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Ponchielli: La Gioconda / Vienna State Opera (2009)

Eva Marton , Placido Domingo , Filippo Sanjust  |  NR |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Eva Marton, Placido Domingo, Matteo Manuguerra, Kurt Rydl, Adam Fischer
  • Directors: Filippo Sanjust
  • Writers: Amilcare Ponchielli, Arrigo Boito
  • Producers: Wiener Staatsoper
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English, Italian, French, German, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: KULTUr
  • DVD Release Date: April 28, 2009
  • Run Time: 169 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001RPZDW2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,929 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Recorded live at the Vienna State Opera, Placido Domingo and Eva Marton star in a sumptuous recording of Ponchielli's famed four-act melodrama, a story of tyranny and intrigue set in semi-historical and ever-romantic Venice. The action is projected by strong characters whose fundamentally sound instincts become distorted by raw passion. The performance draws upon both human and technical resources including a large ballet and varies in mood from the happy carnival to scenes of the darkest gloom and horror.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By Default the Best Gioconda May 9, 2009
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This is, of course, not a new release, but a reissue from Image, a company that has deleted (or lost the license) their operatic catalogue. In one sense it is a historical document coming from the mid 80's. A conventional production it is nonetheless eminently satisfactory. For an opera that is so quintessentially Italian, it is ironic that not only does it emmanate from Vienna, there isn't an Italian in the cast. Even so, the singing is full-blooded, healthy, and robust. It surely is the best document for Marton. She is even able to scale her voice down for the hairpin turns in the last act. She is not, alas, able to produce a piano B flat (the famous Milanov note) in the first act, but then neither could Callas or Tebaldi. Domingo is splendid as is the underrated and underrecoded baritone Matteo Managuerra. The Laura is a Russian; she tends to be somewhat generic is a role that cries out for a Barbiere or Simionato. Nevertheless she is never less than satisfactory. Kurt Rydl as Alvise is somewhat outside of his fach, and is perhaps the least satisfactory of the principals, but it is hardly his fault that he was born in a German speaking country rather than Italy. La Cieca is sung by a house stalwart, Margarita Lilowa. This is the one piece of casting where the Liceo trumps this performance: they were lucky enough to have Eva Podlesh, probably the last remaining contralto. There is a clip of Voce di donna on YouTube.

Other DVD's have such serious short comings that they simply are not in the running, notably the performance from Verona with Andrea Gruber. If you are a Voigt fan and can deal with the short comings of Margison this performance can be a contender.

Essentially this performance does not enshrine any truly weak point and overall yields a great deal of satisfaction.

Highly recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A neglected masterpiece- -great ti have it on DVD! December 24, 2012
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The fact that there are only two other reviews of this opera, even though the DVD was recorded in l986, supports my contention that it is a neglected masterpiece. Perhaps it is because it calls for such great resources; vocal - - it needs six strong singers in the featured roles; and technical - - everything from ballets, to processions to burning ships. That's why having such a performance on a well recorded DVD is such a luxury. For those unfamiliar with the opera, along with Ponchielli's music, we have a libretto by Arrigo Boito - - a long-time collaborator with Verdi - -based on a story after Victor Hugo. It is really what Grand Opera is all about: witches, poisons, vendettas, unrequited love, Venetian carnivals, etc. The famous Waltz of the Hours becomes even more intriguing since the choreographer, Gerlinde Dill, integrates it into the rivalry between Enzo (brilliantly sung by Domingo - - his rendition of Cielo e mar is spot on)- -and the sinister Alvisa ( Kurt Rydl). Eva Marton La Gioconda is particularly effective in the last act with her suicidio aria. This is one of those DVD's I would recommend if you could only take a few operas with you on that desert island.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reliquia July 26, 2013
Ponchielli's irresistible amalgam of French grand opera, middle Verdi, and verismo pre-echoes has a long, starry history on records. Whatever your favorite LP or CD recording may be (Arangi-Lombardi, Callas I or II, Cerquetti, Tebaldi, Caballé, Urmana, et cetera), the audio portion of this 1986 video from the Vienna State Opera will not displace it. Its principal competition on DVD is a 2005 performance from the Liceu in Barcelona starring Deborah Voigt, and the two together have some complementary value. They allow us to see different approaches to staging an opera that always has been difficult to cast satisfactorily, and is given more rarely now than 50 years ago. Both have a few big names in the cast among lesser lights, and are worth seeing and hearing. Neither provides GIOCONDA with the first-rate representation that many operas, important and unimportant, have received on DVD.

Filippo Sanjust directed and designed Vienna's traditional production, and in his handsome sets and tableaux there is an unmistakable influence of 19th-century paintings. This is grand, pictorial work, in front of which there is a good amount of old-fashioned standing and delivering, though as noted below, some cast members make an effort at delineating their characters. Close-ups tend to dwell on choristers who, no matter what they are wearing, look as authentically Venetian as a Spritzkuchen. The '05 Barcelona DVD, production by Pier Luigi Pizzi, goes for cleaner lines and a sparer, less ornate and realistic visual representation.

The Viennese orchestra has played better, and *usually* plays better, than it does here under conductor Adam Fischer.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A production you will long remember November 15, 2009
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It is sometimes difficult to present a standard repertoire item in a fashion which will bring out hidden beauties, but this production manages to do this especially with the translation option which brings out
information which is not readily apparent. Case in point: At the conclusion of the opera La Gioconda stabs and kills herself to prevent Barnabas from satisfying himself. As she is lying dead, Barnabas screams in her ear, "I drowned your mother because she was bothering me!". This ties up a loose end in Act 4 where La Gioconda was looking for her mother(La Cieca). The cast and scenery is traditional and engaging.
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