For my taste, some pleasantly-Italianate vocal lines, but no really lasting-in-the-memory arias or
melodies. Beautiful visuals, and the orchestra sounded lush in its interpretation under Armiliato. Giordani's voice, to my ear, is pretty "run-of-the-mill Italian tenor", nothing remarkable, and I felt he's a bit long in the tooth for the character of Paolo; not a very expressive actor either. Westbroek, on the other hand, over-acted Francesca to the point of appearing overly bipolar; vocally, however, she had the richness and strength that Zandonai gave to the role. Delavan, as Gianciotto, lacked enough threatening characterization and physical 'disability' that Ricordi's libretto seems to infer; and, while his vocal range demonstrated a warm depth, his vocal line needed better flow, IMO.
Admittedly, I'm not a big fan of much of Wagner's operas, and Parsifal is no exception to that; but,
I chose to attend this performance principally to (a) hear/see J. Kaufmann in a full-length opera, and (b) experience this brand-new, updated Francois Girard production of this piece. I was not disappointed at the results of either expectation. And, despite the fact that, IMO, Wagner took way too long (5+ hours !!) to get this "spiritual message" told, with action that was far too slow-paced, the vocal performances of Kaufmann, Rene Pape, and Peter Mattei were remarkable; Dalayman's Kundry was well-acted, but her voice didn't move me much.
David Alden's resetting of this new production to late 1920's Stockholm, with marvelously creative
sets by Steinberg and gorgeous costumes by Reiffenstuel, works beautifully, as did the very inventive staging - - BRAV-O !!! Vocally, for me, Radvanovsky was the clear stand-out; the many colors, nuances and excellent control over her instrument, as well as appropriate and attentive acting of the role, only served to present a stirring, fine Amelia. Alvarez was, in my opinion, a rather studied and lack-luster Gustavo ... pleasant enough to listen to, but not very "natural" or gifted an actor, and noticeably short on vocal shadings. Hvorostovsky was, well, HVOROSTOVSKY - - very Russian, with his typical macho depth and swagger, but you've gotta love the power and breadth with which he performs: it's as if he utilizes the cavity of his entire body, all the way into his fingers and toes, to produce such expansive sound ! Blythe's instrument was rich and round as ever.
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