Tag: Troyanos

Bellini / Norma “Va, crudele” / Troyanos & Domingo

I just finished watching this DVD of opera recitals from the Met in the early 1980s. The clip below is the point at which the Troyanos/Domingo part of the recital got going for me, at least. In the track listing for the DVD it is noted as simply “Duet, Act I” from Bellini’s Norma and I think the idea is that you’re supposed to know what that is already and what all the words mean, because there aren’t any subtitles.

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La Clemenza di Tito / Troyanos, Neblett, Malfitano et al. / Rome 1980 (3)

(Previous section here.)

There were parts of this that I liked more than others. Catherine Malfitano as Servilia was rather sweet – but she didn’t have much to do most of the time other than cock her head and look concerned (there was enough of this that at times it was more wobbling her head and looking concerned, but I’m not sure that this is entirely Malfitano’s fault). I enjoyed listening to Kurt Rydl (Publio)’s voice, but this is not the type of production that attempts to make Publio interesting, so he wasn’t, very much. But the sound was nice.

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La Clemenza di Tito / Troyanos, Neblett, Malfitano et al. / Rome 1980 (2)

(Previous section here.)

As mentioned, this DVD was filmed amid real Roman ruins in Rome. And it’s a movie of an opera, not a DVD of a performance – the action moves around several different areas, none of which is a stage as such. (I think the audio and the video were recorded separately, too. For one thing, it doesn’t sound as if it’s being performed outside. For another, you can see little blips in the synching here and there. And finally, that would have to be a mighty mobile orchestra that maestro Levine was conducting.)

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Verdi – Don Carlos / Moldoveanu, Scotto, Troyanos / Metropolitan Opera 1980 (3)

(Previous section here.)

So. What ‘acting’ means in an operatic context has clearly changed over the past thirty-two years. We expect more subtlety and perhaps a little less stiff grandeur than audiences a few decades ago. As a result the emotional tone of this production seems strange, even stilted: Carlos, for example, is pitched so much as the ‘manly romantic hero’ that he comes off as a bit of a stuffed shirt.

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Verdi – Don Carlos / Moldoveanu, Scotto, Troyanos / Metropolitan Opera 1980 (2)

(Previous section here.)

Our Carlos here is Vasile Moldoveanu. And he sounds very nice. But Carlos is a little too much in control of himself. He is sometimes tormented, of course, because he’s Don Carlos. But neither his sudden and ill-advised infatuation with Elisabeth nor his sudden and ill-advised political awakening nor any of the rest of it ever ring true in terms of characterization. Moldoveanu just looks concerned and/or slightly rattled most of the time. And where you might expect Carlos to be warm or enthusiastic, it doesn’t quite happen – Posa doesn’t even rate a hug when he shows up. They sort of touch arms and back off. It looks like a version of ‘manly’ emotional control, but Carlos is not really a person who has a great deal of that, if you think about it.

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Verdi – Don Carlos / Moldoveanu, Scotto, Troyanos / Metropolitan Opera 1980 (1)

If you are looking for the opposite of Regietheater, as I was doing this weekend, a Met production from the early 1980s is a pretty safe bet. You go into it expecting a certain style of soothing literal-mindedness, and that’s pretty much what you get in this case.

So. This DVD of Don Carlos is well worth anyone’s time. I ended up liking it for what I think are the right reasons and disliking for what I am sure are the wrong ones.

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