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Robert Benson, December 2010

MASCAGNI, P.: Cavalleria Rusticana / LEONCAVALLO, R.: Pagliacci (Zurich Opera, 2009) (NTSC) 101489
MASCAGNI, P.: Cavalleria Rusticana / LEONCAVALLO, R.: Pagliacci (Zurich Opera, 2009) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) 101490

Super video and audio also are experienced on this latest coupling of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci taped last season in the Zurich Opera House. Unfortunately, the performances are unexceptional. Director Grischa Asagaroff has moved both operas up a century, which really is of little consequence, but his decision to have the duel between Alfio and Turiddu on stage is ill-advised, and he decided Canio would be drunk during the entire performance. He also elected, for whatever reason, to have the final line of Pagliacci, “la commedia e finita,” spoken almost inaudibly by Canio (instead of Tonio). Often singing in both operas is slightly off-pitch, and sometimes is mediocre—listen to Carlo Guelfi’s opening to Pagliacci. Paoletta Marrocu’s Santuzza and Fiorenza Cedolins’ Nedda are better visually than vocally. Cura’s voice is uneven although he has some exciting moments in the final scene of Pagliacci. A rising star in the operatic world, baritone Gabriel Bermúdez, sings Silvio most impressively. A mixed bag here, but the video and audio are terrific.

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6:57:13 PM, 25 November 2015
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