This performance of this underrated opera is my definition of operatic heaven
I have seen many outstanding opera productions, but not many over the past three or so weeks have been as outstanding as this production of Nina, O Sia La Pazza Per Amore. The opera is a highly pleasurable and underrated opera, the story is simple yet very tragic and moving and the music is gorgeous.
This production is wonderful on every level. The sets are minimalist however very effective, and the costumes and lighting are suitably sumptuous and don't take away from the opera's mood. The production is well-preserved on DVD, with very good picture quality and interesting camera work.
Musically as with a vast majority of opera productions I've seen, Nina is faultless. The orchestra have verve and style, which are needed for the likes of Paisiello(Nina's composer), Mozart and Rossini. The conducting is also superb, brisk tempos yet there is always room for pathos and subtlety too. The clear sound helps.
The interaction with all the soloists(principals and instrumentalists) and the chorus is in sync with one another, none of the stolid acting in sight.
Singing and acting are superb. Cecilia Bartoli is simply wonderful in the title role, her husky and dark mezzo is put to ideal use and her high notes are well supported too. Her acting is also to be commended, her Mad scenes are effectively done but she is very moving as well particularly in Il Mio Ben Quando Verra.
In support, the best for me were Laszlo Polgar as her father, he possesses a rich voice and his acting is both cruel and remorseful, and Jonas Kaufmann who shows a beautiful voice with ringing high notes and a baritone-like quality and vivid acting especially in his big solo aria and the wonderfully sarcastic duet with Polgar.
Juliette Galstian is a moving yet humorous and bossy Susanna, and Angelo Veccia is great as Giorgio the major-domo.
All in all, operatic heaven, doing justice to a vastly underrated work. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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