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Robert Cummings
Classical Net, April 2012

In this rendition of Verdi's La Forza del Destino director David Pountney uses sort of ghostly video projections throughout much of the opera…these images are actually quite effective in giving the opera's theme of coincidence, or happenstance, a more grim sense.

…the sets and video effects give the production a colorful and atmospheric character.

As for the quality of the singing, I can report that it is generally excellent. Nina Stemme makes a most effective Leonora…Though she has a slight wobble in her middle and lower registers, she is still thrilling and thoroughly convincing as Leonora here. Salvatore Licitra…is a fine Alvaro. Carlos Álvarez is splendid in the role of Carlo and Nadia Krasteva is in fine voice and makes an alluring Preziosilla.

The chorus sings splendidly and the orchestra performs admirably for veteran conductor Zubin Mehta. All in all, this is an imaginative and well-sung La Forza. The sound and camera work on the Unitel Classica are excellent and add to the production's considerable strengths. Highly recommended. © 2012 Classical Net Read complete review

Paul Pelkonen
Superconductor, March 2012

VERDI, G.: Forza del destino (La) (Vienna State Opera, 2008) (NTSC) 708108
VERDI, G.: Forza del destino (La) (Vienna State Opera, 2008) (Blu-ray, HD) 708204

On this DVD from the Vienna State Opera…British director David Pountey offers some innovative solutions, drawing inspiration from the spare writing of Cormac McCarthy.

Tenor Salvatore Licítra…is in robust voice, making a virile, exciting Don Alvaro.

Nina Stemme is the real deal here, a potent dramatic soprano who can summon the pleading quality needed for Leonora di Vargas. Her Act IV aria features unearthly, floated notes. The singer then shifts to full force for the final confrontation with her brother and unlucky would-be-suitor, ending the opera in apocalyptic style.

The unit set allows the opera to move swiftly from battlefield to their final encounter, giving the last two acts a propulsive unity where most productions feel disjointed.

Tiziano Bracci has a good comic turn as the skinflint monk Fra Melitone. Alistair Miles doubles as her father and the Padre Guardiano, and is better in the latter role. Nadia Krasteva makes the most of the gypsy turned army recruiter Presiozilla. When the "Rataplan" chorus…ends with everyone being killed in a bomb attack, there is a kind of justice. The choristers cope with all the directorial business, and sing beautifully in the big moments. Zubin Mehta shows his operatic experience in the pit, leading a kinetic performance… © 2012 Superconductor Read complete review

Mike Ashman
Gramophone, March 2012

VERDI, G.: Forza del destino (La) (Vienna State Opera, 2008) (NTSC) 708108
VERDI, G.: Forza del destino (La) (Vienna State Opera, 2008) (Blu-ray, HD) 708204

The production team here…prove that these three sides of the opera, undisguised and played all out, create the work’s dramatic unity. Hudson’s revolving set…consign lengthy scene changes to the dustbin. Zubin Mehta’s well-marshalled, unindulgent, unselfconscious conducting is ideal for both this work and production.

Sound and vision are both helpful and this is the best realised of the four current Forza DVDs. © 2012 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Robert Benson, January 2012

VERDI, G.: Forza del destino (La) (Vienna State Opera, 2008) (NTSC) 708108
VERDI, G.: Forza del destino (La) (Vienna State Opera, 2008) (Blu-ray, HD) 708204

Ballet sequences were outstanding, with the Vienna State Opera Chorus in top form in music they have performed countless times previously. Stemme, known primarily for her Wagner and Strauss…was an ideal Verdian. Licitra here shows he was indeed a successor to Pavarotti, and the chemistry between him and Alvarez is remarkable. No question that young Bulgarian mezzo Nadia Kresteva is the sexiest Preziosilla ever; she puts on a great show. If you are looking for an updated version of Verdi’s masterpiece that does not offend eyes or ears, here it is. © 2012 Read complete review

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