quality is first class. There is another DVD version for this opera that was filmed in 1985 at the Vienna state opera with Marton and Domingo. This version remains first choice for this opera on DVD overall, but the spectacular Dance of the Hour at the Liceu is far superior to the one from Vienna!!
Best Gioconda on DVD or VHS
Daniel G. Madigan | Redmond, WA United States | 12/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Excellent conducting, wonderful Deborah Voight, and all other principles make for a gripping experience of this often ridiculed opera. The Cieca, Barnaba, Enzo, Alvize..all are superbly sung, and this is a very demanding opera on all voices..but here there is sheer beauty and high drama and high notes in all the designated places, not short tops with Deborah Voight, ever!
Since Voght has lost so much weight, she acts with great force, and her voice now has those high notes, heretofore not focused at all.
The sets are very sparse, but it really is the vocal drama that dominates this, and here it is very compelling.
There are other versions, but this is the best, and there are CD versions to match..especially Callas' La Gioconda and Marton's on CBS. Avoid tat Umana one, but Placido Domingo is great.
Buy this and revel in the romance and the vendetta and that blazinbg final scene..all there before you in tantalizing sound!"
A Good, Not Great, Gioconda
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 11/02/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ponchielli's La Gioconda is exceedingly difficult to mount, largely because it requires six principal singers who are not only larger than life but required to sing very difficult music. There is no completely satisfying CD set of the opera, and the same is, alas, true of the choice of DVDs. This one has some things to recommend it, not least the stylish, almost minimalist but still traditional staging and sets by Pier Luigi Pizzi. Among the singers the standouts are the Barnaba of Carlo Guelfi and the Alvise of Carlo Columbara. Ewa Podles's La Cieca has its moments, but there are also some passages where the voice turns a bit fuzzy. Her acting was excellent, however. The Laura of Elisabetta Fiorillo is frankly negligible, both vocally and histrionically.
Which brings us to the main characters, Gioconda and Enzo Grimaldo. The Canadian tenor Richard Margison is a fine dramatic tenor and his performance overall is quite good, and I found his 'Cielo e mar' to be stirring. He is not a great actor, but the noble and stalwart character of Enzo doesn't really require much in the way of subtlety. This performance was recorded in 2005 and Deborah Voigt, the Gioconda, had lost a good amount of weight but it sounds as if her voice had not quite settled with the change in her body. Still, the voice rides above the ensemble when necessary. Her big aria, 'Suicidio', is not a triumph, however; there is a husky quality that creeps into the voice during that so-important dramatic third act aria. Otherwise, she was a believable and generally enjoyable Gioconda, especially in the lyrical passages.
By far the high point of this production is the Dance of the Hours in Act III. Choreography is by Gheorghe Iancu and it is utterly charming. Basically there is a corps de ballet of twelve women representing the twelve hours of the day and night and two soloists, Ángel Corella and Letizia Giuliani, the latter virtually topless. The solo dancers' choreography is both virtuosic and erotic. There is no doubt about why the audience went crazy at the conclusion of the dance. And it deserved all the applause it got.
The orchestra of Barcelona's Teatre del Liceu, under Daniele Callegari, is excellent and they are particularly good in the gossamer passages of the Dance of the Hours.
This is not the ultimate Gioconda but it will do until something better comes along.
Two DVDs. LPCM Stereo, DD 5.1, DTS 5.1. Subtitles in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish. Region code 0 (not 2 as listed at Amazon). TT 174 mins.
Scrutinizing "La Gioconda"
Guntram | PR,Brazil | 11/25/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Let's do some justice here;there aren't many grounds to stage such an ordinary opera and its ridiculous plot just as "La Gioconda" surely is.A fine and powerful soprano performing the title role would be a strong reason to do that.You must to hear the thing at live once to catch that;clearly,Deborah Voigt's straussian voice is a challenge to the best of sound engineers,especially in its top register.So,I agree to Mr. Mardigan and maybe some of rewiewers bellow should scrutinize their stereo systems,then turn over and over again the Barcelona production in order to discover an infallible,golden tone-Gioconda that puts on shame most of Voigt's so acclaimed predecessors on this atrocious part.Especially amazing is her performance on final act;there aren't a single evidence of weariness in her voice,not even on that kind-of-coloratura duetto with Barnaba on last bars of the score.The only reason to one regrets would be her decision on devotes herself to such a poor music like this one(oh,please;go back to R.Strauss!).Anyway,besides the pleasure to watch her video premiére just here,my opinion is that Barcelona team provides an enjoyable performance,well staged with "gondolas" and beautiful wardrobe.Margison sings a fine Enzo,even it's hard a bit to conceive a bald and some overweight leading man in these High-Def times.Guelfi,Podles and the conductor are just ok if not all that great but Liceo's audience was very kind about its "La Cieca" that evening.Seconda Donna,Elizabetta Fiorillo runs attempting "to get the better of" for trying to crumble her colleagues so obviously.However her old fashioned singing and acting are just a gross performance of Laura Adorno;honestly,I was satisfied because she's sleeping most of time.Orchestra plays just "on average";my former Liceo dvd experiences(Wagner,Britten)and this one are not the best ones;surely there are problems to solve,especially on horns section.Much better was its big chorus and the couple of principal naked dancers."