Magazine article Gramophone

Donizetti: La Favorite

Magazine article Gramophone

Donizetti: La Favorite

Article excerpt

Donizetti [DVD]  La favorite  Kate Aldrich mez                Leonor de Guzman Yijie Shi ten                   Fernand Ludovic Tezier bar              Alphonse XI Giovanni Furlanetto bass        Balthazar Marie-Benedicte Souquet sop     Ines Alain Gabriel ten               Don Gaspar Dongjin Ahn ten                 A Lord 

Toulouse Capitole Chorus and Orchestra / Antonello Allemandi Stage director Vincent Boussard Video director Olivier Simonnet

Opus Arte (F) [SACD]* SHE OA1166D; (F) [SACD][SACD] OABD7165D (3h 4' + 40' * NTSC * 16:9 * 1080p * DTS-HD5.1, DTS5.1 & LPCM stereo * 0 * S/s) Recorded live, February 14 & 16,2014 Extra features: Interviews with cast and crew; Cast Galleries

Like Les martyrs (see below), La favorite--which had its Paris premiere at the end of the same year (1840) --was a reworking of existing material (L'ange de Nisida) in collaboration with Scribe. If you can buy into a huge chunk of Catholic guilt, the story is a strong one, almost contemporary in its focus on a heroine who becomes a kind of 'uncle target' for three leading men--genuine lover, royal seducer and priestly denouncer. The thematic influence on Verdi's Trovatore and Forza--chasing an impossible love across a landscape of war and religious prejudice--extends to the selection of scenes and their musical setting.

Vincent Boussard's production is traditionally costumed (but, helpfully, symbolically coloured) by Christian Lacroix and plays on some bare mirrored scenery (sets by Vincent Lemaire), which focuses the action refreshingly on the principals rather than faked-up historical architecture. …

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