VERDI: Simon Boccanegra
OFFENBACH: Orpheus in der Unterwelt
Soprano Edita Gruberova continues to amaze with her combination of longevity (she made her operatic debut in 1968 as Rosina in The Barber of Seville) and quality of performance. This DVD is her first staged Norma and she is mightily impressive in this demanding role. I doubt any other soprano today could sing Norma as commandingly and tonally secure as what is heard here. This is a splendid Norma throughout, with superb singers to complement Gruberova. Jürgen Rose's direction, costumes and lighting work well, with sets that are rather bleak. Brian Large did his usual fine job as video director, and the 5.1 sound is effective. An 11-minute "bonus" describes preparation for this Munich production. This is a worthy addition to the DVD catalog, but those who love Norma surely will wish to investigate the incredible 1974 live performance from France starring Montserrat Caballé at her very best (see REVIEW).
This Vienna State Opera performance of
Simon Boccanegra was filmed in October 2002. Directed by Peter
Stein with sets by Stefan Mayer and costumes by Moidele Bickel, it is
in Florence, with Claudio Abbado on the podium (see REVIEW).
The Vienna performance marked the first appearance
of Thomas Hampson in the title role. Both the Florence and Vienna casts
were excellent if not outstanding, although there is no question that
Karita Mattila is far superior to Gallardo-Domas.
traditional sets and costumes should investigate the DGG Metropolitan
Opera performance conducted by James Levine with Robert Lloyd, Kiri Te
Kanawa, Plácido Domingo and Vladimir Chernov.
R.E.B. (May 2007)