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This is a fine performance on all accounts. Despite Pavorotti headlining the cast, it is Sherrill Milnes who really shines. It was this live performance on PBS that really sparked my interest in opera. The performance stands up well to any recording I've ever heard. The acting is also above average.
As a fan of both opera and classical music, this production of Ernani
was a real treat. The music is just sublime, Ernani unless I am missing
something I very rarely see mentioned along with all the Verdi greats
such as La Traviata and Aida and some of the music here makes you
question why. The story is interesting and compelling, quite
complicated sometimes, but there are truly great scenes and I did get
emotional at the end.
The production also looks great. The vidoegraphy has some well-judged angles and close ups, while the costumes are suitably grand and the sets are also pleasing. Kirk Browning's direction just adds to the success of this production, while the conducting is musical and the orchestra are impeccable.
The singing and acting are excellent. Luciano Pavarotti is very good as Ernani. I have been mixed before on his acting and stage presence which is rather basic, but he does show some above decent acting chops and he is in great voice. Leona Mitchell is a lovely Elvira with a beautiful voice, shining especially in the act 1 trio between her, Pavarotti and Milnes and in Ernani involami. Even more impressive is Ruggero Raimondi as the splendidly drawn character of Da Silva, whose acting is excellent and his singing firm and beautiful and he blends well with Pavarotti. The real star though is Sherrill Milnes, not only does he give one of his better performances vocally as seen with his act 3 aria but he really shines in his acting, especially in his spine-tingling duet with Raimondi.
Overall, a fine production with an equally fine cast. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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