The diva and the clafté
Noam Eitan | Brooklyn, NY United States | 02/15/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is a document of a hysterical evening at La Scala. The atmosphere is charged, the singers thrive on the give-it-all-you've-got approach and the audiences goes wild rooting for its heroines. The attitude of the audience is part of the drama and they behave as if they came to cheer their local team. The boundaries between reality and the story are blurred on several levels. The drama has an element of a play within a play (within a play). The heroine is an admired actress, and the role is written as a showpiece for a great diva. The dramatic center of the action is her rivalry with a Princess, sung by the mezzo, over the attentions of the tenor. Acts II and III give the evening a flavor of an athletic competition between the mezzo and the soprano. Cossotto is my favorite mezzo in the Italian repertoire. She opens act II abruptly, singing-to-kill, oozing tormented vindictive maliciousness. The bitchiness is quite palpable, in the story and on stage. I saw Cossotto giving a master class in Israel, and she is quite a clafté. What she did to Callas at the Paris 65 Norma is now history. I don't like lyrical sopranos, and Freni is no exception, but this role is so physically and emotionally demanding that her efforts cannot leave anyone indifferent. Dvorsky produces appropriately heroic sounds worthy of Del Monaco (but with more feeling. This role however doesn't call for a display of his lyrical skills). Cilea is no Puccini. The emotions depicted are rather crude. Like the Cosi Fan Tutte from this source, the DVD has a poor VHS quality. It seems it was copied from a VHS, as you can't remove the subtitles and the picture is not well defined."
Michael Anthony Brenton | The Other Side of the Known Universe | 10/03/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you love not just OPERA, but REALLY OBSCURE OPERA, then you will enjoy this La Scala production of FRANCESCO CILEA's opera "ADRIANA LECOUVREUR." The story here is of the celebrated 18th century RIVALRY of the great actress Adriana Lecouvreur with the Princess of Bouillon for the LOVE of the Count of Saxony. However, the reason this opera is SELDOM PERFORMED is not because of the story, but rather because the lead SOPRANO has to really be at the heights of her power. Fortunately, La Scalla had MIRELLA FRENI at the height of her vocal maturity to sign the title role! Enjoy the SINGING of not only Freni but Peter Dvorsky, Fioneza Cossotto and Ivo Vinco!"
G. Golding | Seattle, WA | 04/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This Adriana is great one. Mirella Freni is not in her absolute best voice, but she still gives a knock out performance of a very spinto role. I heard her on a MET broadcast a few years later and she was in even better voice. I love it, and she acts the role very well. Ok, Scotto and Olivero are better actresses, but Freni certainly is above them in the voice category. She receives an amazing ovation at the end!
Gavazzeni is wonderful as the La Scala conductor. Dvorsky is good, but not wonderful. He does some severe forcing on his high notes but at least he is ardent. Cossotto is dramatic, though time has not been too kind to her instrument.
I love it, though......but after repeated viewings, I STILL don't completely understand the story. It's a shame that Freni was not chosen by Decca to record the role. That went to Joan Sutherland, who was well past her best. I still enjoy it, but Mirella would have been so much the better. Damn you Decca!"
For Freni Fans!
operamaryc | DIAMOND BAR, CA United States | 08/06/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this to remember seeing Freni perform this opera at The Met in person with a cast superior to this video. I loved her performance here, but was not impressed with the other cast members. This opera has one of the most beautiful arias in all of opera but the rest of the music is lovely but not as memorable. I admire Freni's technical strength and professionalism. She's never turned in anything but an impressive performance and this is no exception. If you love Freni, you'll love this video. If you aren't familiar with her, get her Butterfly instead. As with most La Scala productions, the quality of the recording and camera work is not as good as other venues, but acceptable. Probably the best video of this opera available."