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Michael Mark
American Record Guide, November 2010

Fine singing and acting. The Turin supporting cast is a good lot. Palumbo’s tempos are reasonable, and he shapes the music with affection. He has an excellent orchestra and chorus to work with.

To read the complete review, please visit American Record Guide online.

Simon Thompson
MusicWeb International, October 2010

The more I hear this opera the more convinced I am that it is far greater than it normally gets credit for...its melodies are simply glorious. Happily more and more people agree with me...This effort from Turin is mostly very successful...The production is broadly traditional with no gimmicks or directorial intrusions. The sets are minimalist and stylised but the rococo costumes and furniture place us securely within the realm of the French Baroque. The Act 3 ballet is too austerely classical, as well it should be, and the dancers move with grace and beauty...the Adriana of Micaela at her best in the duets at the end of Act 2 and Act 4, spitting venom at the Princess or expiring in Maurizio’s arms. Here she produces beautiful singing, strength coupled with grace, and one could easily forgive her histrionic acting—she is, after all, playing an actress!...There are plenty of good things in her interpretation, but you need to be prepared to take the rough with the smooth...Alvarez is utterly at home as the swaggering Count of Saxony. The role fits his voice like a glove and he revels in its every phrase and nuance. La dolcissime effige is like balm to the ears after the trials of the opening, and his heroic tenor rings with confidence throughout, producing wonderful sounds. Marianne Cornetti is also wonderful as the Princess. She acts the character’s malevolence very well, but she never allows malice to get in the way of the music and she too sounds thrilling when inspired to give of her best in the middle acts.

The Turin orchestra play with feeling and passion, be it in the poignant Act 4 Prelude or the quick-fire scene-setting that opens Act 1. Renato Palumbo’s direction is fine, if not especially distinguished, but he provides a safe pair of hands that springs no surprises. The DVD production is serviceable, with clear Dolby 5.1 (no DTS), though there are no extras and the subtitles are not always ideally easy to follow.

John Yohalem
Opera News, October 2010

CILEA, F.: Adriana Lecouvreur (Teatro Regio Torino, 2009) (NTSC) 101497
CILEA, F.: Adriana Lecouvreur (Teatro Regio Torino, 2009) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) 101498

This Adriana Lecouvreur was broadcast live from Turin in 2009, an astonishing date for its style: the production is set among the furnishings, costumes and wigs of the proper time and place, eighteenth-century Paris. The only anachronisms are the ballet costumes in Act III, far briefer than that era would have deemed acceptable. Alas, the bare flesh adds little to the charms of the mediocre dancers, but the rest of the performance is as close as you will probably get these days to the genuine pleasures of this opera—with the additional delight, courtesy of the high-definition technology, of being able to trace the curl of every fleur-de-lis and feather in every elegant swatch of silk or suede.

Don’t ask me how some chic director would update Adriana, or why anyone would bother; if they did, you just know the piece would be unwatchable, its delicate, old-lace fragrance dispersed and something tawdry replacing it. There is no deep psychological subtext to unearth in the Adriana machine, based on a typically crowded Scribe historical canvas; everyone’s motives are mixed and masked, everyone is “playing a part,” but nothing is concealed from the viewer.

Micaela Carosi has an old-fashioned spinto sound, warm and womanly, and an old-fashioned presence—ease in soft singing, well-supported power without shrillness, and excellent diction in both her sung and spoken passages. Someone appears to have advised her to be “actressy” in the big arias, and this is unfortunate. The real Adrienne Lecouvreur was an inventor of theatrical “naturalism,” and the character’s entrance aria, the irresistible “Io son l’umile ancella,” is a statement of her modesty, her subservience to the playwright whose work she performs. As Carosi plays it, the aria is all feathery gestures and crazy posturings for applause. Such eccentricities mar “Poveri fiori,” as well. Otherwise—in the great duets with Maurizio, the tense scene in the dark with the Princess, the tender moments with Michonnet—Carosi is unaffected and natural, and she sings beautifully. This performance will please those who love this opera, if they can grit their teeth through the overdone “Io son l’umile ancella.”

Tenor Marcelo Álvarez does not cut a terribly romantic figure, but he sings like one, with passionate urgency that never becomes strident or brittle. He draws the loudest ovation of the night for his battle aria, and he deserves it. By contrast, Marianne Cornetti’s “Vagabonda stella” gets no reaction at all—and deserves none, as it is full of colorless notes topped by a wobble. Her Princess settles down later, for the scenes with Maurizio and Adriana, to make some very acceptable sounds, but the initial impression is against her. Alfonso Antoniozzi makes a charming Michonnet, and the rest of the cast is highly professional. Renato Palumbo recollects the grand style and promenades us through Cilèa’s melodious fabric, wringing every possible sigh and tear. I couldn’t get the damned gavotte out of my head for days.

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