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Two filmed performances provide valuable legacies of Italian singers sadly cut down in their prime. First is tenor Salvatore Licitra (1968-2011) as Don Alvaro in La forza del destino, caught in Vienna 10 years ago. His singing is admirably clear and clean, his tone noble. Alongside him, Nina Stemme is a gutsy Leonora, assiduously following the score’s markings, Carlos Álvarez an outstanding Don Carlo, Alistair Miles a firm and cleanly-sung Padre Guardiano. Nadia Krasteva copes admirably with Preziosilla’s sexy cowgirl routines. And there, as you may guess, lies the rub. David Pountney’s production pairs the overture with a video of the fatal bullet’s trajectory – subtlety isn’t a strong point here. Minimalist to the point of emptiness, the main reason for watching a production that was an infamous failure is for the cast (unless you like watching cowboys and girls wiggling to Verdi, in which case it’s a must-have). Zubin Mehta conducts with precision and a sense of style not reflected in the staging. I saw a performance of this run and remember a certain froideur in the auditorium.

FRANCIS MUZZU Read the full review on Agora Classica

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