Somewhat disappointing, but recommendable all the same
As a life-long fan of opera and of Placido Domingo, I watched this production of La Gioconda. The opera itself is one I like quite a big deal, the music especially is wonderful as you would expect really in opera. This production is one I recommend but I found myself disappointed by it, then again it could have something to do with how much I loved the 1979 television film with Renata Scotto in the title role.
Starting with the things I did like, the orchestra and conducting are first-rate bringing the superb music to life, and while the Carnival time scene could have perhaps been more jolly the chorus do sing very well. Dramatically there are some fine moments especially the ending, the duet between Enzo and Barnaba and the nimbly choreographed Dance of the Hours, and Cielo e Mar is nicely understated. The costumes are very nice, especially at the beginning of act 3 and the performances from the entire cast can't be faulted, the two leads Eva Marton and Placido Domingo are especially outstanding and Barnaba is wonderfully devilish in characterisation.
On the other hand, when I saw it, on DVD that is, the sound quality was disappointing. Some of it was very muffled, and there is some really distracting individual voice mumbling-probably the prompter- particularly in the quieter moments. The sets most likely to do with the lighting and how they were painted are rather flat in their look as well, particularly the ship set.
All in all, disappointing but I do think it is worth watching. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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