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
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