Verdi: Il Trovatore [HD DVD]
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Count di Luna's Show
This performance was filmed on May 3, 2002 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. It was Mr. Hvorostovsky's first outing as Count di Luna. What a Count di Luna he was. His singing of di Luna made the usual baritone villain come alive with such passion.(Hint: the best sung cabaletta of the night was not "Di quella pira", but "Per me ora fatale". Masculinity personified.) Nowadays nobody can convey complicated emotions through singing more eloquently than Mr. Hvorostovsky. It was so evident in this performance. Just for this reason alone, this dvd is a must. But the dvd has much more to offer. There was a very well sung but rather restrained Azucena by Yvonne Naef. Her voice was strong and beautiful. Ms. Villarroel got points for her efforts. As for Mr. Cura, his vision for Manrico was "Latino macho man". Well, Mr. Cura succeeded just as that. He forgot that Manrico was also a poet. Even after countless viewings of the dvd, I still cannot control the urge to shake Leonora to her...
Movie Category: TV
Production of: Opus Arte
Movie Rating : 3.9
Total Review : 42
Top Buyer Review of Verdi: Il Trovatore [HD DVD]:
As a long time Verdi fan, I looked forward to this DVD with great hopes. I was looking for a version that did not have either Pavarotti or Domingo in the title role and that utilized digital technology to provide good home viewed opera. Obviously, from the title line, my hopes were not realized.
First of all, this is a cut version of Verdi's work; it is incomplete. After all these years of including every note that the maestro composed, I had hoped that the older, truncated versions of the score had been trashed. Disappointment number one!
Second, Jose Cura in the title role of Manrico has trouble with vocal technique. He forces a "covered" or head tone far too low in the middle register, as low as e-flat in some instances. The tone produced is plain ugly. He can act, though.
Third, soprano Veronica Villarroel is just not a "Verdi soprano". Oh, she sings with some excellent sensitivity, once she gets warmed up, but she is no Leontyne Price by a long...
great voices, weird staging
Indeed, the principals are ideally cast here. Dmitri Hvorostovsky's suave, evil, yet somehow still-human Count nearly steals the show. He's far superior to all the Counts recorded. Jose Cura gives a believable performance as Manrico, even though he pays more attention to acting than to music. For instance, "Ah si, ben mio" is a bit choppy in sound, but acted out very well.
I really enjoyed Veronica Villaroel's Leonora. Like Cura, she put more emphasis on acting, but she managed some of the most difficult music with excellent artistry and skill. Brava!
Yvonne Naef looked and sang an ideal Azucena.
What kept distracting me was the staging. First of all, it looks like late 19th century Italy (vs. Austria), making Leonora's Tale D'Amor (a knight with an unmarked shield came, etc) along with many other story details quite improbable. Ferrando has a shaved head and looks too young to remember the events of the old days passed. Now, for the ugly:
1. When Azucena...