England, 1640s. Civil war and politics interfere with Elvira's plans to marry Arturo, because he is helping Queen Elizabeth escape from the rebels. Elvira doesn't understand any of this, so... See full summary »

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
...
Eric Cutler ...
Arturo, the Royalist and Elivira's beloved
Franco Vassallo ...
Riccardo, the Puritan leader in love with Elvira
John Relyea ...
Giorgio, Elvira's uncle
Valerian Ruminski ...
Gualtero, Elvira's father
Maria Zifchak ...
Enrichetta, widow of King Charles I
Eduardo Valdes ...
Bruno, a Puritan officer
Patrick Summers ...
Himself - Conducted by
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
William Berger ...
Himself - Opera Writer: segment "Opera Madness"
Joseph Clark ...
Himself - Intermission Interviewee
...
Herself - Special Guest Interviewer
Margaret Juntwait ...
Herself - Radio Host
Metropolitan Opera Chorus ...
Chorus
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra ...
Themselves - Orchestra
Renata Scotto ...
Herself - Soprano: segment: "Opera Madness"
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Storyline

England, 1640s. Civil war and politics interfere with Elvira's plans to marry Arturo, because he is helping Queen Elizabeth escape from the rebels. Elvira doesn't understand any of this, so she goes stark raving mad and sings a cadenza while lying flat on her back, her head hanging upside-down over the edge of the stage. Fearing that she might die of grief or fall over into the orchestra pit, Uncle Giorgio and Riccardo sing the complete version of "Suoni la tromba," including the repeats, and no cuts. Not to be upstaged by any of this, Arturo finally returns from his mission and explains everything by singing a high F above C, the highest note ever composed for tenor voice. There is much rejoicing. It's non-stop, nail-biting action, and Beverly Sills is on hand to provide commentary on the drama. Written by dnitzer

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17 February 2007 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

 
A wonderful production of Bellini's Bel Canto masterpiece
21 August 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I also highly recommend the 1976 Met production with Sutherland, Pavarotti, Milnes and Morris(on CD), which is simply a must for any fans of the opera or of these four singers. This is a wonderful production though, with contributions from Renee Fleming and the late great Beverly Sills that are very insightful and in Sills' case quite moving.

The costume and set design I cannot fault, they are very sumptuous and captured perfectly by some excellent video directing. Of the staging which is very efficient while never too cluttered, the highlight is easily where Anna Netrebko lies supine on the stage with her hair hanging into the orchestra pit.

The opera is a masterpiece. The story is an interesting one albeit a little flimsy, but the music is just outstanding with Qui La Voce, O Vieni Al Tempio and the duet between Riccardo and Giorgio some of Bellini's best work.

The performances are excellent. The orchestra and conducting are on top form, and the chorus perform more than adequately. Of the support cast, Maria Zifchak's Erichetta is outstanding. Eric Cutler is overall very good as Arturo with a lovely voice and decent acting. He performs his first aria very well, maybe the top notes lack radiance but how he sustains and hits them is very impressive.

John Relyea is a very impressive Giorgio, with a rich, warm baritone voice- even with a few gravelly moments- and his acting is benevolent and authoritative. Watching him and Netrebko together, you would think that she is lucky to have an uncle like him. Likewise with Franco Vassalo as Riccardo. There is one clumsily executed note at the end of his act 1 aria, however in the rest of the production he sings beautifully especially in the duet between him and Relyea.

Best of all is Netrebko who is just sensational. She has an appearance and acting ability that makes you warm to her very quickly and she is in fine voice with good grace and style to all the difficult ornamentations. Her Qui La Voce is great, but her shining moment is O Vieni Al Tempio which is deeply moving.

In conclusion, wonderful. 10/10 Bethany Cox


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