About us / Contact

The Classical Music Network


Europe : Paris, Londn, Zurich, Geneva, Strasbourg, Bruxelles, Gent
America : New York, San Francisco, Montreal                       WORLD

Your email :



Giuseppe Verdi: La battaglia di Legnano
Andrew Richards (Arrigo), Dimitra Theodossiou (Lida), Leonardo López Linares (Rolando), Enrico Giuseppe Iori (Federico Barbarossa), Gabriele Sagona (Il podestŕ di Como), Giovanni Guagliardo (Marcovaldo), Sharon Pierfederici (Imelda), Francesco Musinu (First Consul of Milan), Federico Benetti (Second Consul of Milan), Alessandro De Angelis (A Herald), Nicola Pascoli (Arrigo’s Squire), Coro del Teatro Lirico “Giuseppe Verdi” di Trieste, Paolo Vero (Chorus Master), Orchestra del Teatro Lirico “Giuseppe Verdi” di Trieste, Boris Brott (Conductor), Ruggero Cappuccio (Stage Director), Carlo Savi (Set and Costume Designer) [participation of Mimmo Paladino and Matthew Spender], Tiziano Mancini (Video Director)
Recorded live at the Teatro Lirico “Giuseppe Verdi” di Trieste (February 23 & 29 and March 2, 2012) – 130’ (including bonus introduction)
C Major Entertainment # 722608 (distributed by Naxos of America) – Booklet in English, German, French and Italian – Subtitles available in Italian, English, German, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Japanese

Whether Joseph Méry took into account the two uprisings of La Bataille de Toulouse (one occurred in 721 the other in 1814) or leaned more heavily on the latter, Giuseppe Verdi still drew from the Marseilles-born’s play for his 14th opera of the same name. While the framework of strife amongst two opposing factions is evident, Verdi centered his conflict around the invasion of Lombardy by Germany. To this day the ardent romanticist Méry is better remembered as co-librettist for Verdi’s forthcoming Don Carlos (premiering at the Opéra Paris in 1867) than with his link to the tragedia lirica that opened 18 years earlier at the Teatro Argentina in Rome.

La battaglia di Legnano has great reason for being performed so infrequently: it lacks any substantive music. And while the opening bars of brass fill the air in the “Sinfonia” and stick in listeners’ minds (an attenuated attempt to replicate France’s La Marseillaise), not much else does. Staging by Ruggero Cappuccio only confounds this prosaic music.

Boris Brott’s conducting doesn’t promulgate vibrancy: the orchestra has an unenergetic aura. The venue in which this production was filmed may help explain the one-dimensional flatness and tininess of sound quality. Weaving throughout the opera we find an innocuously white garbed female painter vacuumed from the action, ethereally and unrealistically painting stage props that seems to suggest Mr. Cappuccio’s approach in the telling of La battaglia di Legnano is through either or both sets of eyes of 19th century painters Amos Cassoli and Massimo Taparelli d’Azeglio. One can’t help think Tosca’s Cavarodossi might drop by. A century forward we have Carlo Savi’s chorus dressed in 1930s Depression Era garb and principals’ drapery evincing a patchwork of time periods that simply doesn’t congeal. Blocking is relatively static and unimaginative. Plastic sheathed curtain wings may infer that stage props (i.e. paintings, busts) are in some sort of archival storage.

On a loftier note, Nino Napoletano’s shadowing helps to create an aesthetic impression of being in the crypt of the basilica of Sant’Ambrogio, but, overall, the lighting doesn’t carry much value. Without knowledge of the plot in advance, the actions of hiding behind big racked paintings and climbing up and over crated Romanesque busts (as if jumping off a balcony), befuddles the audience.

The saving grace lies within the major cast members though with timid limitation. Andrew Richards as Arrigo likely possesses the most expressive and demonstrative pizzazz, but he struggles greatly when reaching high notes. The heightened dramatic moment in Act III (“Vendetta d’un momento”) is an emotional tussle surrounding Rolando, Arrigo and Lida though not convincing enough to have us grind our teeth with anxiousness. Dimitra Theodossiou’s soprano diction has loft and controlled dynamics despite waning into flatness during closing bars of her “Preghiera.” Similarly, Leonardo López Linares’ anger toward Arrigo creates a bluster of drama, yet fails to wring out substantive momentum.

Though Verdi’s La battaglia di Legnano’s unleashes fractioned brazenness, it never comes full circle, and it is trumped by greater qualities found within the Italian’s other works.

Christie Grimstad




Copyright ©ConcertoNet.com