Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Rossini - Tancredi / Bayo di Nissa Gimenez d'Arcangelo Bak Piscitelli Gelmetti Schwetzingen Festspiele|
Actors: Bernadette Manca di Nissa, Raul Gimenez, Maria Bayo, Ildebrando d'Arcangelo, Gianluigi Gelmetti
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
A Lovely Chamber Opera Presentation, and with Two Endings!
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 09/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"'Tancredi' was Rossini's first successful opera seria, premièring only three months before 'The Italian Girl in Algiers.' It was quite successful, but for a staging only a few months later he composed an alternate ending. So, there is both a tragic ending -- the one most often given these days -- and a happy ending. In the nineteenth century it was the happy ending that audiences most approved. In this 1992 presentation from the little jewel-box theater of the Schwetzinger Festspiele we get to see both endings. After a gloriously lugubrious tragic final scene, and after the cast and conductor take their bows onstage, conductor Gianluigi Gelmetti makes a little announcement (in Italian) that 'Rossini also wrote a happy ending,' and with that he strikes up the band and conducts the happy finale from the side of the stage. I must say that it is a charming idea, and is pulled off with real panache. It also gives us another opportunity to hear this wonderful cast sing yet more, and in some of Rossini's happiest music.
I kept thinking as I watched this performance that it was like watching something from Glyndebourne. Pier Luigi Pizzi's settings, costumes and stage direction are expert, particularly considering the static action of the opera itself -- most of the opera's action occurs offstage while onstage we have a succession of arias, duets, choruses and ensemble pieces. The music, of course, is by Rossini and that counts for a lot, but still this is not a very engaging opera action-wise. Pizzi manages his forces with characteristic grace and logic, however, and one is slowly drawn into the story of thwarted love, family enmity erased by a common enemy, mistaken intentions, and in the tragic ending the death of the title character.
Musically the production is superior. Tancredi, a coloratura mezzo (or contralto) role is taken brilliantly by Bernadette Manca di Nissa. While not quite in the class of Marilyn Horne, who owned this role in her heyday, Manca di Nissa has a beautiful voice with flexibility and fine command of nuance. She lacks the last little bit of metal in the voice that this warrior role calls for and which Horne supplied so generously. And her acting is a bit generic; one doesn't feel particularly threatened when she waves her sword about. The opera's most famous aria, 'Di tanti palpiti,' is thrilling. Maria Bayo as Tancredi's lover, Amenaide, is simply wonderful in a relatively thankless, and faceless, role. Her sweet soprano is used musically and intelligently. Occasionally in ensembles and at the top of her range her tone is swallowed up by the sound of orchestra and the other singers. This is a small quibble; this is not a Verdi soprano role after all. Young Polish soprano Kataryna Bak is excellent as Isaura. The men in the cast are really quite good. The then very-young bass Ildebrando d'Arcangelo acts and sings well. Raúl Giménez, the Argentine tenor who made a career of singing bel canto roles, is both believable and musically thrilling in the role of Amenaide's father, Argirio.
All told, then, this is a very good presentation of one of Rossini's opera serias. Rossini's biographer Stendhal counted it among Rossini's best; I wouldn't go that far, but then I am prejudiced in favor of Rossini's comedies, so perhaps that's just a matter of personal taste. This presentation certainly makes a good case for the opera, and I think its small-scale setting is a plus, particularly since it is a rather static opera that doesn't require a huge stage filled with action. As far as I know this is the only DVD version of the opera. There was a poor presentation from Trieste that was available and I've not seen it, but it didn't get very good reviews. As far as I know Horne never filmed a complete version of the opera.
TT=168 mins; PCM Stereo; Subtitles in English, Italian, French, Spanish, German. Picture format 4:3
figaro | Eugene, OR United States | 01/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The singing is just divine in this video, especially if you like well-delivered coloratura. The main problem with this video is the direction or lack there-of. I got the feeling there really was no stage director and found myself longing for someone to help these singers out a little. They seemed completely lost to any acting possiblities. The Tancredi and the Amenaide seemed to be trying to avoid each other as they wandered around the stage singing their lines to the walls rather than to each other. Plus I did not sense much passion from the singers, particularly the Tancredi. That might be a combination of Rossini's style and the lack of directing but I think other Tancredis I have heard sounded more committed to the role. Nevertheless, the video makes a very good sound recording plus you can a watch it a time or two and learn what the opera is about. The sets and costumes are pretty and traditional. Also, the singing of Raul Gimenez as Argirio is not to be missed - he's the tops - thrilling coloratura and a pretty voice. The Tancredi, Bernadette Manca di Nissa, has a nice rich sound, and the soprano and bass have lovely voices too. Good listening."
Well Worth Hearing; Watching Doesn't Hurt
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 10/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a very fine opera, with a very surprising and powerful ending (the disk also includes an alternate "happy" ending which has nothing to recommend it except curiosity). The singing is better than some reviewers suggest; perhaps they prefer bigger but less athletic voices. The staging is somewhat static, but the total musical effect is worth sitting still for."