Magazine article Gramophone

Donizetti: Lucrezia Borgia

Magazine article Gramophone

Donizetti: Lucrezia Borgia

Article excerpt

Donizetti [DVD-V][BR]

Lucrezia Borgia

Renee Fleming sop              Lucrezia Borgia
Michael Fabiano ten                    Gennaro
Vitalij Kowaljow bass          Il Duca Alfonso
Elizabeth DeShong mez            Maffio Orsini
Christopher Jackson ten        Jeppo Liverotto
Brian Jagde ten            Oloferno Vitellozzo
Austin Kness bar              Apostolo Gazella
Ao Li bass-bar                Ascanio Petrucci
Daniel Montenegro ten              Rustighello
Igor Vieira bar                        Gubetta
Ryan Kuster bass-bar                   Astolfo

Chorus and Orchestra of San Francisco Opera / Riccardo Frizza

Stage director John Pascoe

Video director Frank Zamacona

EuroArts [F][2] [DVD-V] 205 9648; [F][BR] 205 9644 (127' + 19' * NTSC * 16:9 * 1080i * DTS-HD MA5.1, DTS5.1 & PCM stereo * 0 * [S]/[s])

Bonus material includes Artist Interviews and Production Time-Lapse

Having primarily made her name in lyric Mozart and Strauss operas, Renee Fleming has been returning to the bel canto roles she sang earlier on, not always successfully (Rossini's Armida) though besting her younger self in this new Lucrezia Borgia. Painted with less vocal display that some of the composer's heroines, the title-character has long accommodated mature-period singers. On video, Fleming joins the ranks of Joan Sutherland and Edita Gruberova, all of them caught past the age of 50.

Fleming seems fired by the theatricality of a reviled female character who commands every dramatic situation she encounters. In particularly complex moments, she registers sexual tension towards young Gennaro, whom she knows to be her son although she doesn't come out with it until Act 3. In comparison with an archival recording of her 1998 Lucrezia at La Scala, Fleming now favours faster, more cogent tempi, doesn't strike out in as many vocal directions but centres everything more towards the middle of her voice, not because the high notes aren't there (they are, but approached more carefully) but because her priority is an integrated characterisation. …

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