PUCCINI; Madama Butterfly
MASCAGNI: Cavalleria Rusticana
This performance of Madama Butterfly is from the Glyndebourne Festival Octob er 14, 2016. It was designed by Nicky Shaw and direced by Anniliese Miskimmon. puccini's masterpiece here takes part in the 1950s, with a concept that supposedly confronts the "darker political and emotional currents of the story." It is difficult to say just what audiences saw at the actual performance. In the beginning, we see movies/images projected on screens at the back of the stage‚images that a for me add nothing to the performance. The cast does not impress. Moldovan soprano Olga Busuioc in the title role does not suggest the innocence of the young Japanese girl, and her voice lacks the "voca brilliance" refered to in liner notes. There are so many videos available with sterling asts and standard representations of what Puccini intended, that this new version is not competitive.
This performance of the operatic chestnut Cavalleria Rusticana is from February 2019 featuring the chorus and orchestra of Maggio Msicale Fiorentio conducted by Valerio Galli. It is an excellent performance with a strong cast. Greek soprano Alexis Voulgaridou is perfect as the wronged Santuzza, and tenor Angelo Villari impresses as Turiddu. The young Italian, who thus far has made few recording, is at the beginning of his career and specialies in melodramatic tenor roles.I'm sure we will hear much moe from him. Elena Zillo iss exellent s Mmma Lucia but she has a tendency to over-dramatize. Devid Cecconi, after a shaky first aria, is a menacing Afio. This excellent performance has formidabe competition. Many famous sopranos and tenors of the past have recorded this opera and invariably on DVD it is coupled with Pagliacci. I think most collectors would prefer the two for the price of one option.
In 1966 the Johann Strauss Orchestra was formed to provide Vienna audiences with music they wanted to hear. This is a rather small orchestra overshadowed by the great Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra which began giving New Year's concerts in the Musikverein almost a century ago. This DVD offers the Johann Strauss Orchestra directed by Alfred Eichwé in their half-century anniversary concert. It features a group of works by the Strauss family: polkas, marches and waltzes ending with the familiar Radetzky March. Excellent performances throughout, splendid video and audio. If you have an insatiable appetite for music of the Strauss family, investigate this— but there's nothing you will find here that cannot b experienced numerous times on the countless VPO holiday concerts.
R.E.B. (August 2019)