Customer Reviews


20 Reviews
5 star:
 (14)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:
 (4)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


49 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Francesca Possible......
While I agree with the other review about the merits of this performance, I do not agree that his review should be a forum for the merits of Francesca di Rimini as an opera. Francesca is well known to the opera cognoscenti for generations. Zandonai had a unique voice which was never to everyone's liking. Nevertheless, Francesca has remained in the repertory in Italy...
Published on December 31, 2007 by OperaLover

versus
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Who is Zandonai?
The only reason why I got this opera is because I saw it on the 2012 MET HD schedule. I had never heard of Zandonai but of course we love Tchaikovsky's Francesca da Rimini. First in defense of the 3 star review this gentleman has all the right to rate it lower because he did not appreciate it....he is discerning. All operas cannot be 5 stars. This would appear to be a...
Published 24 months ago by sergei kochkin


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

49 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Francesca Possible......, December 31, 2007
By 
This review is from: Zandonai: Francesca Da Rimini (DVD)
While I agree with the other review about the merits of this performance, I do not agree that his review should be a forum for the merits of Francesca di Rimini as an opera. Francesca is well known to the opera cognoscenti for generations. Zandonai had a unique voice which was never to everyone's liking. Nevertheless, Francesca has remained in the repertory in Italy without interruption. Clearly there are enough supporters of the opera to keep it popular. If you don't like this opera, don't buy it. Meanwhile don't damn this superior DVD with only three stars because you don't like the piece in the first place. This is not a forum for your learning curve.

As to the performance itself, without the likes of Magda Olivero or perhaps Raina Kabaivanska in her prime, Renata Scotto brings a sense of authority and style to this music that is incomparable. Perhaps one may not like this high note or that, but her supreme knowledge of the verisimo idiom makes her the only choice for this role at the time of this broadcast. Domingo is in spectacular form and looks the part to perfection. MacNeil also displays vocal flaws but performs the role to the manner born: he is truly menacing. The production is exquisite in every way and gives the opera the best possible presentation imaginable: this includes intentionally stylized acting, presumably recreating the style that was prevalent at the time the opera was written. James Levine conducts magnificently as if this opera were indeed a masterpiece. I do wish (and I know this is a controversial opinion) that some cuts had been made, especially the redundant music written for Francesca's handmaidens. Cuts in this opera are routine in Italy however controversial they may be.

This DVD is a MUST for any lover of the verismo idiom! Thank you DG for this wonderful re-mastering.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Met puts best foot forward, August 7, 2002
The Metropolitan Opera went all out to make its production of this rarely performed work a success. The sets are beautiful and match the music perfectly. The conducting and playing could hardly be bettered. Scotto is nearly perfect in the title role (just a few years earlier she would have been absolutely perfect). Domingo was at his best as Paolo. Nevertheless, veteran baritone Cornell MacNeil nearly steals the show as the nasty, brutish Gianciotto. At this stage of his career, his voice was no longer beautiful, but it still had the range, power, and expressiveness to personify this evil character. The opera falls somewhat short of being an unqualified musical masterpiece, but it is a fascinating and dramatically effective work and has some stunning scenes, including the longest battle scene I have ever seen on stage in an opera theater (Die Walkure, Act III Scene 1 is shorter and the actual battle seems always to take place off stage). I recommend that you get this one. You won't be bored.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXQUISITE PRODUCTION OF A RARE OPERA, July 10, 1999
By A Customer
This is a visually extravagant production mounted for Renata Scotto. The sets evoke all the voluptuousness of art nouveau and the costumes are colorful. Scotto not only sings the title role well but her acting also brings out the sensuality of Francesca. Domingo is also in top form. Levine brings out the lushness of this fragrant score. Highly enjoyable.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Francesca da Rimini at the Met (DVD), July 12, 2002
By 
David Edgley "Nottinghamian" (Nottingham United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Francesca da Rimini is a fascinating opera and in parts - the end of act 1, the second half of Act 3 - truly magical. It is not the sort of opera which would take kindly to a minimalist production or to updating, so - in this case - the lavish sets and costumes provided by the Met are entirely appropriate and highly effective (though I do wish the audience would refrain from applauding the scenery). The opera stands or falls by the casting of Francesca and Paolo and in this production it definitely stands. In 1984, Placido Domingo was a dashing and handsome Paolo acting with verve and on top vocal form. We perhaps too often take him for granted because he has been so good for so long. Francesca is supposed to be young and beautiful. Renata Scotto is neither, but for much of the time she makes you think that she is. Her acting is most certainly of the operatic variety, but it works. At this stage in her career, when she is called upon to deliver the highest notes her voice turns hard and wobbles - fortunately there are not that many of the highest notes in this part. The rest of the voice remains gorgeous and infinitely expressive. Levine and the Met orchestra play superbly.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A landmark in opera, March 23, 2009
By 
Dino Starcevic Rivera (San José, Costa Rica) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Zandonai: Francesca Da Rimini (DVD)
Superb, amazing, exotic, erotic. As Gabrielle D'Annunzio's poetry, such it is this Metropolitan Opera production of Francesca da Rimini. A classic on recorded operas, we have to thank the Met for registered this magnificent production.
If the sum of talents weren't enough, there is Renata Scotto. As the critic of the moment (1984) remarked, she found HER character. I haven`t found a better Scotto on video, no matter how much I love her Giorgetta. Here, as Francesca, she reinvented herself and reach the stars. She MUST be seen.
Do not miss this one.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The stars were in perfect alignment..., May 13, 2009
By 
B. Cathey "ParsifalCSA" (Wendell, NC United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Zandonai: Francesca Da Rimini (DVD)
I saw--and absorbed---Francesca da Rimini when the Met offered it, and like almost everyone else, I was swept away. Oh, yes, Zandonai is not Puccini, not Mascagni, but there is just something "special" about Francesca da Rimini that has always captivated me (well, I also like very much Spontini, Montemezzi, Auber, R.Strauss, and Mussorgsky). With the right cast and staging it DOES work...and the Met production, with Domingo, Scotto, and MacNeill, all in stellar voice, and those magnificent sets, well, it was indeed an "event" of the first order. And this DVD preserves it all.

I must confess that I really adore all the twists and exotic turns musically, as well. Ovderheated? Oh, yes, most definitely. Not something you want to hear or see everyday...but, wow, yes, most assuredly from time to time. The love duet at the end of Act III and the final feverish scene of Paolo and Francesca are simply spectacular, passion-filled, volcanic eruptions....I don't fight them, rather I just enjoy them.

Magda Olivero, Leyla Gencer, and Raina Kaibavanska sang Francesca, and I enjoy each of their interpretations, but this Met production remains unique and special.

Let yourself go, let the music (as overblown as it may seem, at times) and the drama envelope you. Have a glass of wine with it all, and simply enjoy it. Highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A LITTLE-KNOWN WONDER, March 22, 2000
By 
Nancy H. Rathke "oldmoo" (Madison, WI United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This opera doesn't find its way to the stage very much, but I fell in love with this video version and look forward to seeing it live somewhere. The first act sets the stage with a great Pre-Raphaelite look, as Francesca and Paolo meet and begin their doomed love. The music, highly melodic in the first and final acts, is charged with drama. In between, you have the brutal scenes of war, hate, violence--with Paolo's brothers, a nasty pair, contrasting nicely with the languid beauty of the two lovers' encounters. This is truly a case where the sets and costumes create a jewel-like setting for the sensual emotions displayed in Zandonai's music.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scotto Convert, February 21, 2006
Being too young to have ever experienced Scotto live, I was confused as to why Met audiences held her so high in her heyday. I had heard her recordings and thought she was interesting but that her floppy high notes were a major turnoff. Then, I saw this DVD. I completely understand her appeal now. She is magnetic and (I can't believe I am saying this) the loose high notes didn't even bother me. Everything else in this production is high quality as well. If you are a fan of Scotto, this is a must have. Also, the score of this piece is worth hearing and I haven't heard it done better than this (in fact, it is hard to find many recordings of this at all)...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "In the Trembling of the Stars", January 1, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Zandonai: Francesca Da Rimini (DVD)
This is certainly one of the Metropolitan Opera's most fascinating productions available on DVD.

In 1984, the Met mounted a new production, directed by Piero Faggioni, of Riccardo Zandonai's "Francesca da Rimini," after the purpled play by Gabriele d'Annunzio. Most of us knew the score from the 1969 recording of excerpts from Decca, starring Mario del Monaco and the magnificent Magda Olivero, conducted by Nicola Rescigno. Here, we had Renata Scotto, Plácido Domingo, and Cornell MacNeil as the tragic triangle, conducted by James Levine. (This writer saw several rehearsals and performances of this production in the theatre.)

Faggioni's staging is really grand, recreating the theatre style of the verismo era, and resembling great silent-film acting. The detail and grace of his work here is indescribable. Ezio Frigerio's sets and Franca Squarciapino's costumes are truly magnificent. To have seen this in the theatre is to never forget the experience.

Scotto's performing here is sublime, her movements marvellously co-ordinated with the music to moving and authoritative effect. She was certainly one of the finest singing-actresses, and her voice, sometimes harsh, is totally expressive, her musicality exquisite.

Domingo fits the character of Paolo il Bello to perfection, and MacNeil roars like a beast in a stunning portrayal of the betrayed husband. The remainder of the cast could hardly be improved. Especially noteworthy are Richard Fredricks, William Lewis, Natalia Rom (a great artist and a marvellous Biancofiore, near the start of her career), Gail Robinson, Isola Jones, Anthony Laciura, and Brian Schexnayder.

A thundering, transcendent experience.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning in every way, November 30, 2009
By 
J. L. Glass (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Zandonai: Francesca Da Rimini (DVD)
I agree with all the positive opinions given here on this DVD. I was lucky enough to have seen this production twice at the Met during the two seasons it was performed. Having attended the Met many times, I can say that this was overall one of the most stunningly beautiful productions I'd ever seen there, let alone at any other opera house. Aside from the sets and scenery, the staging and singing is magical, and through their passionate performances, Domingo and Scotto (despite some vocal shortcomings) seem to become the illicit lovers Francesca and Paolo. Scotto does a particularly magnificent job of conveying Francesca's girlish innocence at the beginning and her uncontrollable passion at the tragic end.

As for the opera per se, if I had to describe Zandonai's score, I would say it sounds like Puccini crossed with Richard Strauss. It is a highly individual, richly orchestrated and passionate work. The music and poetry of the libretto capture the ecstasy and sadness of a passion bordering on the obsessive. The florid writing of the libretto, however, may be a bit much for some tastes, given that it was written by the eccentric, "decadent" poet/playwright/right-wing Italian patriot Gabrielle D'Annunzio and taken directly from his play of the same name. In any case, Zandonai's opera is not for everyone, but it is very special and deserves to be performed more frequently in the U.S. If you are a "Francesca da Rimini" fan, this DVD must be in your library.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Zandonai: Francesca Da Rimini
Zandonai: Francesca Da Rimini by Piero Faggioni (DVD - 2007)
$29.98 $27.58
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.