Excellent in every way, yet another ignored Verdi Voice!
Impostazione | New York City Area | 01/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Fortunately, we do not have too many recordings of Forza to choose from. It is hard to cast those roles, so dramatic and long winded and phrases requiring piano and fortissimo and Rosalind Plowright was up to the challenge, but you need more than a big voice to justify Forza, you need TEXTURE too - depth, width, and sheen! No wonder, the opera has vanished from the repertory.
According to what I've heard, she was a Verdi soprano par excellence! Her tendency to cut the top notes short, play with the rhythm at times, and bottle up the tone can't detract from that awesome exciting voice AND that excellent Verdi beat. HOWERVER, Rosalind Plowright seemed to assiduously avoid the typical Verdian soprano sound a la Milanov, Price, Dunn, and Arroyo etc but opted for a brighter sound every bit as huge and crisp as Crespin and as veiled as the Callas of the 1960's. All this makes for an avalanche of a voice that must have raised the roof. She is very very thrilling to hear and this explains why she was a Verdi soprano of choice in Europe during the Milllo and Dunn years. I assume her voice didn't please everyone because it was unwieldy at the top, again like Crespin and also the tone hardened at times; in fact, i must repeat, she sounds exactly like a combination of Callas and Crespin. But make no mistake, those great divas never wrapped their great voices around Verdian phrases like Plowright, especially in .."Son Giunto, grazie o Dio" for in this regard she joins that long line of Verdians going way back to Arangi-Lombardi, Ponselle, and Milanov -- this is Art and anyone who has studied Verdi can identify a Verdian of this caliber. You Verdians out there know what I mean.
Carerras is close to the microphone, and this forcing does not do well in Verdi. Nevertheless, there is an honesty with this man, a passion, an innate truth. I prefer him dead or alive to Domingo, but he is not at the technical level of Domingo or Aragall. Preziosilla is Ms. Baltsa, and how well she sings. I am a FAN of RENATO BRUSON so its not fair to sing his praises!
Giuseppe Sinopoli is intense and he achieves a noble Verdi sound appropriate for Forza, nice and warm sounding but rhythmic indeed. I do like his work in this Forza and I think his work as a Verdian has NOT been bettered, not even by Jimmy Levine who I also really like. However, Trovatore belonged to Zubin Mehta and Humberg (I think I spelled it right - he is on the Naxos Trovatore)
TOP MODERN VERDI -- THAT IS MY ASSESSMENT!"
Warning: no libretto
P. Polzonetti | USA | 02/21/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a good recording, no doubt about it, but costumers should be aware of the fact that there is no libretto included, but only a detailed synopsis."
Musical Sheet Lightning
John D. Pilkey | Santa Clarita, CA USA | 10/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although Verdi's basic style was established early in Nabucco (1842), he keeps getting better down through the 1860s with the spectacular La Forza del Destino and Don Carlo. In listening to his operas after 1870, I am too familiar with Aida and Otello to be deeply impressed with them; and I have never cared for Falstaff. The progress toward "true music drama" climaxing in Otello does not concern me although Boito's brilliant libretto makes that 1887 opera one of Verdi's best. The setting and plot of La Forza del Destino interest me more than any other Verdi opera. The accidental killing of a father, the brother's irrational but deadly vendetta and ,above all, the role played by Italian monasticism capture my imagination. Verdi's supercharged music is convincing at every point. What could be more electric than the brooding overture with its mournful clarinet melody? Leonora prays convincingly to the Virgin and then with a group of monks in Act II. I recall the role played by Italian monasticism in Ann Radcliffe's striking novel The Italian published in the 1790s, the same decade that Cherubini's Medee set the pattern of "grand opera," a basic element in Verdi despite all the talk about "music drama" without arias. Ewen observes, "With its pronounced dramatic content and enriched harmonic and orchestral writing, La Forza del Destino represents a gradual departure from the style of La Traviata toward that of Aida." I prefer to see this brilliant opera as a end in itself apart from any progressive scheme.
I appreciate most the interaction of keen drama with religion in a form preferable to the rather morbid religious-secular dualism of Wagner's Tannhauser. Although Verdi's monks may sing quietly, the religious element blends with the plot more convincingly than in Wagner's schematically opposed Pilgrim's Chorus and Venusberg music. Even more striking is the contrast between Verdi's opera and Tchaikovsky's frantic Eugen Onegin where the protagonist's stupid egotism results in a tragic duel. In Act IV of La Forza del Destino the noble lover Alvaro tries to convince the vengeful Carlo that "God alone can bring retribution." Although Carlo murders his sister and Alvaro is weak enough to curse his "destiny" (secular language for the overruling sovereignty of God), the last word goes to Padre Guadiano in "Non imprecare, umiliati." In addition to all these features the performance gives us Agnes Baltsa as an entertaining gypsy Preziosilla. Verdi measures out just the right amount of this change of pace rather than making us wallow in it as does Bizet's Carmen. In his great tragic opera, Verdi proves once for all that one of the best forms of opera is high-tension theater. His work forms a perfect complement to the operas of Meyerbeer."