Andrea Chénier presents a fictionalized account of the last years of the French poet André Chénier, guillotined during the Reign of Terror in 1794. It is the greatest of Giordano’s operas and shows why Puccini sometimes feared Giordano as a rival. Taking the starring role of Chénier, with its three marvellous arias, is Jonas Kaufmann. Soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek sings the role of Chénier’s beloved Maddalena and baritone Željko Lučić stars as Carlo Gérard – the servant-turned-revolutionary who is Chénier’s rival for the love of Maddalena. David McVicar brings Giordano’s thrilling historical drama back to the Royal Opera House for the first time since 1985 in a stunning new production.
"This Bohème is a glorious vindication of traditional staging at its imaginative, re-creative best. Giancarlo Del Monaco here turns his attention to the much more popular work and comes up with a humdinger of a production, beautifully set by Michael Scott in period, fast-moving and full of pertinent detail." (Gramophone)
Leading director Richard Jones staged his witty, darkly comic realization of Gianni Schicchi for The Royal Opera in 2007. The production was revived in 2012 and here he completes the trio with two new productions of Il Tabarro and Suor Angelica. Antonio Pappano conducts an acclaimed cast including Eva-Maria Westbroek, Ermonela Jaho, Lucio Gallo, Elena Zilio and rising star Francesco Demuro. “A triumph…three wonderfully directed and expertly acted productions. Add in Pappano's impeccable conducting and his valuable introductions to the pieces, and you have a nigh-on ideal Trittico.” BBC Music Magazine
This DVD is a new production of the Puccini favourite, staged at Salzburg 2012.Tenor Piotr Beczala rocks as Rodolfo, Mimì’s lover. Massimo Cavalletti sings Rodolfo’s friend Marcello with uncommon finesse and beauty of tone. Nino Machaidze is a moving Musetta.The robust orchestration of this popular opera verges on the ethereal as Mimì’s life slips away. Throughout his reading, conductor Daniele Gatti strikes the perfect balance between sentiment and sentimentality, vigour and fragility, the specter of untimely death and the quick and young it haunts. The New York Times wrote, “You don’t often hear Mimì sung with such vivid character and sheer charisma.”
Puccini’s musical vision of the American West is vividly brought to life in Giancarlo Del Monaco’s atmospheric production. Deborah Voigt is Minnie, the girl of the title and owner of a bar in a Californian mining camp. Marcello Giordani sings Dick Johnson, the bandit-turned-lover hunted by the cynical sheriff Jack Rance (Lucio Gallo), who wants Minnie for himself. Complete with whiskey-drinking cowboys, gunplay, a poker game, and a snowstorm, La Fanciulla del West is Puccini at his most colorful.
Franco Zeffirelli’s magnificent staging of Puccini's final opera, captured here in High Definition Widescreen, is one of the most opulent of all Met productions. A fairy-tale set in a mythical China, the opera tells of the icy Princess Turandot, whose fatal riddles test princes who seek her hand in marriage. Maria Guleghina takes the demanding title role and Marcello Giordani is Calàf, the unknown prince. Young Russian soprano Marina Poplavskaya and veteran American bass-baritone Samuel Ramey co-star. Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons makes his Met debut conducting Puccini's great score which includes the best-loved of all tenor arias - Nessun dorma.
“Glyndebourne has a first-rate lyric comedian in Alessandro Corbelli and a conductor who handles the music with feeling for its tenderness as well as its brio. The lovers, Sally Matthews and Massimo Giordano, bring fresh voices and good looks, and among the mean old relatives Felicity Palmer's brazen-voiced Zita is a joy. Small parts like the Notary's assistants the boy who brings the news that Gianni is on his way are played with relish, and even the corpse of Buoso Donati comes to life as he falls out of the cupboard where he has been bestowed and takes a brisk curtain-call at the end.” (Grammophone)
John Copley’s enduring production of one of the most famously melodious and popular of all operas is a classic of the Royal Opera repertory. With historically accurate designs by Julia Trevelyan Oman and an excellent cast headed by Hibla Gerzmava and Teodor Ilincai, this 2009 revival, in which conductor Andris Nelsons makes a distinguished Royal Opera House debut, does full justice to Puccini’s masterpiece. Filmed in High Definition and recorded in true surround sound.
This production from the historic Teatro Carlo Felice in Genova, Italy, stars the opera worlds power couple, Daniela Dessì and Fabio Armiliato, as lovers Tosca and Cavaradossi. A tragic tale of doomed love interlaced with the age-old themes of jealousy, lust and intrigue, has ensured Tosca its place in the top ten of opera favourites. The task of putting Tosca on the stage in a way that is credible and timeless is both straightforward and difficult. For the three main roles the unscrupulous police chief Vitellio Scarpia and the painter Mario Cavaradossi, who provide a framework for Floria Tosca, a famous singer (both on stage and in real life), all you need is star performers of the required virtuosity, although they do need to display a certain enjoyment in performing something one has never been able to take for granted in music theatre.
Oscar-nominated director Robert Dornhelm lends the story a darker glow, with Bertrand de Billy's soft-centred but warm conducting and two superb star performances. Villazón as Rodolfo, less… sings with a focused intensity which at time recalls Caruso, and makes a scruffily credible hero… Netrebko's creamy-voiced Mimì is no naïve little seamstress; her scarlet satin and glamour-girl make-up suggests she's been around… but her anguish in Act III is no less heartfelt. Dornhelm's sombrely sumptuous images capture a credibly chilly, squalid, yet defiantly romantic milieu.