Notes and Editorial Reviews
NABUCCO - Wiener Staatsoper, 2001
Leo Nucci (Nabucco)
Maria Guleghina (Abigaille)
Giacomo Prestia (Zaccaria)
Miroslav Dvorský (Ismaele)
Marina Domashenko (Fenena)
Goran Simic (Il gran sacerdote di Belo)
Walter Pauritsch (Abdallo)
Renate Pitscheider (Anna)
Chor und Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper
Fabio Luisi, conductor
Günter Krämer, stage director
Sound: DD 5.1, DTS 5.1, PCM-Stereo
Picture format: 16:9 anamorphic
Region: 0 (all)
Running time: 126 minutes
Booklet languages: English, German, French
Subtitle languages: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish
Nabucco - the complex story of Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon, who proclaims himself God and is thereupon afflicted with madness - was Giuseppe Verdi’s big break-through operatic work and it remains a success with audiences. It also features one of the most famous of all opera choruses, “Va, pensiero...“, which came to symbolize various European peoples’ quest for freedom in the 19th century and has survived as a tune know to more than just opera lovers.
TDK presents a DVD recording of an excellent staging of Verdi’s masterpiece from the state opera in Vienna in 2001. The opera had not been staged at the famous Viennese house since its Austrian premiere in 1843. The new production was greatly acclaimed by the media for both the musical interpretation and the staging and has already found its way into the international history of Nabucco performance.
Italian conductor Fabio Luisi, known to the Vienna opera audience for a series of premieres of the Italian repertoire - Fedora, Stiffelio, Guillaume Tell, La Favorite, Falstaff - was in charge of the musical direction of this production. He freed the music from the banalities that had become part of the performance practice and converted them into expressive musical means.
The renowned director Günter Krämer, who had already presented a definitive production of Fromental Halévy’s La juive in Vienna in 1999, was entrusted with this production of Nabucco. He paid particular attention to the interpersonal component of the opera, with the conflict-ridden king’s loss of power forming the central focus. In contrast to the countless opulent productions of this opera, he concentrated on fine symbolism and depth.
The nearly empty stage (set design: Manfred Voss & Petra Buchholz) holds little furniture; only glass showcases, the royal sword and crown and a small children’s theatre, together with Hebrew writings projected onto the dark, curving horizon. The sparse set inevitably turned the focus onto the characters, turning the opera into a family saga: the tragedy of a mighty ruler, whose daughters fight for his favour in order to inherit his power.
The political dimension of the plot is presented through the interpretation of Nabucco as a smart modern populist and demagogue wrapped in fine clothe. The production also makes the age-old threat, that the Jewish people have faced for centuries visual. The costumes represent the Eastern European Jewish population before the holocaust and the photographs of men, women and children that the chorus carries to in protest strike as pictures of Jewish people murdered in World War II.
The singers were all a great success, beginning with Leo Nucci as Nabucco, who has been well known to Viennese and international audiences alike for two decades. Critics commented on/praised His “fascinating timbre “and “intense and plausible acting” in Nabucco. Maria Guleghina, who took on the demanding part of Abigaille, has also enjoyed an international career for more than a decade. She appeared for the first time at the Vienna state opera in 1991. Marina Domashenko was showered with praise in the role of Fenena for her “beautiful, warm mezzo voice, noble in phrasing” and “resplendent high notes”. In his successful Vienna debut as Zaccaria, Giacomo Prestia received praise for his “powerful and penetrating” bass voice. Miro Dvorsk?, who has been acclaimed in roles of the Italian repertoire, sang the part of Ismaele.
Works on This Recording
Nabucco by Giuseppe Verdi
Leo Nucci (Baritone),
Maria Guleghina (Soprano),
Marina Domashenko (Mezzo Soprano),
Giacomo Prestia (Bass),
Goran Simic (Bass),
Renate Pitscheider (Soprano),
Miroslav Dvorsky (Tenor),
Walter Pitscheider (Tenor)
Vienna State Opera Chorus,
Vienna State Opera Orchestra
Written: 1842; Italy
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