“This is something of a find – a production produced in Milan's television studios in 1973 that does more than justice to Giordano's verismo work about personal conflicts at the time of the French Revolution. It's directed, with considerable imagination, by the Czech Vaclav Kaslik, at the top of his profession in the 70s. In realistic period sets he unerringly creates the milieu of a degenerate aristocracy in Act 1 and of the raw mob-rule of the Revolution in the succeeding acts. The only drawback is the poor lip-synch. Conductor Bruno Bartoletti makes certain we're unaware of the score's weaker moments and releases all the romantic passion in Giordano's highly charged writing for his principals.
In continuing the great tradition of Decca's magnificent Met Opera DVDs, Giordano's Andrea Chénier is captured here in excellent quality, showcasing Luciano Pavarotti, the premiere opera star of his day in one his most memorable performances, alongside Maria Guleghina and Juan Pons, with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by James Levine. One of the great verismo operatic dramas, Andrea Chénier is notable for the title role's two great solo arias, 'Un di all'azzurro spazio' (also known as 'L'improvviso') and 'Come un bel di di maggio', as well as the overwhelming final duet, 'Vicino a te'. Truly a legendary and unique performance from the great tenor.
Out of all Italian verismo operas, Umberto Giordano's Andrea Chénier is one of the few of lasting popularity that is still performed regularly on major opera stages worldwide. This 1981 production features a stellar Plácido Domingo in the title role and a classic staging by Otto Schenk, making for one of the finest readings of the opera. Andrea Chénier was an overwhelming success when premiered at La Scala in 1896 and first performed in Vienna in 1926, returning to the stage whenever a truly great tenor was available to tackle the demanding title role. Gabriela Benacková and Piero Cappuccilli lead a strong supporting cast in this tragic love story set during the times of French Revolution.
Mirella Freni returns as a glamorous Russian princess involved with a dashing aristocratic spy (Plácido Domingo) in this production of Giordano’s Fedora from 1997 conducted by Roberto Abbado. The audience and critics were unanimous in their praise for her dramatic authority, power, warmth and brilliance of her voice and the partnership of Freni and Domingo was described as “operatic royalty.”
Flying from his enemies in the Catholic Church, the free thinking philosopher, poet and scientist Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) has found some protection in Venice. But the Roman Inquisition, fearing his influence in Europe, wants to bring him on trial for 'heresy'.