Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Puccini - La Fanciulla del West / Santi Domingo Neblett Royal Opera Covent Garden|
Actors: Placido Domingo, Carol Neblett, Silvano Carroli, Francis Egerton, Robert Lloyd
Director: John Vernon
Genres: Drama, Musicals & Performing Arts
La Fanciulla del West, Puccini's penultimate opera is based on a play by David Belasco set at the height of the notorious California gold rush. The composer took three years to complete the work, which, for him, marked a n... more »
An Interesting Second La Fanciulla
Lee Gremillion | Minneapolis, MN | 12/08/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If you only want to own one DVD of La Fanciulla, then the La Scala production is clearly the one to buy. If nothing else, its cinematography is vastly superior to this Covent Garden production, and its sound recording is better, too. But for those of us who can't get too much Puccini, this production makes for an interesting exercise in compare and contrast.The two productions are similar in terms of the stature of the principal singers, the orchestra and chorus (which is very important in La Fanciulla), and the sets and costumes. This Royal Opera production is, as far as I can tell, the only DVD opera that features Carol Neblett. It's of interest, therefore, if only to see her portray Minnie, one of her signature roles. Also interesting are some of the decisions the director made in this production. It is played with very broad gestures -- Silvano Carroli, for example, plays Jack Rance as a swaggering Snidely Whiplash. He and Neblett wrestle several times as he attempts to impose his affections on her and she resists. Juan Pons and Mara Zampieri are restrained by comparison at La Scala. Placido Domingo plays Johnson/Ramirez in both productions, so you can see how his interpretation changes over time and in response to the different direction. He too has toned it down a bit in the later production.Somewhat amusingly, this production is at times politically incorrect, as in Act 1 when it repeatedly has Indians stealing whiskey when the white man turns his back. And Gwynne Howell turns up as Jake Wallace wearing blackface! I guess that's what you get when you have a British opera company in 1983 interpreting how an Italian composer in 1910 portrayed California in the 1850's."
I'm In The Minority Here
G. Stefan Lazar | San Francisco, CA USA | 12/10/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Overall I loved this performance, especially the performances of Domingo and Neblett. Yes, she may have been overtaxed in the role at times, but for me the chemistry between the two of them was wonderful. He with a soft edged machismo and she as the tough woman in the wild west but with an obvious feminine side. I found both the characters very believable. Carolli was acceptable but not great. Wish it had been Milnes as in the recording on the DGG CD. The production values are good but the age of this recording shows. It definitely does not have the sharpness of more modern recordings. I've not seen the La Scala DVD mentioned here but I've heard it on CD and while Domingo is as good as always, I find Zampieri's voice just plain ugly."
Spinto | ct | 10/25/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This production, to me, fails to fire like the metropolitan broadcast with Domingo and Milnes 9 years later. It seemed as if none of the leads of the leads could match the level of Domingo in a marginally effective staging.
As i said Domingo is excellent. As an actor, no one can touch him. He looks youthful and sounds wondeful as Dick johnson. Chella mi Creda is a treasure, I can only wish that the Covent Garden audience would clap for anything. ( I love going to the opera because of the spontaneous atmosphere, with clapping and bravi ect... I cant stand it when an aria finished and, after a tense silence, the music goes on. The same is true for the 1975 ballo in Maschera with Domingo. This is a minor complaint, yet something I cant understand about English opera houses.)
Carol Neblett is a poor Minnie. the role tazes her terribly and she fails to be a convincing actress, due to her struggle with the role. My biggest complaint is that her high note climaxes are often at a slighter volume than her low notes. this does not suggest she has no voice, because she does have a beautiful voice. Minnie, however, is beyond her instrument.
I disagree with the Amazon reviewer who said Carolli makes a wonderful villain. His performance is very one dimensional. He wears an absurd, spotless tuxedo with a mink coat (surrounded by men in filthy rags.) It is true that Carolli makes an evil Rance, but there is no pathos or pain in the performance. Milnes makes you feel Rance's pain and desperation, his lust and emptyness. Carolli is just a bully. his voice is passable, but is smaller than domingo's often covered by the orchestra.
The rest of the production iis very good, the sets are picturesque ect... But go with the Met production with Domingo, it is much more convincing."
Old-Fashioned Night at the Opera
David Cady | Jersey City, NJ USA | 08/07/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This "Fancuilla" is a bit of a mixed bag, an old-fashioned, no frills production, conducted and directed moderately well. Neblett, singing a signature role, is a bit melodramatic at times, and hits some of her high notes by force of sheer will. A not particularly pretty sound. Domingo, on the other hand, is magnificent. Dashing in appearance, passionate and sexy, he sings gloriously throughout. The DVD's overall sound is not all that good -- it was filmed, after all, way before the digital age. That said, I'm enjoying it very much, and can see myself happily pulling it out whenever I need a comforting Puccini/Domingo fix. This is a favorite opera of mine, and I'm not at all unhappy with the purchase."