Magazine article Gramophone

Donizetti: Maria Stuarda

Magazine article Gramophone

Donizetti: Maria Stuarda

Article excerpt

Donizetti                           [GC] [DVD-V] Maria Stuarda Joyce DiDonato mez                 Maria Stuarda Elza van den Heever sop               Elisabetta Matthew Polenzani                    ten Roberto Matthew Rose bass                 Giorgio Talbot Joshua Hopkins bar          Lord Guglielmo Cecil Maria Zifchak mez                   Anna Kennedy 

Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra / Maurizio Benini

Stage director David McVicar

Video director Gary Halvorson

Erato [F] [DVD-V] 2564 63203-5 (142' * NTSC * 16:9 * DD5.1 & PCM stereo * 0 * S/s)

This is one of the Met's 'Live in HD' performances relayed to cinemas last--year. It comes complete with the brief introduction to each act by Deborah Voigt; the interviews are consigned to the bonus feature. The director, appropriately enough, is Sir David McVicar and the designer is another Scot, John Macfarlane, whose period costumes and simple sets are both imaginative and respectful. Just the one set, essentially: four steps lead up to a platform from which, at the end, more steps ascend to the scaffold. The background changes appropriately: trees for the fateful--and fictional meeting of the queens; a wall covered in graffiti for Mary's cell.

Though the mood of the opera is sombre, there's a lightness of touch to the beginning. A cheerful chorus welcomes Elizabeth, who enters dressed in white: her hand is being sought by the Duke of Anjou, and she muses on love and liberty. …

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