A musically strong and visually spectacular production…In a very traditional staging, Lee brings an enormous amount of visual detail to the opera…Aida and Amneris lead with superb performances, extracting every ounce of the psychological drama of the later acts…The orchestra, under Fogliani’s direction, play with a brilliant palette of colours. (MusicWeb International)
What makes this production so rewarding are the utterly compelling performances of the Macbeths, Shakepearian in intensity…[Nucci's] Macbeth is a deeply thoughtful portrayal…Valayre is up there with the finest Lady Macbeths.(International Record Review)Nucci’s Macbeth is often described as veteran, which rather dismisses his musical and dramatic insight and his sense of Verdian line…Bartoletti is authoritative in the pit. Liliana Cavani’s production is strong, her stage-on-the-stage set magnifying and scrutinising the Macbeths’ moral descent. (Opera Now)
This production from Teatro Comunale Luciano Pavarotti Modena is conducted by Fabrizio Ventura. He has performed at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden as well as the Arena di Verona and the Sydney Opera House. The cast is led Giacomo Prestia who has performed with some of the world’s greatest conductors including Abbado, Mehta, Muti, Gatti and Barenboim. He is supported by Mario Malagnini and Cellia Costea.
I Lombardi alla prima crociata was Verdi’s fourth opera and received its first performance at La Scala, Milan, in February 1843. The grandiloquent subject matter is fleshed-out with broad-brushed musical and dramatic effects and lavish choral scenes created a correspondingly impressive impact. A great success in Milan, it spread to the rest of Europe within a matter of only a few years.
Il Trovatore was based on the play El Trovador by Antonio García Gutiérrez and was an instant success. The cast is here led by Marcelo Alvarez, Norma Fantini and Leo Nucci and is conducted by Yuri Temirkanov.
Large symbols…make an effective home for a serious Il Trovatore, precisely paced and balanced by Yuri Temirkanov…Especially notable is his handling of what one might term 'old' Verdi orchestral tricks (ironic Bellinian wind counterpoints of parodistic military brass). The casting here is led by a Manrico from Marcelo Alvarez worthy of vocal and dramatic attention. (Gramophone Magazine)
The singing and musicianship here is of a high standard and Zanetti conducts with verve…Certain aspects of Pier Luigi Pizzi’s production are good while others are somewhat disappointing. (MusicWeb International)
This tale of love, disguised nobility, murder, and love lost may sound like any other opera to some. But Verdi's Luisa Miller is a gem of the verismo genre. The gorgeous staging is surmounted only by a cast which includes Marcelo Alavarez, Leo Nucci, Fiorenca Cedolins, and Giorgio Surian.
For "La forza del destino", Verdi created one of his most famous melodies, the "fate" motif that permeates the whole of the score. Music and action alternate in masterly fashion between large-scale crowd scenes and intimate interiority, in that way illustrating Verdi's real theme: the manner in which fallible human beings are destroyed by a cruel fate.
Dvorak’s enchanting fairytale of the water-nymph Rusalka has been a signature role for Renée Fleming for the past 25 years. The Gramophone Classical Music Guide writes: “Renée Fleming's tender and heartwarming account of Rusalka's Song to the Moon reflects the fact that the role of the lovelorn water nymph, taken by her in a highly successful production at the MET in New York, has become one of her favourites”.
Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de perles, set in Sri Lanka, is known above all for its unforgettable duet for tenor and baritone, but it its score is full of delightful and dramatic music. When recently staged at the Metropolitan Opera in New York it proved a major success, both for the production by Penny Woolcock and the musical performance, conducted by Paolo Noseda, with (once again) Diana Damrau as the priestess Leïla and, as the two men competing for love, the tenor Matthew Polenzani (Nadir) and the baritone Mariusz Kwiecien (Zurga). Woolcock’s concept brought the production up to date, with photographic and video references to the 2004 tsunami, and offered a superb ‘aquatic’ spectacle during the overture: the whole stage appeared to be beneath the Indian Ocean and acrobatic divers ‘swam’ down from the surface (located in the flies of the theatre).