Magazine article Gramophone

Verdi: Nabucco

Magazine article Gramophone

Verdi: Nabucco

Article excerpt

Verdi [DVD] [BR] Nabucco Placido Domingo bar            Nabucco Andrea Cars ten                Ismaele Vitalij Kowaljow bass         Zaccaria Liudmyla Monastyrska sop     Abigaille Marianna Pizzolato mez          Fenena Robert Lloyd bass          High Priest David Butt Philip ten          Abdallo DuSica Bijelid sop                Anna 

Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden / Nicola Luisotti Stage director Daniele Abbado Video director Rhodri Huw Sony Classical [F] [DVD] 88875 05935-9; [F] [BR] 88875 05936-9 (133' + 9' * NTSC * 16:9 * 1080i * DTS-HD MA5.1, DTS5.1 & LPCM stereo * 0 * Sis). Recorded live April 2013 Extra features: 'Verdi's First Masterpiece'; 'Placido Domingo and Liudmyla Monastyrska on Nabucco: the challenges of a new role in opera'

As captured on this DVD, Nicola Luisotti is able to shape the fluency that Antonio Pappano's orchestra and Renato Balsadonna's chorus have acquired in Verdi into a notably wellpaced reading of the composer's first success, even if he is not as bold with the early-period melodramatics of the sometimes Donizettian scoring as Riccardo Muti has always been. This strong company musical performance is a more distinctive achievement than that of Placido Domingo's continuing cross-Fach assumption of baritone roles--presumably the recording's raison d'etre--or of Daniele Abbado's staging.

Functional, non-attention-grabbing modern dress and an almost complete lack of physical scenery focus attention firmly on people rather than fantasy recreations of lost Babylon and Jerusalem architecture. That's all to the good in the young Verdi's bold confrontation with major dramatic issues: father-daughter relationships, mental health, religious persecution. Yet, despite certain individual contributions--Monastyrska's Abigaille absolutely blazes with charisma alongside her steely control of the role's tessitura and tone--the end result as theatre is disappointingly cosy. …

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