Written January 31, 2015
The Met had not staged this title in over 20 years, and for good reason. The libretto is so disjointed as to render the plot almost incomprehensible to those who don't already know the story. However, as our first time watching a live movie-theater broadcast of a Metropolitan opera, we were thrilled by the experience. The production, costuming and cast were wonders to behold. During intermissions, the camera is allowed behind the curtain for a fascinating look at the dismantling and rebuilding of the enormous sets, as well as interviews with those involved in the production. We now plan to see one of these every month.
Written November 28, 2014
Through out the three intermissions and afterward all I heard was: and there are touches of Strauss and Puccini and Mascagni. To me this sounds like there is nothing original in the piece. It was tedious musically. I didn't go home whistling anything!! Oh come on! Who doesn't like a bum-chuck Verdi tune to go home with? Theres's clearly a reason why this opera wasn't done at the Met for 30 years. Great singers, though, although the tenor was never my favorite.
Written October 07, 2015
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.
Written May 05, 2015
We had never heard this work or the composer before, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The music was wonderful and the cast (despite the rather cool review by the New York Times' music critic) was sublime. We are traditionalists and we enjoyed the ancient staging. Spectacular describes the sets (like the old days).
Written June 30, 2015
All this HD season, the opera I was looking forward to the most, was,FRANCESCA DA RIMINI.
Unfortunately, the leading tenor has never been one of my favorite Met singers; nor, was I much impressed by the leading soprano, though she did try her best. Time flies. But, twenty-seven years ago, the Met produced this opera,especially, for Renata Scotto. And, her performance, along with Placido Domingo and Cornell Macneil, were magnificent and memorable. Chills ran down my spine, as a sign, that for me, this was an operatic landmark I would always remember as unforgettable and GREAT. The current revival is not.