Verdi's Nabucco from the Royal Opera House

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Leo Nucci as Nabucco, Dusica Bijelic as Anna, and Liudmyla Monastyrska as Abigaille in <em>Nabucco</em> at the Royal Opera House Leo Nucci as Nabucco, Dusica Bijelic as Anna, and Liudmyla Monastyrska as Abigaille in Nabucco at the Royal Opera House ((c) Catherine Ashburn, ROH)

In honor of the Verdi bicentennial, this week's broadcast features Nabucco from London's Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. The production, recorded last season, features Placido Domingo, reinventing himself as a baritone for his first-ever performance in the opera's title role.

Nabucco is Giuseppe Verdi's first hit opera that almost never was. The composer was ready to give up on music after a failed second opera and a series of personal tragedies when he happened to meet La Scala opera house impresario Bartolomeo Merelli on the streets of Milan. Merelli, libretto in hand, convinced Verdi to compose the opera. Nabucco became a major success and cemented Verdi's renown as a composer.  



Nicola Luisotti, conductor

Nabucco: Placido Domingo (baritone)

Abigaille: Liudmyla Monastyrska (soprano)

Ismaele: Andrea Caré (tenor)  

Fenena: Marianna Pizzolato (mezzo-soprano)

Zaccaria: Vitaly Kovaoyov (bass)

High Priest of Baal: Robert Lloyd (bass)

Anna: Dusica Bijelic (soprano)

Abdallo: David Butt Philip (tenor)

Royal Opera House Orchestra and Chorus

Comments [9]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, LaKE Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

PLACIDO DOMINGO in the baritone role of NABUCCO is NOT convincingly baritonal. His most memorable performances to me were his OTELLOs, although his wide range of music formats even beyond opera and zarzuelas have had an indelible positive input ninto most classical enthusiasts experiences.
My critique regarding today's, Saturday December 7th, 2013 radio broadcast live from the MET OPERA is:
KUDOS to the Rigoletto DMITRI HVOROVSTOVSKY who is a quadruple threat, with a great voice, stunningly virile physique, good musicianship and believable depth in his dramatic concept and execution of his role and to the Sparafucile STEFAN KOCAN whose remarkable protracted low F in his business-like confrontation exhorting his "services" to Rigoletto in Act 1 received a deserved acclamation. The Duke MATTHEW POLENZANI has an appropriately light lyric tenor voice with the acuti, high notes, secure and pleasant sounding. But in this role his singing is not of the exciting caliber of the greats singing the Duke, Caruso, Bjoerling, Del Monaco, Corelli and Pavvarotti. The maestro PABLO HERAS-CASADO most effectively communicated Verdi's score, unlike the what we have seen of the bastardization of the setting and dress as expressed by PIAVE. What if we went to Paris' LOUVRE ART MUSEUM and saw a substitution for the LEONARDO DA VINCI MONA LISA an updated modern version!!! I in my earliest years sang the Duke but I am now a romantischer Wagnerian heldentenor. On St. Valentine's Day, Friday February 14, 2014, my TEN DVD SET on the VALHALLA RCORDS label of "The 300 Greatest Love Songs of Broadway Musicals, Movies and the Grammys" recorded in ten live concerts will be obtainable. My website is, where one may download, free, at RECORDED SELECTIONS 37 out of the nearly 100 selections that I have sung in 4 three-hour-long solo concerts in CARNEGIE HALL'S ISAAC STERN AUDITORIUM.

Dec. 07 2013 06:13 PM

Dear Minnie, I live in rural Northern Virginia about 70 miles from Washington D.C. I have heard and seen the plight of The Washington National Opera under Domingo, and believe me he is NO Opera House General Manager. He took on far too many roles during his tenure, leaving the company in disarray. If it were not for the Kennedy Center agreeing to cover the massive debts run up by strings of poor performances the company would have gone bankrupt. When Domingo first took the reigns of the Washington Opera many in the Washington are were elated, but it soon became apparent that he had so much on his plate he could not do an effective job of running the Washington Opera. He certainly is no deity to those of us around the Washington D.C. area who have not renewed their subscriptions to The Washington Opera, and only now are showing up with caution for one or two productions a year and see a house full of empty seats.
Hopefully things will turn around under new leadership, but Domingo's reign as Director of The Washington Opera is not something he would want to highlight on his massive resume. Charles Fischbein

Oct. 12 2013 10:38 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

By far the most impressive voice, discounting vocal technique and interpretation, is the Abigaille, LUDMYLA MONASTYRSKA. I meant in my previous comments hereI meant to state that my 10 DVD set of 'The 300 Greatest Love Songs of Broadway Musicals, Movies aqnd tge Grammys" will be obtainable on Valhalla Records The venue is the New Life Expo at the New Yorker Hotel at 5 PM on Sunday October 27th. The full DVD series will be obtainable commercially on 10 Valhalla Records DVDs on Friday, February 14, 2014, saint Valentine's Day. The broadcast of last year's Covent Garden performance has just completed, at 3;15 PM.; and

Oct. 12 2013 03:18 PM
Concetta nardone from Nassau

Many years ago, a co-worker had purchased a lp entitled Liberty or songs of Liberty. He hummed the Va Pensiero and asked what that was. Further, he was enthralled by this beautiful chorus and surprised that it was about Hebrew Slaves. I told him Verdi wrote another opera about slavery, Aida. I think this chorus hooked him on some operas.
I finished singing along and will now turn the radio off.

Oct. 12 2013 02:50 PM
Minnie from Sacramento

I agree with Mr. Rothenberg's comment that Domingo is taking work from other baritones whose voice quality would be preferable in this repertoire. He is what in Spanish we call a "pimento". The pepper that has to be in all soups. He is out to set records. As a tenor, he set out to beat Fischer Dieskau as the most recorded opera singer. I don't think he has made it "yet," but he keeps trying. Then came the singer conductor. Then the singer/conductor/opera house manager. Now came his baritone stage. I personally miss the darkness in the baritone voice for baritone roles. But, as we all know, Mr. Domingo controls the opera world and will do as he wants for as long as he wants, not caring about quality. His goal? To be remembered as a God of opera years after he leaves this world.

Oct. 12 2013 02:46 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

Sweet young thing with a very thin voice screaming in Italian. Had to lower the volume. If my cat Siegfried was still with me, he would have run off to hide as he would during the Sempre Libera.Uninspiring choruses so far, lots of noise. Peppino was learning his craft when he wrote this one. No one is humming the tunes. Admit it folks, some of you are waiting for the Va Pensiero as I am. I Have the words ready so that I can sing along. QXR announcer was doing a recap of the story, very funny. It confused me and I do not confuse story lines as a rule. Able to follow I Claudius, The White Queen, etc. The story line of this one is as bad as I Lombardi. Oh God there she goes screaming again.

Oct. 12 2013 02:07 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, LaKE Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

PLACIDO DOMINGO is following the right course [professionally FOR HIM.. The singing voice deepens with the proper use. MELCHiOR began as most heldentenors with a fundamentally well founded dark timbre and with training extended both his vocal range and his tessitura comfort, so much so that he could long into the opera's performance, sing a splendid high C [Gotterdammerrung Siegfried, Act 3]. Being the fine musician and actor he is,
DOMINGO may interpretively assay roles with distinction and credibility that might not logically be within the scope of his vocal prowess. His wide range of opera roles actually helps in performing new roles. We, his fans, wish his continuance in whatever capacity in the theater to be much longer, even though he has already celebrated his 50 years as a professional opera singer, a feat few attain at the top of the ladder. I am a Wagnerian heldentenor, an opera composer ["Shakespeare" and 'The Political Shakespeare'], and director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute. Later this month, I am performing my fourth in my ten solo concerts in a series of ten concerts DVDs titled "THE GREATEST LOVE SONGS OF BROADWAY MUSICALS, THE MOVIES AND THE GRAMMYS." The venue is the New Life Expo at the New Yorker Hotel at 5 PM on Sunday October 27th. The full S series will be obtainable commercially on 10 Valhalla Records DVDs on Friday,; and

Oct. 12 2013 01:41 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

Noticed Leo Nucci in the foto. Fine singing actor. As is Domingo. Heard Domingo this week in a baritone aria but he sounded like he was pushing the voice to make it darker. Time will tell. Also noticed from the foto that this is a modern dress production. Probably another "stronzata". Ask your Italian speaking friends what that means. QXR wants us to be civil.

Oct. 12 2013 07:24 AM
Sanford Rothenberg from Brooklyn

As mentioned elsewhere on these pages,Domingo has progressed from a baritonal tenor to a tenorial baritone.Many years of singing as a tenor have lightened his voice to the point where he is now a true "Zwischenfach",neither completely tenor nor baritone.Like Ramon Vinay and Regina Resnik before him,he has been forced to learn the repertoire of a lower voice range as his voice dropped.People on both sides of the Atlantic have voiced the opinion that because of his celebrity status,he is taking work from baritones that could be considered preferable in the repertoire.

Oct. 12 2013 02:17 AM

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