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Verdi - La Forza del Destino (remastered)
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Product Description

For much of the late 20th century, Leontyne Price was the leading exponent of Verdi's heroic soprano roles--among the most demanding vocal and dramatic categories in opera. One of her specialties was Leonora, the tormented heroine in La forza del destino (The Power of Fate). Her classic performance, combined with some of Verdi's most soaring and energetic music, did much to justify this flawed but compelling masterpiece--a thud-and-blunder melodrama about war, duels, violent death, guilt, vengeance, and concealed identities in which, following a tried and true operatic formula, nearly everybody dies at the end. There are also comic scenes.

A Metropolitan Opera production of La forza del destino starring Leontyne Price should be a basic item in any collection seriously dedicated to Verdi. This would be an even better production if it had been recorded earlier, when her voice was richer and more precisely controlled, but it is clearly a case of better late than never. The supporting cast is capable and sometimes exciting, but frankly no match for the all-star ensemble supporting Renata Tebaldi and Franco Corelli in a 1958 performance at the San Carlo Opera in Naples available only on VHS. That production is filmed in black and white; no subtitles are provided and the video's technical quality is primitive. But it captures the opera's emotional energy and epic scope. --Joe McLellan

Customer Reviews:

  • A Most Cherished Rememberance
    While living in New York at the time of this production I went to every performance as long as Leontyne Price sang. I have been in love with her voice since her debut in another Verdi masterpiece....more info
  • Great Performance!!!!
    I think this DVD shows how underrated of a performer Giuseppe Giacomini is. The only other singer to have sung the part of Alvaro so well was Franco Corelli. This is an astounding voice! If you like Giacomini, check out his live CD of Otello. That is a great recording of a terrific production as well.
    Leontyne Price also sings an amazing Leonora. The wonderful thing about Price is that there was rarely a time when she did not sing beautifully in her entire career. Overall I am thrilled with this recording. I frequently view it to the annoyance of all non-operalovers who happen to be present....more info
  • great!
    This cd with Giacomini and Nucci and Price is
    priceless, to say the least. I urge you to view it and experience for a moment one grand musical destiny only the unique genius of Verdi can give.
    ...more info
  • What DVD were all these reviewers watching?
    I am appalled by all the praise heaped on this DVD. There are many good things about most MET productions but often they utilize a big name who is well past their singing years. Why can nobody see that Price's performance is a DISASTER! We all remember her early recordings which were full of wonderful singing. But by the time this performance was taped she was less than a charicature of her former self. Her tone is often hollow, she approximates most of the melodic lines and doesn't bother with many consonances. Yes, its a shame we have nothing from her best years but lets admit that this the present performance is nothing to rave about. Like the MET Rigoletto which faltered on McNeil's long past retirement lead, this should never been released.

    Sadly, here is another great work for which there is no really adequate performance on DVD.
    ...more info
  • Abandon all hope ye who enter here!
    This recorded performance is a document of bad opera at the MET in the 1980s. As a matter of fact, it's a document of everything that was wrong with opera in the 80s: vast dark dinosaur productions starring aging fame (apparantly, there were just no young noteworthy singers in the 1980s - not here anyway) in clunky productions that clashed with the vastness of the Met stage by cramming it to the roof with heavy dark walls and columns and such. Such a production, apparently, is potentially in your hands. Resist. Your money could be much better spent.

    The best you can say about a DVD like this is that it's a memento mori, a cautionary tale at best. But that is not why we like to listen and watch opera. A minimum standard for a major house like the Met should be that the artists are capable playing and singing on pitch with decent diction.

    New York audiences have become used to some very fine singing during the last 10 years or so, especially women. These are singers who can manipulate subtle turns of character and realize them using sometimes only the timbre of a voice. What we got in the 80s, what I saw and heard of it anyway was its antithesis: ancient, dusty productions, the cynical and pitiful casting of a great singers (Price} who has burned out, who can no longer be relied on even to sing all the notes or to sing on pitch. That goes for the tenor too.

    It's not clear to me whether these flaws were universal or unique to the Met. My only other regular exposure to live opera was Dallas. If it was universal it presents a mystery. What happened? If it was unique to the Met, it isn't any longer, praise Jesus. I'm sorry to say that this DVD doesn't live up to the promise of its cover. One star because I couldn't make it zero....more info
  • A GREAT MEMENTO OF A GREAT SOPRANO
    This performance is worth having as a reasonably good representation of "Forza del Destino", an opera not abundantly available on DVD, but more so for the presence of Leontyne Price in one of her greatest Verdi roles. True, the voice is not as resplendent and luscious as it was some seasons earlier, but the grand authority and imperial voice remain intact. I really wonder who could sing this role as well today as Price does on this Met video. Like Zinka Milanov before her, Price is a Verdi soprano to the manner born, and her bearing and personage alone makes her assuption of this role treasurable. Granted ------ it would have been better for her to have appeared in a DVD of this opera a few years earlier, but in her case, it's better late than never. Now if the Met would only release her farewell 1985 Aida, which, while not as vocally infallable as it was a few years earlier, is still good enough to blow all of the other competition away....more info
  • La forza del destino
    Though the voice of Lontyne price seems past it's prime,her technique was still attractive. and other singers ,especially Leo nucci,and maestro Levine made this disk one of the best available video of "La forza"
    ...more info
  • Great performance, bad cuts.
    The only thing stopping me from giving this excellent DVD 5 stars is the 15 minute cut from the beginning of act 3 scene 2. I almost cried when I realized they had cut the famous soldiers chorus from act 3. Leontyne Price is exellent as is the rest of the cast. I highly recomend it, just brace yourself for the cuts....more info
  • A 'Historic' Forza to Own:"La Splendissima" LIVE on VHS/DVD
    I attended this performance, and even allowing for individual quibbles with various artists heard on this DVD, I believe the sum of its parts are well worth the 'PRICE' of owning it.

    This performance,taped live on a Saturday afternoon in 1983, presents the great American diva, soprano LEONTYNE PRICE in one of her most famous Verdi roles. Her performance, factoring in age(57), career(30+ yrs),& the AFTERNOON, is late vintage Price. Certain vocal mannerisms - a cloudy lower voice, sliding portamenti, and scooping - are indeed present in this performance (as they were in some degree since the late '70s). However, they hardly diminish either the vocal or dramatic impact that Ms. Price brings to this live performance. Her upper register, slightly weaker than before, still rings out minus any wobble and/or false pitches. She sings with beautiful dynamic shadings to accentuate the drama, and still floats pianissimi with little obvious effort. Indeed in this VERDI opera, most of those 'mannerisms' abet the drama, and always did for this particular artist! Ms. Price's performance as the tragic Leonora di Vargas here is heartfelt, passionate, and deeply moving. As there are no other full-length taped commercial opera performances available of this legendary soprano, this VHS/DVD is all the more treasurable for a glimpse of what made LEONTYNE PRICE the reigning Verdi soprano for the past 40 yrs! Tenor Giuseppe Giacomini, while more protean vocally, sings crudely, giving a loud, unsubtle, yet dramatically tenable portrayal of the unfortunate Don Alvaro, complete with a bawling middle, somewhat off-set by ringing high notes. Leo Nucci is a lightweight Verdi baritone, lacking the customary heft and tonal warmth associated with the role of Don Carlo di Vargas. He nonetheless produces exciting vocalism, enhanced by committed acting, and HIS thrilling high notes as well. Mezzo-soprano Isola Jones acts well, looks lovely, but is a barely adequate Preziosilla vocally, with a weak middle voice & a short top. Bonaldo Giaotti's portrayal of Padre Guardiano is somewhat stolid, but his basso is authoritative, and also is beautifully produced. Maestro James Levine's love & mastery of this sprawling masterpiece( the RCA CD version with Price/Domingo/Milnes is magnificent)is evident throughout, birnging clarity to the inherent contrasts between searing, private dramas, and all the lively interludes that occur on the battlefield and amongst the Italian countrysides. Overall,this is a very fine VHS/DVD to own - not the overall best taped performance (Tebaldi, Corelli, etc 1959)- but a Special one for those seeking a cohesive, modern performance of "La Forza del Destino", and starring one of its most celebrated artists, "La Splendissima" soprano Leontyne Price LIVE!! Note: A "cut" (the Soldier's Chorus) while regrettable, is hardly FATAL. Enjoy!
    ...more info