David's Review Corner
, May 2011
If you have already bought the DVD you can rest content with an outstanding release. Those still to discover the opera will probably opt for the Blu-ray version. From a sound point of view the advantage is not massive, but the sharp-edged colour definition is a major plus, and I admit to being wedded to this new audio-visual format. To briefly summarise my previous review: Franco Alfano never recovered from the fiasco surrounding his completion of Puccini’s opera, Turandot, when the great conductor, Arturo Toscanini, walked out of the orchestra pit the moment his completion began. Yet he had shown in his 1936 opera, Cyrano de Bergerac, a fine craftsman in the great Italian opera tradition. Based on the love story of Cyrano, a man so disfigured by his large nose that he was unable to offer his love to Roxane. The written and spoken words that he gives to the handsome Christian causes Roxane to fall in love with him. Only when Christian is killed on the battlefield and Cyrano fatally wounded, does she learn the truth. Alfano gives a wonderfully part to Roxane in the third act and a deeply moving fourth act, the two worthy of a place in the operatic repertoire. The 2007 production is as spectacular as its location in the new Palau de les Arts in Valencia. The sets are large; the costumes magnificent, and Michal Znaniecki’s direction ‘traditional’ in best sense of the word. Placido Domingo in the name role is in fine shape, singing with passion and total involvement, while the exciting new soprano, Sondra Radvanovsky, is a memorable Roxane, her high notes totally secure and free. Arturo Chacon Cruz is a likeable Christian, the many lesser parts well cast. The presentation includes the usual English subtitles and a good accompanying booklet. In either DVD or Blu-ray I strongly recommend it to you.