horizontal line

Good conducting also marks I Capuletti e i Montecchi, filmed at the Zurich Opera last year, where Fabio Luisi’s seemingly relaxed tempi in fact ratchet up the tension considerably. He takes a deeply serious approach, fluid yet propulsive, perhaps the finest reading of this score since Muti’s at Covent Garden in 1984. Christof Loy’s production is interesting and also deeply contemplative. He stresses that Bellini’s librettist, Romani, provides little action, so he provides motivation and back story to illuminate the characters. Not another auteur, I hear you sigh. But it works very well; we realise that Giulietta survives Romeo (there is nothing in the libretto to indicate her death) and that her abusive and violent childhood has created her damaged personality, open only to Romeo. A simple revolve stage means that we move swiftly through scenes and even timeframes, seeing the physical and emotional aftermath of family feuds, murders and massacres. It’s a startling approach to the opera, but does match its musical sophistication without complicating the basic structure of its libretto. Joyce DiDonato is Romeo, better here than in her previous assumption filmed in San Francisco in 2012. Astonishingly, young Ukrainian soprano Olga Kulchynska learned and debuted the role as a stand-in; remember her name, you will be hearing more of her shimmering lyric soprano. Her naturally fast vibrato blends exquisitely with DiDonato’s, so important in this duet-laden opera.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

   Read full review   

To continue reading, please upgrade to a premium account. You will have immediate full access.

Read more classical music reviews online here:

Opera Now, 2016 - ©Rhinegold Publishing