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  • Verdi: Simon Boccanegra [DVD Video]
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Verdi: Simon Boccanegra [DVD Video]

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Kiri Te Kanawa, Alexandru Agache, Michael Sylvesyer, and Roberto Scandiuzzi star in this Covent Garden production of the Verdi opera conducted by Sir Georg Solti.

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Verdi's tale of the eponymous medieval Doge of Genoa marries the political and the intimate to dramatic effect, both elements given their full due in this well-sung production led by Sir Georg Solti. Soprano Kiri Te Kanawa stars as Maria/Amelia, the lost daughter of Simon Boccanegra being raised by her grandfather, his bitter political foe. She's in fine voice and acts well, a truly convincing figure, her lovely first aria Come in quest'ora bruna a thing of beauty, and striking sparks in the Council scene and her duets with her lover and her father. Alexandru Agache takes the title role; he's a lyric baritone who's especially convincing in the more intimate moments, as well as a commanding figure whose message of peace and forgiveness ultimately wins over his rebellious patrician opponents. As Gabriele Adorno, tenor Michael Sylvester sings with passion and ringing high notes, while baritone Alan Opie gives as good a portrayal as one might hope for as the villainous Paulo, Simon's false friend who ultimately poisons him. Roberto Scandiuzzi's sonorous bass is an apt vehicle for portraying Simon's chief enemy, Fiesco, and his singing of the great aria Il lacerato spirito is a highlight of the set. Solti's conducting is well-paced, vibrant in the action scenes, warm without excessive lingering in the touching scenes between father and daughter.

The 1991 production lacks the opulence of the Metropolitan Opera's 1995 production, a more traditional version also featuring Te Kanawa, whose period sets and costumes are stunning, and which offers singing and acting on par with Covent Garden's. But in its own leaner way, the Royal Opera offers major competition to the MET. Elijah Moshinsky's stage production creates the world of medieval Genoa with a few strokes--a black and white backdrop suggesting a sail (Simon was a famous corsair) with graffiti on the black wall, the white standing in for Fiesco's palace. The Council Chamber scene features a richly robed Doge presiding over the meeting, while the row of columns on the left serve as a portico to the Doge's palace and, in various guises, complement the other scenes of the opera. The video direction by Brian Large is efficient, directing our attention to the narrative and if a few more shots of the full stage would have been welcome in some scenes, that's not a hindrance. Closeups are neatly managed without forcing us into the throats of the singers and we're never subjected to extraneous material that might prove distracting. --Dan Davis


Special Features

  • Bonus: "Simon Boccanegra: The Good Father"

Product Details

  • Actors: Alexandru Agache, Kiri Te Kanawa, Roberto Scandiuzzi, Michael Sylvester, Alan Opie
  • Directors: Brian Large
  • Writers: Francesco Maria Piave
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Classical, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Import
  • Language: Unknown (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Imports
  • DVD Release Date: November 13, 2007
  • Run Time: 137 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000T9QFA6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,872 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Verdi: Simon Boccanegra [DVD Video]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Calicokid on October 17, 2007
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This lavish production from the ROHCG beautifully preserves the Amelia of Kiri Te Kanawa from her long best period. As usual, she is stunning to look at but that shouldn't detract from one of the most beautiful voices of the recent years. The entire cast is superb. A memorable performance for repeated viewing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steffi B. Rath on February 10, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I love Simon Boccanegra and to prove it, I have 9 Boccanegras on DVDs and 6 on CDs.
I'm surprised that the two existing reviews are so scant. Although by no means perfect, there is a lot to be enjoyed here. Kiri Te Kanawa is superb and Alexandru Agache also seems to have everything that a Simon Boccanegra needs: Presence, acting and voice - although the famous "Figlia" doesn't quite compare to that of Piero Cappuccilli (on the La Scala DVD with Claudio Abbado) and that of Tito Gobbi.
Also, there is no mention of the pretty great Alan Opie as Paolo. Rarely have I come across a better one.
Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any chemistry between Ms. Te Kanawa and Michael Sylvester. The latter also seems to think that rage is best demonstrated by chewing the scenery and throwing a bunch of papers around. He could definitely take a lesson from Veriano Luchettti of the above mentioned La Scala production: how deep rage and anguish can be expressed by a great singer actually without any props whatsoever.
And lastly, there is Roberto Scandiuzzi. Of course, he does sing in this production but without any real involvement in the proceedings. He even manages to cause one of the most moving scenes in all opera - the final encounter between Boccanegra and Fiesco - not to move me at all. It is rare that I don't have a big frog in my throat at that point but here, the frog must have died of cold and lack of nourishment.
Is it worthwhile getting this DVD. Absolutely. The production is wonderful, so are the costumes, and despite my reservations, it is pretty much at the head of the list of my various Simon Boccanegras.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By boney weather on May 15, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
i am not gifted with the ability to express the pros and cons of a production.i am an opera buff because i love the music of the great composers. however,i am ready to recommend this production to anyone who loves verdi,also because miss kiri te kanawa is simply beautiful,and the rest of the cast, with whom i am not familiar, is outstanding.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is the ultimate production of "Simon Boccanegra" available on DVD. Agache is a stentorian-voiced Boccanegra, Te Kanawa sings and acts wiyh great élan, and maestro Solti leads the orchestra of the ROH with impecable verve.
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6 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jin Murayama on July 22, 2008
Format: DVD
This is a splendid performance. Especialy, Ms. Ti Kanawa is a great soprano opera singer. I like her play very much.
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Verdi: Simon Boccanegra [DVD Video]
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