Not my favourite Adriana Lecouvreur but has many good things about it
Of the few other Adriana Lecouvreurs I've seen, the others were Caballe's, Freni's, Dessi's and Sutherland's in order of preference, and of those four(as you may have guessed) the 1976 Caballe performance is my favourite. This Royal Opera House Adriana Lecouvreur from 2010 is still very good though.
What was it I didn't like so much? Very little, though one of them is a very big flaw and the other just a preference. One was that the Comedy-Francaise staging came across as irritating for me. The other, and the biggest flaw is Angela Gheorghiu's Adriana. Hers is not a terrible performance, a lot of the production sees her in beautiful voice with great musicality and there is definitely a heartfelt acting ability here, especially in her Act 4 aria. On the other hand, I don't think Gheorghiu's lyric voice is particularly suited to Adriana, there are moments where she is underpowered and while she has the high notes I feel she could have gone for them more. And while she is moving, girlish, coquettish, agitated, but she is not quite grand enough.
However, the rest of the performances are great. In particular Jonas Kaufmann's Maurizio. Sometimes with Kaufmann I do worry about whether he is preserving his voice well, but I have always admired his chocolaty baritonal warmth and the fact that he is perhaps the most musical tenor since Domingo. Cavaradossi and Don Jose show that quality more perhaps, but it is there certainly with Maurizio. Dramatically, he is ardent and commands the stage with effortless ease, and he is as handsome as ever which helps. Olga Borodina conveys the princess's jealousy and domineering attitude perfectly, and sings powerfully. Alessandro Corbelli is very touching as Michonnet, and Maurizio Muraro is a well-sung Prince.
As for the musical side of the performance, that's faultless. There is very lush orchestral playing and Mark Elder conducts with nuances and a great deal of respect for Cilea's beautiful score. The sound is great. As are the production values, the colours are incredibly rich, and the costumes and sets are sumptuous in how they look and are designed. The picture quality for the Blu-Ray is sharp and very vivid, a big part perhaps of why the production looks so good when watching it. Apart from the Comedy-Francaise staging, David McVicar directs with intelligence, making the character and story complexities clear, and a lot of scenes are beautifully done. That is especially true of the scene at Mlle Duclos' villa.
Overall, has many good things about it but I wish I loved it rather than really liked it. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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