Treat for Verismo Fans
Randy Buck | Brooklyn, NY USA | 05/29/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD of Giordano's short opera, MARCELLA, is a treat for those of us who love the full-blooded pleasures of verismo. A 1907 follow-up to CHENIER and FEDORA, MARCELLA failed to repeat their success, and has rarely been performed since. The length's part of the problem; at around an hour, it doesn't make for a full evening's entertainment. And there's nothing here to suggest an ideal coupling with another work, a la CAV and PAG; while pleasant enough, the material's suspiciously familiar to anyone who's seen an opera or operetta from the decades before and after the turn of the 20th century. In fact, it beggars the imagination to think three librettists were needed for a story any viewer, then or now, could've written in their sleep. Stages were littered for years with romances ruined by royal renunciations, and there's not much in the way of a novel twist to MARCELLA's rummage through these plot lines. This said, the production on view here, from the Valle D'Itria Festival, is perfectly servicable. The physical mounting's fine, the leads rip into their material as if we'd never heard anything like it before, and the hour passes quickly. This is second-rate Giordano (think third-rate Puccini), but the composer and these performers are expert in a style that still gives many of us great pleasure. Recommended."
A nice short Verismo opera
A. Lupu | Rochester, MN USA | 06/12/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This production goes to show that if you produce a not so famous and probably not the greatest opera in the world, the result can still be inspiring, delightful and very enjoyable. Marcella is a short opera. It seems more than a depiction of three situations: Found, Loved and Abandoned, than an elaborate plot. In fact many books, plots movies and operas can be also summarized with those three words. The music is melodic and easy to follow; the singers are very good in their singing and acting. The stage is minimal (low budget I assume), but the result is effective and conveys the opera to the audience with ease.
My kudos to the Festival that decided to stage this seldom produced opera. I strongly recommend this DVD to those opera lovers who would like to see and listen to a very enjoyable Verismo opera.