Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Verdi - I due Foscari / Nello Santi - Nucci La Scola Pendatchanska - Teatro di San Carlo Napoli|
Actors: Leo Nucci, Vincenzo La Scola, Alexandrina Pendatchanska, Danilo Rigosa
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
DARK AND RATHER GLOOMY BUT NOT BORING
GEORGE RANNIE | DENVER, COLORADO United States | 02/25/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Of all of Verdi's "unknown" operas, I Due Foscari is probably the least known. Its fate was not helped by Verdi's opinion that it was so dark and gloomy that it was rather boring. Yes, the opera is very dark but it is not, to me, boring providing that there has been assembled three excellent singers to sing the lead roles as has been done in this performance. It is my favorite of Verdi's "unknown" operas. I was reminded of that fact upon viewing this wonderful performance of the work that was taped at the theater of San Carlo and was led by Nello Santi who gives one the feeling that Verdi "runs in his blood". I first became acquainted with I Due Foscari on a Philips recording in the 1980s that features Jose Carreras and Katia Ricciarelli--both in their vocal prime. This new performance of the opera is as good, if not better, than that performance. Three exceptional singers have been assembled--Vincenzo LaScola, Leo Nucci and that fabulous spinto-soprano Alexandrina Pendatchanska all able to meet every vocal challenge that Verdi throws at them.
The director, of this production, does not "invent" action for the singers to perform because, in actuality, there is not very much action in the opera--tenor, baritone die, soprano begs for help from father-in-law, etc) Just beautiful music (some of the most beautiful orchestra music Verdi ever wrote--listen to the beginning of Act II). The director simply allows the singers to, more or less, "stand and deliver" and these singers DO deliver!! (By the way, this production has some of the loveliest scenery and makes us of the some of the most beautiful colors that I have ever seen in any opera production--gorgeous!)
Vincenzo LaScola, as Jacopo Foscari, is really an under-rated and under-appreciated tenor! His singing in this opera is awe-inspiring. He delivers some of the most beautiful mezza-voce that I have ever heard. There is also power, feeling and great vocal control in everything that he sings in this performance.
Leo Nucci, as Francesco Foscari, has been singing for what now seems like forever. I think that he is rather taken for granted as an artist; however, he gives an overwhelming performance in this opera--vocally and dramatically. His final scene, rightfully, brings the house down.
Alexandrina Pendatchanska has to be one of the most exciting sopranos around these days! Although this opera demands less of her dramatically than her knock-out performance as Elizabeth in the DVD of Donizetti's Roberto Devereux, she is, nevertheless, vocally stunning, as Lucrezia Contarini (Jacopo's wife) in this performance. She is simply fabulous--why she is not singing the Verdi spinto-soprano roles in the large opera houses, I don't know. Hopefully, she is building her career slowly; after all, she is still very young!
Do yourself a favor and become acquainted with one of Verdi's lesser-known, but beautiful operas, by buying this DVD. If you love Verdi, as I do, you will love it!"
I Due Foscari & Nucci: A Brilliant Performance
Richard MacMichael | Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada | 11/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Verdi's I Due Foscari has, in my opinion, been unjustly neglected over the years. True, the story is extremely gloomy but the music is superb, foreshadowing the many glories to come while avoiding the bombast that often appears in Verdi's earlier works such as Nabucco and Attila. The baritone part is particluarly rewarding but all three principals have the chance to make their mark. The performance on this DVD comes from the Teatro San Carlo in Naples and features the excellent baritone Leo Nucci as the elderly Doge of Venice, Francesco Foscari. Nucci is one of those rare artists who throws himself completely into his roles. His Rigoletto at the Metropolitan in New York was absolutely amazing. As the father who must exile his own son, there is no chance for bluster or bombast just quietly expressed grief and terrible sadness. The Doge's openening solo is spun with beautiful tone and his final denunciation of the Council of Ten quite rightly draws a huge ovation from the audience. There are no typically grand operatic gestures here and Nucci's dignity and restraint are perfectly suited to the old man's plight.As the Doge's unfortunate son, Vincenzo La Scola sings with a lovely sense of line and would shame some of the so-called supertenors in that he actually sings quietly from time to time. This is probably just as well as a steady beat enters the voice when La Scola tries to beef up his tone. His acting is also restrained as befits the situation.Alexandrina Pendatchanska is the least successful of the three leads but this has more to do with her character. The wife of the soon-to-be-exiled tenor spends the entire opera really, really, really angry and it's hard to gain sympathy when you're always cranky. Her voice is large and has that nice Slavic ping but she too displays a heavy beat when the voice is forced. Her acting is also affected by the part as she seems to spend the whole evening looked extremely annoyed. Verdi could have done better with the role. The stage direction is pretty dull. The director has the chorus in two lines, with the Council of Ten in a little box half way up the backstage wall so there isn't much interaction with the leads. One gets the impression that the three principal singers were also left to their own devices, Nucci and La Scola delight with some beautiful little moments and expressions, while the
soprano just glares at the audience. A more sumptuous, old style production,such as the one mounted at La Scala this year would have been a better vehicle for the baritone and tenor.The veteran conductor Nello Santi leads the orchestra with very good results. There is one occasion where the chorus and orchestra get out of step but otherwise, Santi has the show running smoothly. You'd expect nothing less from a professional of his calibre.The sound and picture quality are superb and the direction for DVD is excellent.A few minor quibbles aside,this is a masterful performance and one hopes that the Met will stage this opera for Nucci in the near future. In a perfect world, he could be joined by La Scola and either Renee Fleming or Maria Guleghina. Santi could conduct and the production should be designed by Del Monaco in the vein of the Met's excellent Simon Boccanegra.For anyone who would enjoy a wonderful night at the opera featuring some truly wonderful singing from one of the finest baritones on the stage today, I highly recommend this DVD."
Superb 'Foscari' from the San Carlo
Gerard Fagan | Dublin Ireland | 06/09/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Anyone who invests in the TDK DVD of 'I Due Foscari is in for a real treat. When the camera is not fixed on the stages it roams around the theatre giving the viewers a chance to admire the theatres sumptuous decor. Leo Nucci as Doge Foscari is simply magnificent presenting an admirable portrayal of a heartbroken father. If he is less successful at portraying the majesty of the doge he cannot be blamed. It is very hard to be majestic when you have curtain material for your dogal robes. Alexandrina Pendatchanska as Lucrezia Contarini has the dramatic power of Maria Callas but is mercifully free of that lady's wobble. Vincenzo La Scola as Jacopo sings magnificently and easily outacts Alberto Cupido(of the La Scala performance)Nello Santi adopts some annoying cuts but conducts what's left of the opera well. In fact the cuts have cost this performance the fifth star I would otherwise have given it"
Only for experienced Verdi-philes
wvmcl | Washington, D.C. | 09/12/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If you are new to Verdi, I would stay away from this one. Go for one of the DVD releases of RIGOLETTO, IL TROVATORE, or UN BALLO IN MASCHERA. This one has some fine music and singing, but lacks the dramatic punch and intensity of those works. Like Verdi himself did, I found it a bit on the dull side. But those who already know Verdi's core operas will want to take a look at this lesser-known work. The principal singers are certainly superb. Pendatchanska is one of those formidable Slavic sopranos you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley. The production, which seems to have been made for Italian television, has one annoying flaw. Although the sound is generally good, the microphones are so sensitive that they pick up a lot of extraneous noise, including a whispering line prompter who is clearly audible in many scenes."