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Giuseppe Verdi: Simon Boccanegra
Leo Nucci (Simon Boccanegra), Tamar Iveri (Amelia), Roberto Scandiuzzi (Jacopo Fiesco), Francesco Meli (Gabriele Adorno), Simone Piazzola (Paolo Albiani), Paolo Pecchioli (Pietro), Luca Casalin (A captain), Olena Kharachko (Amelia’s maidservant), Coro del Teatro Regio di Parma, Martino Faggiani (Chorus Master), Orchestra del Teatro Regio di Parma, Daniele Callegari, Marina Bianchi (Stage Director, staged by Giorgio Gallione), Guido Fiorato (Set and Costume Designer), Tiziano Mancini (Video Director)
Recorded live at the Teatro Regio di Parma, Parma, Italy (March 23, 25 and 28, 2010) – 148’ (including bonus introduction)
C Major Entertainment # 724008 (distributed by Naxos of America) – Booklet in English, German, French and Italian – Subtitles available in Italian, English, German, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Japanese

Quietly sitting inside the cradle of mature Verdi works sits Simon Boccanegra with its rather convoluted plot and riveted emotional drama. Giorgio Ballione’s staging is grounded with a stunning mosaic floor that nicely integrates with geometrically and horizontally striated buildings striped in black and white. Simon Boccanegra is one of Verdi’s operas teeming with intense emotional development, one in which the scenery can become an ancillary function to the opera at hand. Marina Bianchi extricates Gallione’s vision into a nicely flowing production with artistic vision.

Leo Nucci performs with the most admirable of qualities as Simon Boccanegra, and he interfaces endearingly with Tamar Iveri’s Amelia whose voice has the most appropriate amount of squillo that launches her as an exemplary spinto soprano: range is comfortable, absent of any strain. So, too, her acting with her beloved, Gabriele Adorno, are wonderfully executed. The voice of Francesco Meli, in the aforementioned role, has a tenor register with a confident and vibrant delivery. Guido Fiorato dresses the principals and chorus members in subdued colors while erring more a modicum of modestly lavished costumes: this outline is comfortable and appropriate.

Equally satisfying are presentations by Roberto Scandiuzzi and Simone Piazzola as Jacopo Fiesco and Paolo Albiani, respectively: their gesticulations bring a nice slice of dramatic extension to what is already a strong production.

Though the setting withdraws from immensely detailed extravagance, it allows characters to be more magnified, allowing for a freer unfolding of character development. Sound and presentation are excellent... this is a sure bet for Boccanegra fans.

Christie Grimstad




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