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Verdi: La Forza Del Destino / Urmana, Guelfi, Giordani, Mehta [blu-ray]

Verdi / Urmana / Guelfi / Giordani
Release Date: 03/26/2013 
Label:  Arthaus Musik   Catalog #: 108046  
Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Roberto ScandiuzziCarlo BosiVioleta UrmanaAlessandro Luongo,   ... 
Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale OrchestraFlorence Maggio Musicale Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  
Blu-ray Video:  $39.99
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Note: This Blu-ray Disc is playable only on Blu-ray Disc players, and not compatible with standard DVD players.

Also available on standard DVD

Giuseppe Verdi
(Blu-ray Disc Version)

Il Marchese di Calatrava – Duccio Dal Monte
Donna Leonora – Violeta Urmana
Don Carlo di Vargas – Carlo Guelfi
Don Alvaro – Marcello Giordani
Preziosilla – Julia Gertseva
Padre Guardiano – Roberto Scandiuzzi
Fra Melitone – Bruno de Simone
Curra – Antonella Trevisan
Un alcalde – Filippo Polinelli
Mastro Trabuco – Carlo Bosi
Un chirurgo – Alessandro
Read more Luongo

Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Chorus and Orchestra
(chorus master: Piero Monti)
Zubin Mehta, conductor

Nicolas Joël, stage director
Ezio Frigerio, set designer
Franca Squarciapino, costume designer
Jürgen Hoffmann and Luciano Novelli, lighting designer
Sabine Mouscardès, choreographer

Recorded live from the Teatro Comunale, Firenze, 2007

Picture format: 1080i Full-HD
Sound format: PCM Stereo / DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Subtitles: Italian, English, German, French, Spanish
Running time: 180 mins
No. of Discs: 1 (BD 50)

R E V I E W: 3713140.az_VERDI_La_Zubin_Mehta.html

VERDI La forza del destino Zubin Mehta, cond; Marcello Giordani (Don Alvaro); Violeta Urmana (Leonora); Carlo Guelfi (Don Carlo); Julia Gertseva (Preziosilla); Roberto Scandiuzzi (Padre Guardiano); Bruno De Simone (Fra Melitone); Duccio Dal Monte (Marchese); Maggio Musicale Fiorentino O & Ch ARTHAUS 108 046 (Blu-ray: 178:00) Live: Florence 2007

This Arthaus Musik release of Verdi’s La forza del destino is another in the company’s rebranding project of previous TDK video material, a label acquired by Arthaus a few years ago. In fact, although the Blu-ray case insert and booklet reflect the new Arthaus branding, the disc sent for review is the previous TDK Blu-ray issue of the opera, the second such occurrence already in my rather limited experience. For purpose of critical review, it is assumed Arthaus will change little on the disc itself, it will be basically the same video product I have in hand.

The production seen here is from the Maggio Musicale in Florence, recorded live in 2007, with Zubin Mehta conducting. It has been reviewed previously in Fanfare 32:6 by Raymund Tuttle in its DVD format. I consider Tuttle’s thoughtful review pretty much spot on, so instead of revisiting old ground I will provide a short summary. The rather spare sets and attractive costumes are traditional, although possibly updated a few hundred years in time. The military coats of the two antagonists, Don Alvaro and Don Carlo, sport epaulets and a chest full of medals, typical of the 18th or 19th century. (And just what are these two military idiots doing wearing dress coats into battle?) One oddity of note is that the penitent Leonora seems to reside in a large steel cage rather than a cave in the rocky hillside outside of the hermitage. Perhaps those kinky monks are into more than just hair shirts and self flagellation?

With Violetta Urmana and Marcello Giordani in the lead roles you get what you get. Urmana is a solid singer with good chest voice and secure intonation, but steely and a bit shrill at top range. She gets through the beautiful but short “La Vergine degli Angeli” quite well, but her “Pace, pace, mio Dio” will make no one forget Renata Tebaldi or Rosa Ponselle. Giordani has a nice Italianate ring in his normally attractive tenor voice but pushes his top notes until they sound sharp. This flaw tends to dissipate a bit as he warms up but never really goes away. Baritone Carlo Guelfi provides a properly relentless villain as Don Carlo and with some pretty good singing. In fact, all of the singing is quite serviceable, if not particularly inspired, while the dramatic interaction is often quite engrossing. Choral and orchestral forces must be singled out for quite excellent performances with almost ideal recorded sound. La Forza provides a top-notch Verdi score and, as usual, several fine rousing pieces for the chorus. It makes for quite enjoyable listening with this quality of supporting forces.

For a relatively rarely performed opera, La Forza has done quite well on video, with now some eight sets available commercially. The two earliest, a 1958 set from Naples and a 1978 outing in Milan provide arguably the best Verdian singing with Corelli/Tebaldi and Carreras/Caballe, just to identify a few of the star-studded casts. Both are also challenged by older video technology, especially the 1958 Naples, in black and white with only rudimentary sets and some particularly hammy acting. A 1984 production from the Metropolitan Opera with Leontyne Price, Giuseppe Giacomini, and Leo Nucci tends to sprawl across the large Met stage and produces few emotional sparks or spine-tingling moments. Three of the newest sets are now available in high definition Blu-ray format, this one, a 2008 production from Vienna with Mehta also conducting, and the new Tutto Verdi set from Parma on C Major. I have not yet seen the Parma production, but of the other two, I prefer this Arthaus set. The Vienna disc, which I reviewed in Fanfare 35:6 is comprised of some rather questionable sets and willful staging I found more distracting than entertaining. As Tuttle summarized previously, this nicely conceived Florence production is well worth considering as a first choice, especially in Blu-ray format.

FANFARE: Bill White   
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Works on This Recording

La forza del destino by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Roberto Scandiuzzi (Bass), Carlo Bosi (Tenor), Violeta Urmana (Soprano),
Alessandro Luongo (Baritone), Carlo Guelfi (Baritone), Marcello Giordani (Tenor),
Yulia Gertseva (Mezzo Soprano), Bruno De Simone (Baritone), Duccio Dal Monte (Bass),
Filippo Polinelli (Bass), Antonella Trevisan (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862/1869; Italy 

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