Very worthwhile production of an uneven but underrated opera
I Vespri Siciliani is an uneven opera, while it has some amazing moments such as the lengthy ballet sequence, Elena's big showpiece and Guy De Montforte's In Bracchio Alle Douvzie, it is overlong and the narrative does feel overwrought. The characters are good enough, Montforte especially and Arrigo(the only one I think to go on a journey character-wise) is the best developed character, but as far as Verdi opera characters go I am not sure whether I'd go as far to deem them memorable.
While I prefer the 1989 La Scala production and the 1973 RCA Victor broadcast of I Vespri Siciliani, this production is very good and worthwhile. The costumes and sets are attractive and quite grand and there is some very interesting video directing. The conducting, chorus and orchestra are also spot on.
Fine performances as well. My least favourite of the principals is Veriano Luchetti, his voice is absolutely great, but I don't always find him particularly commanding on stage. Leo Nucci is excellent however as Montforte, and Bonaldo Giaiotti is a noble and beautifully characterised Procida. My favourite is Susan Dunn's Elena, her voice is just wonderful with captivating range, breath control, agility and clarity and for me her Act 4 aria was the production's highlight.
Overall, very worthwhile. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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