La Forza del Destino by Verdi

With Leontyne Price, Giuseppi Giacomini, Leo Nucci, Isola Jones, Bonaldo Giaiotti-director,

James Levine -conductor with the Metropolitan Orchestra and Chorus

 

This performance, taped live on a Saturday afternoon in 1983, presents the great American diva, soprano LEONTYNE PRICE in one of her most famous Verdi roles. Her performance, factoring in age (57), career (30+ yrs), & the AFTERNOON, is late vintage Price. Certain vocal mannerisms - a cloudy lower voice, sliding portamenti, and scooping - are indeed present in this performance (as they were in some degree since the late '70s).

However, they hardly diminish either the vocal or dramatic impact that Ms. Price brings to this live performance. Her upper register, slightly weaker than before, still rings out minus any wobble and/or false pitches. She sings with beautiful dynamic shadings to accentuate the drama, and still floats pianissimi with little obvious effort. Indeed in this VERDI opera, most of those 'mannerisms' abet the drama, and always did for this particular artist! Ms. Price's performance as the tragic Leonora di Vargas here is heartfelt, passionate, and deeply moving.

As there are no other full-length taped commercial opera performances available of this legendary soprano, this VHS/DVD is all the more treasurable for a glimpse of what made LEONTYNE PRICE the reigning Verdi soprano for the past 40 yrs! Tenor Giuseppe Giacomini, while more protean vocally, sings crudely, giving a loud, unsubtle, yet dramatically tenable portrayal of the unfortunate Don Alvaro, complete with a bawling middle, somewhat off-set by ringing high notes.

Leo Nucci is a lightweight Verdi baritone, lacking the customary heft and tonal warmth associated with the role of Don Carlo di Vargas. He nonetheless produces exciting vocalism, enhanced by committed acting, and HIS thrilling high notes as well.

Mezzo-soprano Isola Jones acts well, looks lovely, but is a barely adequate Preziosilla vocally, with a weak middle voice & a short top. Bonaldo Giaotti's portrayal of Padre Guardiano is somewhat stolid, but his basso is authoritative, and also is beautifully produced. Maestro James Levine's love & mastery of this sprawling masterpiece ( the RCA CD version with Price/Domingo/Milnes is magnificent) is evident throughout, birnging clarity to the inherent contrasts between searing, private dramas, and all the lively interludes that occur on the battlefield and amongst the Italian countrysides.

Overall, this is a very fine VHS/DVD to own - not the overall best taped performance (Tebaldi, Corelli, etc 1959)- but a Special one for those seeking a cohesive, modern performance of "La Forza del Destino", and starring one of its most celebrated artists, "La Splendissima" soprano Leontyne Price LIVE!!

(An Amazon reviewer - let's have your reactions after the performance)

And now, a little taste of what's to come.

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Wow...it was a dark scarey ride, but I think with this one under my belt I'm ready to take any opera on!

    September 15, 2012

  • Herbert G.

    I had a good time. The singing was superb. Never seen the opera before and I'm glad that I attended.

    September 15, 2012

  • Helen

    Hi Stan,
    Would you please provide some background about the production? Who are the singers? Opera house? Year?
    Much appreciate it.
    Helen

    August 21, 2012

  • Barbel B.

    ps To those of you new to the Opera Meetup at the Chapel Hill Seymour Sr. Center - please be aware that most of our members follow us via email alerts from the Seymour Senior Center and their publications. Our average attendance at a performance is between 35 and 50, so never fear of a cancellation because of a low posted confirmation here on the Meetup site.

    April 15, 2012

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