Magazine article Gramophone

Verdi: Giovanna d'Arco

Magazine article Gramophone

Verdi: Giovanna d'Arco

Article excerpt

Verdi  Giovanna d'Arco  Francesco Meli ten                 Carlo VII Placido Domingo bar                  Giacomo Anna Netrebko sop                   Giovanna Johannes Dunz ten                      Delil Roberto Tagliavini bass               Talbot 

Philharmonia Chor Wien; Munich Radio Orchestra / Paolo Carignani

DG [F] [2] 479 2712GH2 (109' * DDD * S/T/t)

Recorded live at the Felsenreitschule, Salzburg, August 2013

As Anna Netrebko cycles out of bel canto and into more lirico-spinto Verdi roles, Giovanna d'Arco stands at the halfway point, in a recording of this under-exposed opera that is cast in starry Salzburg Festival style. All are caught live at the Felsenreitschule with the Munich Radio Orchestra under Paolo Carignani in performances that are passionate and polished, in a handsome package with full libretto. It's an excellent introduction to the opera but not the best out there. Early Verdi needs keen dramatic consideration if the operas aren't to show their antecedents so blatantly. Example: Joan's climactic scene needs maximum conviction to prevent its accompanying clarinet seeming like more than just a rip-off of Lucia di Lammermoor's mad-scene flute solo.

The basic nature of the concert-performance setting fails to give the opera that extra lift, partly because the characterisations aren't seasoned, from its stars to the Philharmonia Chor Wien. The stage perspective is stationary, so that the choral writing for angels and demons arises from the same recording perspective as the village mobs. …

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