La Forza del Destino in Verdi's panoramic tragedy of honor and vengeance in 18th Century Spain an dIntaly. Its characters, ranging from aristocrats to camp followers, from soldiers to monks. Leotyne Price's memorable perfo... more »rmance as leonora "can still bring tears to the eyes." "James Levine's conducting is full of drive and fire,"and "the grandeur of the magnificent score come through" New York Times This presentation of La Forza del Destino includes optional English subtitles and was taped during the March 24, 1984 performance at the Metropolitan Opera. No material was taken from rehearsals, other performances or remake recording sessions. Optional English Subtitles "a first class performance" -Washington Post« less
An Important MET Document With An Almost Perfect Cast
Scott Holmes | Wilmette, IL United States | 04/27/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This March 24, 1984 matinee performance of Forza Del Destino at the Met documents the old Eugene Berman production which premiered in 1952 with Milanov, Tucker, Warren and Siepi. The sets do not look their age (indeed they look far better than the many "concept" productions we are forced to sit through today) and the camerawork and lighting bring the opera vividly to life on the small screen. Now for the singing. Giacomini and Nucci are the big, "stand up and sing" voices needed in this opera and they deliver as promised. Some vocal insecurity from Giacomini toward the begining of the opera may be due to nerves -- but things improve as the opera proceeds. Isola Jones gives a sassy and vocally smokey interpretation of Preziosilla -- a role usually given almost to comprimarios today. As for Leontyne Price -- her devoted fans will bask in her vocal sumptuous performance. Admittedly, however, this is rather late Price and by this time in her career, while still vocally secure and shimmering, many, many mannerisms have crept into her interpretation that in the beginning of her career would never have been attempted or tolerated. Her over-employment of straight tone, exaggerated downward portamentos and occasional lack of rhythmic precision give this reviewer a great deal of trouble -- however, many of her steadfast fans will love this performance no matter what -- to each their own. David Stivender's then magnificent Met Chorus delivers some memorable moments: particularly the men in the monks scene with Leonora. Levine as usual conducts with masterful drive and sensitivity. Except for my stylistic reservations about Price,( and those may not affect you,) I highly recommend this Met Telecast on Pioneer for any serious opera lovers collection. Elektra and Lohengrin are rumored to be released soon. Keep them coming Pioneer -- only Elisir, Don Carlo and Troyens remain unreleased on DVD after that."
A 'Historic' Forza to Own:"La Splendissima" LIVE on VHS/DVD
Donizetti's Kid | NYC, NY United States | 02/28/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I attended this performance, and even allowing for individual quibbles with various artists heard on this DVD, I believe the sum of its parts are well worth the 'PRICE' of owning it.
This performance,taped live on a Saturday afternoon in 1983, presents the great American diva, soprano LEONTYNE PRICE in one of her most famous Verdi roles. Her performance, factoring in age(57), career(30+ yrs),& the AFTERNOON, is late vintage Price. Certain vocal mannerisms - a cloudy lower voice, sliding portamenti, and scooping - are indeed present in this performance (as they were in some degree since the late '70s). However, they hardly diminish either the vocal or dramatic impact that Ms. Price brings to this live performance. Her upper register, slightly weaker than before, still rings out minus any wobble and/or false pitches. She sings with beautiful dynamic shadings to accentuate the drama, and still floats pianissimi with little obvious effort. Indeed in this VERDI opera, most of those 'mannerisms' abet the drama, and always did for this particular artist! Ms. Price's performance as the tragic Leonora di Vargas here is heartfelt, passionate, and deeply moving. As there are no other full-length taped commercial opera performances available of this legendary soprano, this VHS/DVD is all the more treasurable for a glimpse of what made LEONTYNE PRICE the reigning Verdi soprano for the past 40 yrs! Tenor Giuseppe Giacomini, while more protean vocally, sings crudely, giving a loud, unsubtle, yet dramatically tenable portrayal of the unfortunate Don Alvaro, complete with a bawling middle, somewhat off-set by ringing high notes. Leo Nucci is a lightweight Verdi baritone, lacking the customary heft and tonal warmth associated with the role of Don Carlo di Vargas. He nonetheless produces exciting vocalism, enhanced by committed acting, and HIS thrilling high notes as well. Mezzo-soprano Isola Jones acts well, looks lovely, but is a barely adequate Preziosilla vocally, with a weak middle voice & a short top. Bonaldo Giaotti's portrayal of Padre Guardiano is somewhat stolid, but his basso is authoritative, and also is beautifully produced. Maestro James Levine's love & mastery of this sprawling masterpiece( the RCA CD version with Price/Domingo/Milnes is magnificent)is evident throughout, birnging clarity to the inherent contrasts between searing, private dramas, and all the lively interludes that occur on the battlefield and amongst the Italian countrysides. Overall,this is a very fine VHS/DVD to own - not the overall best taped performance (Tebaldi, Corelli, etc 1959)- but a Special one for those seeking a cohesive, modern performance of "La Forza del Destino", and starring one of its most celebrated artists, "La Splendissima" soprano Leontyne Price LIVE!! Note: A "cut" (the Soldier's Chorus) while regrettable, is hardly FATAL. Enjoy! "
Great performance, bad cuts.
andreslynn | SLC, UT | 04/04/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The only thing stopping me from giving this excellent DVD 5 stars is the 15 minute cut from the beginning of act 3 scene 2. I almost cried when I realized they had cut the famous soldiers chorus from act 3. Leontyne Price is exellent as is the rest of the cast. I highly recomend it, just brace yourself for the cuts."
Scott Holmes | 05/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First off all, one must remember this is a LIVE performance, and a very good one. It seems my fellow reviewers perfer the studio recording, which often come off a bit cold.I am an operatic dramatic tenor, and find the singing very good. As for the wonderful tenor Giuseppe Giacomini, of the school of Corelli, Del Monico, thank God! This is after all a dramatic tenor opera folks! Remember Richard Tucker? And do you know what it takes to sing Verdi? Not easy! The duets between the men are wonderful!What can be said about the great Leontyne Price? Will be There ever be another Spinto Soprano like her? What would we give for moment of her glory today?
So, BUY THIS! It's GREAT! BRAVO VERDI!"
What DVD were all these reviewers watching?
Robert Baksa | new york state | 09/18/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I am appalled by all the praise heaped on this DVD. There are many good things about most MET productions but often they utilize a big name who is well past their singing years. Why can nobody see that Price's performance is a DISASTER! We all remember her early recordings which were full of wonderful singing. But by the time this performance was taped she was less than a charicature of her former self. Her tone is often hollow, she approximates most of the melodic lines and doesn't bother with many consonances. Yes, its a shame we have nothing from her best years but lets admit that this the present performance is nothing to rave about. Like the MET Rigoletto which faltered on McNeil's long past retirement lead, this should never been released.
Sadly, here is another great work for which there is no really adequate performance on DVD. "