Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Verdi - Simon Boccanegra / Elder Sidhom Borowski Glyndebourne Festival Opera|
Actors: London Philharmonic Orchestra, David Rendall, Elena Prokina, Peter Sidhom, Daniel Borowski
Director: Peter Hall
Genres: Musicals & Performing Arts
14th-century Genoa is the setting for one of Verdi?s grandest works, Simon Boccanegra, and Peter Hall?s elegant production, with its palpable sense of atmosphere evoked by John Gunter's sets and costumes, captures perfectl... more »
Dominic | New York, NY | 08/25/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Anyone familiar with the works of Verdi knows that Simon Boccanegra was one of the final steps to what experts call the composer's "mature period." It is an opera with one of the most complicated (not to mention daring) plots he employed, and requires a full fledged cast of virtuoso singers in the lead roles (baritone, three bassi, soprano, tenor), and numerous other small roles. Thus, it requires an imaginative and talented opera company, orchestra, and list of talented musicians.
This Glyndebourne Festival production of Simon Boccanegra tries to impress with their usual grandiose sets and idealistic interpretations, but to me, it didn't amount to much and, more importantly, didn't compensate for the lack of presence from the leads. Giancarlo Pasquetto as Boccanegra should demand attention and exude power---he did nothing more than occasionally pace and shout; all that aside from the fact that his (too) quick vibrato and muffled intonation (from an Italian at that!) muffled his character. The Fiesco of Alastair Miles was a only a bit better, with in my opinion, the only good performances coming from David Rendall (the small tenor role as Gabriele Adorno), Peter Sidhom (Paolo, the scheming thug), and Elena Prokina (as Amelia) who almost always shines in her roles (look for her as Tatiana in Eugene Onegin this year at SF Opera). The saving grace for these singers is Mark Elder, who conducts the London Philharmonic and generally keeps everything together.
Apart from the actual musical aspect, the production just plain bored me. The prologue is extremely slow (even amidst the excitement of Boccanegra being appointed Doge), and the acting was horrendous. Pasquetto(Boccanegra) and his rival Miles (Fiesco) have some of the most important music in the opera, yet during these strife-filled moments, they seem to be deathly afraid of showing any kind of theatric expression (seriously, just look at Pasquetto's face on the front cover of the DVD's stock photo). The movements of the whole cast were machine-like and forced, and there was no chemistry whatsoever. You know how well you did by the reaction of the crowd---result: polite clapping. A good operatic production requires great music, wonderful stage presence, and a better than average take on the story. You barely get the first with this DVD, and the second two aren't even close.
As for the DVD itself---Kultur doesn't give much, with very few extra features, and nothing more than average audio transfer. Pass on this one---a much better choice would be either of the Met productions (esp. with Levine; Domingo/Chernov/Te Kanawa), or even the "blue" production from La Scala (with Abbado; Guelfi, Mattila, and Konstantinov).