Pregardien a shame
figaro | Eugene, OR United States | 04/04/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This video would be much more enjoyable were it not for the disappointing performance from Pregardien. He seems to have very little control in the passagio, is constantly forced to go to mezza-voce, and is off-key on quite a few notes.
That being said, it's almost worth buying this video for Susan Graham's Sesto. Her singing in the role is simply a dream. I also enjoyed Naglestad quite well, and the Servilia. The Annio, I personally enjoyed very much, but she was off-key a few times. (And her hair-do was stupid.)
The production was generally tasteful, with just a few super-weird bits thrown in. I could have sworn I saw a baked-potato roll by with a human being sitting in the cut-open, buttery part. Then it went away, and nothing else so absurd seemed to happened. A couple times Vitellia seemed to be eating fruit from off the floor and she applied some war-paint to her face while Sesto sang, 'Parto, parto...', but other than these brief oddities, and Annio's hair, everything seemed fairly normal - a semi-modern setting and aesthetically pleasant enough.
Whoever hired Pregardien for this gig made a sad mistake though. It really would have been nice to have a better rounded-out cast to back up Graham's peerless Sesto. I would recommend the DVD with Schade in the title role over this one, because while Kasarova is not at all as sweet-voiced as Graham, the entire show is more evenly cast and well-sung.
BTW, the Publio is almost as bad as Pregardien in this one also."