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Adriana Lecouvreur [DVD] [Import]
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|OFF:||￥ 806 (19%)|
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David McVicar has overcome these intrinsic problems by setting the opera largely behind stage at the Comedie-Francaise in Paris extending the well-known concept of the stage within a stage. He thus emphasizes the theatrical nature of all the characters even those who are not supposed to be actors in the actual story. Adriana Lecouvreur herself moves rapidly between her real-life situation and her art often not appearing to distinguish between the two.
This opera requires great singing actors who also have the right appearances for their roles. Angela Gheorghiu brings a wonderful quality to her difficult role. She is a beautiful woman. She portrays Adriana as a good-hearted, fragile, sympathetic and ultimately tragic character and I found her totally convincing in the role. She like the other artists is assisted by exquisite eighteenth-century costumes. In this regard one can only welcome David McVicar's honoring Cilea's intention of setting the opera in its correct time period namely Paris in the 1730s. We do not need an Adriana Lecouvreur set in Las Vegas!
Ms. Gheorghiu's singing is terrific. I thought that Sutherland did a better job of Adriana's entry aria - "Io son l'umile ancella" - but Ms. Gheorghiu's "Poveri fiori" is a tour de force of both singing and acting. She looked truly exhausted and emotionally spent at the end of this famous aria. Her declamatory skill as a diva is evident in the Phedre monologue in Act III which I found to be absolutely thrilling.
Jonas Kaufmann is the obvious first choice nowadays for any romantic opera which requires a great voice and a credible young, virile and handsome lover. We saw that in his recent Werther at the Metropolitan Opera and we see it here even more when he plays Maurizio. His "La dolcissima effigie" was spectacular. His Act 2 aria "L'anima ha stanca" was extremely moving and magnificently sung. He and Ms. Gheorghiu have wonderful chemistry in the love scenes, a chemistry one rarely sees in opera nowadays.
Olga Borodina is highly effective as the Princesse de Bouillon. She not only sings beautifully but she manages with just her eyes and facial expressions to convey the Princess's venomous and scheming character. Her "Acerba volutta" at the beginning of Act 2 is simply stunning. She dominates the stage with her majestic presence whenever she appears.
Alessandro Corbelli, as Michonnet the stage manager at the Comedie-Francaise, shows all his skills as a singing actor. He is subtle and poignant in the role of Adriana's friend and secret admirer and would be lover. The warmth and chemistry between him and Ms. Gheorghiu made their scenes together wonderful and moving to behold.
The Blu-ray DVD is of superb quality. The subtitles are modern without departing from the librettist's intent. The music quality is astounding. This DVD belongs in any opera lover's collection. David McVicar has set a standard which I wish more opera directors would follow. Like Adriana he respects what the composer intended. I would hope that he could extend this treatment to new productions of other difficult and neglected operas like Ponchielli's La Gioconda and Giordano's Andrea Chenier and Fedora. There are so many neglected and rarely performed operas from that period just waiting for the right director and cast to bring them back to life.
Adriana Lecouvreur has not been staged at the Royal Opera House since about 1904, two years after its world premiere at the Teatro Lirico in Milan with Caruso as Maurizio. Opera lovers everywhere should be grateful that Covent Garden took the gamble of reintroducing this wonderful opera to the public.