“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.
Andrea Chénier presents a fictionalized account of the last years of the French poet André Chénier, guillotined during the Reign of Terror in 1794. It is the greatest of Giordano’s operas and shows why Puccini sometimes feared Giordano as a rival. Taking the starring role of Chénier, with its three marvellous arias, is Jonas Kaufmann. Soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek sings the role of Chénier’s beloved Maddalena and baritone Željko Lučić stars as Carlo Gérard – the servant-turned-revolutionary who is Chénier’s rival for the love of Maddalena. David McVicar brings Giordano’s thrilling historical drama back to the Royal Opera House for the first time since 1985 in a stunning new production.
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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.