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Giordano’s one-hit wonder about the French Revolution is what many believe opera should be: soaring melodies, big choral numbers, superstar singers. It certainly gets the latter in this 1997 production from the Metropolitan Opera, released now for the first time on video. The main attraction is Pavarotti in one of his signature roles. Recorded at a time when his voice had lost its youthful bloom, he concentrates on enunciating rather than belting the words; the result is very effective. Singing Maddalena opposite him is the magnificent Maria Guleghina who is on fire; their duets are inspired. There is also a scene-stealing, flat out performance from Juan Pons as the jealous revolutionary Gerard. Nicolas Joel’s production is a traditional stand-and-sing affair, with cast in period costume. Camera director Brian Large skilfully disguises the static nature of much of what is happening on stage, allowing the viewer to wallow in James Levine’s sure-footed account of Giordano’s richly romantic score.

Richard Fawkes Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Opera Now, 2012 - ©Rhinegold Publishing