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Verdi: La forza del destino (DVD/Fiorentino)

Saioa Hernández, Roberto Aronica et al; Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Chorus & Orchestra/Zubin Mehta (Dynamic / DVD)

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

La forza del destino (DVD)
Saioa Hernández, Roberto Aronica, Amartuvshin Enkhbat, Annalisa Stroppa, Feruccio Furlanetto, Nicola Alaimo; Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Chorus & Orchestra/Zubin Mehta; dir. Carlus Padrissa (Florence, 2021)
Dynamic DVD: 37930; Blu-ray: 57930   190 mins


There are some excellent musical performances in this new production of La forza del destino, recorded last year at the Teatro del Maggio Musicale in Florence, not least from the house orchestra, on dazzling form under the baton of Zubin Mehta. Saioa Hernández gives a powerful, stately performance as Leonora; Amartuvshin Enkhbat – a voice to listen out for – is commanding as Don Carlo di Vargas. Though vocally a little uneven at the outset, Roberto Aronica settles into the role of Don Alvaro and exudes suitable heroism. If all the performances are dramatically rather static (bar that of Annalisa Stroppa, forced to twinkle as Preziosilla in a Halloween outfit and a costume with flaming breasts) it is hardly surprising, for this is a production that is, frankly, bonkers.

It always rings alarm bells when a director feels obliged to provide explanatory notes, as does Carlus Padrissa in the accompanying booklet, explaining that he has been inspired by the metaphysical theories of David Lewis, ‘the Virgo research’ and ‘a large Michelson interferometer’. So we find ourselves in a production that leaps forward act by act from a stylised 18th century, to the space age, to a post-apocalyptic 30th-century wasteland. Rather than being the precise, unifying ideological concept Padrissa says it is, this approach merely creates a sense of abstraction and alienation. With nothing to humanise the characters, or to ground the action in a recognisable setting, the bewildered viewer is likely to think, regrettably, ‘why should I care?’

Alexandra Wilson

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