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Verdi - La forza del destino / James Levine, The Metropolitan Opera (1984)

Richard Vernon , Leontyne Price , Kirk Browning  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Vernon, Leontyne Price, Giuseppe Giacomini, Leo Nucci, Isola Jones
  • Directors: Kirk Browning
  • Writers: Antonio Ghislanzoni, Duque de Rivas, Francesco Maria Piave
  • Producers: Michael Bronson, Samuel Paul
  • Format: Classical, Color, NTSC
  • Subtitles: English
  • 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: Geneon [Pioneer]
  • DVD Release Date: February 6, 2001
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004ZERL
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #228,413 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Verdi - La forza del destino / James Levine, The Metropolitan Opera" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

For much of the late 20th century, Leontyne Price was the leading exponent of Verdi's heroic soprano roles--among the most demanding vocal and dramatic categories in opera. One of her specialties was Leonora, the tormented heroine in La forza del destino (The Power of Fate). Her classic performance, combined with some of Verdi's most soaring and energetic music, did much to justify this flawed but compelling masterpiece--a thud-and-blunder melodrama about war, duels, violent death, guilt, vengeance, and concealed identities in which, following a tried and true operatic formula, nearly everybody dies at the end. There are also comic scenes.

A Metropolitan Opera production of La forza del destino starring Leontyne Price should be a basic item in any collection seriously dedicated to Verdi. This would be an even better production if it had been recorded earlier, when her voice was richer and more precisely controlled, but it is clearly a case of better late than never. The supporting cast is capable and sometimes exciting, but frankly no match for the all-star ensemble supporting Renata Tebaldi and Franco Corelli in a 1958 performance at the San Carlo Opera in Naples available only on VHS. That production is filmed in black and white; no subtitles are provided and the video's technical quality is primitive. But it captures the opera's emotional energy and epic scope. --Joe McLellan

Product Description

La Forza del Destino in Verdi's panoramic tragedy of honor and vengeance in 18th Century Spain an dIntaly. Its characters, ranging from aristocrats to camp followers, from soldiers to monks. Leotyne Price's memorable performance as leonora "can still bring tears to the eyes." "James Levine's conducting is full of drive and fire,"and "the grandeur of the magnificent score come through" New York Times This presentation of La Forza del Destino includes optional English subtitles and was taped during the March 24, 1984 performance at the Metropolitan Opera. No material was taken from rehearsals, other performances or remake recording sessions. Optional English Subtitles "a first class performance" -Washington Post

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars bravi Forza! May 8, 2002
By A Customer
First off all, one must remember this is a LIVE performance, and a very good one. It seems my fellow reviewers perfer the studio recording, which often come off a bit cold.I am an operatic dramatic tenor, and find the singing very good. As for the wonderful tenor Giuseppe Giacomini, of the school of Corelli, Del Monico, thank God! This is after all a dramatic tenor opera folks! Remember Richard Tucker? And do you know what it takes to sing Verdi? Not easy! The duets between the men are wonderful!What can be said about the great Leontyne Price? Will be There ever be another Spinto Soprano like her? What would we give for moment of her glory today?

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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great performance, bad cuts. April 4, 2001
The only thing stopping me from giving this excellent DVD 5 stars is the 15 minute cut from the beginning of act 3 scene 2. I almost cried when I realized they had cut the famous soldiers chorus from act 3. Leontyne Price is exellent as is the rest of the cast. I highly recomend it, just brace yourself for the cuts.
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49 of 57 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I attended this performance, and even allowing for individual quibbles with various artists heard on this DVD, I believe the sum of its parts are well worth the 'PRICE' of owning it.

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.
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
This March 24, 1984 matinee performance of Forza Del Destino at the Met documents the old Eugene Berman production which premiered in 1952 with Milanov, Tucker, Warren and Siepi. The sets do not look their age (indeed they look far better than the many "concept" productions we are forced to sit through today) and the camerawork and lighting bring the opera vividly to life on the small screen. Now for the singing. Giacomini and Nucci are the big, "stand up and sing" voices needed in this opera and they deliver as promised. Some vocal insecurity from Giacomini toward the begining of the opera may be due to nerves -- but things improve as the opera proceeds. Isola Jones gives a sassy and vocally smokey interpretation of Preziosilla -- a role usually given almost to comprimarios today. As for Leontyne Price -- her devoted fans will bask in her vocal sumptuous performance. Admittedly, however, this is rather late Price and by this time in her career, while still vocally secure and shimmering, many, many mannerisms have crept into her interpretation that in the beginning of her career would never have been attempted or tolerated. Her over-employment of straight tone, exaggerated downward portamentos and occasional lack of rhythmic precision give this reviewer a great deal of trouble -- however, many of her steadfast fans will love this performance no matter what -- to each their own. David Stivender's then magnificent Met Chorus delivers some memorable moments: particularly the men in the monks scene with Leonora. Levine as usual conducts with masterful drive and sensitivity. Except for my stylistic reservations about Price,( and those may not affect you,) I highly recommend this Met Telecast on Pioneer for any serious opera lovers collection. Elektra and Lohengrin are rumored to be released soon. Keep them coming Pioneer -- only Elisir, Don Carlo and Troyens remain unreleased on DVD after that.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Performance!!!! September 7, 2001
I think this DVD shows how underrated of a performer Giuseppe Giacomini is. The only other singer to have sung the part of Alvaro so well was Franco Corelli. This is an astounding voice! If you like Giacomini, check out his live CD of Otello. That is a great recording of a terrific production as well.
Leontyne Price also sings an amazing Leonora. The wonderful thing about Price is that there was rarely a time when she did not sing beautifully in her entire career. Overall I am thrilled with this recording. I frequently view it to the annoyance of all non-operalovers who happen to be present.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful performance of a rarely heard Verdi opera
When I decided to buy a DVD of Verdi's "La Forza del Destino," I was confronted at with a number of excellent choices. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Errol Levine
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
leontyne price has a very nice voice. Which is not new. Unfortunately in Switzerland it is difficult to find her records.
Published 7 months ago by charles cottet
5.0 out of 5 stars A Treasure for Any Opera Lover
Sadly there are too few complete opera performances that were recorded and filmed of the great Leontyne Price, one of the greatest soprano interpreters of Verdi from the mid... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Jorge
3.0 out of 5 stars A pretty good performance, but not the best
This MET production release is a tribute to Leontyne Price and nothing more. She is not in top form here. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Charlton Allen
5.0 out of 5 stars A well performed early Verdi opera
This perfromance of La Forza Del Destino has a first rate cast. The staging is flawless and the orchestra is above reproach. A very good listen and view.
Published 23 months ago by W. Tappan Lum
3.0 out of 5 stars Superb but marred by including Leontyne Price
OK I purchased this only to have some record of this special diva (Leontyne Price) for my library. This opera has a fantastic story, with sublime music and libretto and fantastic... Read more
Published on March 28, 2011 by sergei kochkin
5.0 out of 5 stars A Most Cherished Rememberance
While living in New York at the time of this production I went to every performance as long as Leontyne Price sang. Read more
Published on January 14, 2009 by Jeffrey M. Shabman
4.0 out of 5 stars La forza del destino
Though the voice of Lontyne price seems past it's prime,her technique was still attractive. and other singers ,especially Leo nucci,and maestro Levine made this disk one of the... Read more
Published on November 23, 2008 by Sachio NEAGARI
2.0 out of 5 stars What DVD were all these reviewers watching?
I am appalled by all the praise heaped on this DVD. There are many good things about most MET productions but often they utilize a big name who is well past their singing years. Read more
Published on September 18, 2007 by Robert Baksa
5.0 out of 5 stars great!
This cd with Giacomini and Nucci and Price is

priceless, to say the least. I urge you to view it and experience for a moment one grand musical destiny only the unique... Read more
Published on November 16, 2006 by Romualdo A. Monteclar
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