"The raison d'etre of this new production of Lucrezia Borgia at the Bayerische Staatsoper is undoubtedly the great Edita Gruberova. Sopranos come and go, but there is always Edita, who has been in front of the public for almost forty years and still going strong, thank you very much. At the age of 62, many of her contemporaries would likely have retired to a teaching post somewhere, or at least moved on to the old ladies, the maids, the witches, and other assorted "character roles" in opera, or disappeared from public view altogether. Not Edita Gruberova, who remains the undisputed Queen of Bel Canto. …Her coloratura - and the seemingly infinite variations in dynamics - is as amazing as ever. …Lucrezia is not exactly a charming character, poisoning everyone in sight, but Gruberova managed to make her sympathetic.The final scene was a vocal and dramatic tour de force that one rarely encounters these days. She was well partnered by a fellow Slovak, tenor Pavel Breslik, who was an exceptionally fine Gennaro. Celebrated in Mozart, I wasn't prepared for his idiomatic Italian, his plangent timbre and stylish yet heart-onsleeve singing/acting was an unalloyed pleasure. Looking handsome and youthful, he complemented the soprano perfectly…he is a natural candidate for any director wanting to show some flesh onstage, witness his Idamante last season. Christof Loy had him scraping a knee, taking off his shirt ostensibly to wipe off the blood.Another example - the libretto calls for Gennaro to destroy Lucrezia's coat of arms. In this contemporary production, it was replaced by her name in large illuminated letters attached to the gray background. Gennario rips the B off her name and throws it on the stage floor - rather amusing as "ORGIA" remains on the wall, the implications of which rather unmistakable. The production is extremely pared-down, with really no set to speak of, a bare stage save for a few office chairs.Yet there is something to be said about this approach, as it allows one to focus on the emotional and dramatic core of the work. ...Ultimately this is a vehicle for the prima donna so nothing else really matters, especially when the diva delivered in spades like last evening…The third vocal standout was British mezzo Alice Coote as Maffio Orsini.The Gennaro-Maffio duet was a highlight of the evening…her Act Two extended scena was terrific.
BONUS: The Art of Bel Canto - Edita Gruberova A Portrait an empathic portrait of the Queen of coloratura, Edita Gruberova, prima donna assoluta.
NTSC 16:9, PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
Region Code: 0
Original language: Italian
Subtitles: English, German, French, Italian
Booklet Notes: English, German, French
Running Time: 129 mins + 54 mins Documentary
German FSK: 6
Edita Gruberova (Lucrezia), Pavol Breslik (Gennaro), Franco Vassallo (Don Alfonso), Alice Coote (Maffio Orsini), Bruno Ribeiro (Jeppo Liverotto), Christian Rieger (Don Aposto Gazella), Christopher Magiera (Ascanio Petrucci), Erik Årman (Oloferno Vitellozzo), Steven Humes (Gubetta), Emanuele D'Aguanno (Rustighello), Christian Van Horn (Astolfo)
Chor der Bayerischen Staatsoper & Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Bertrand de Billy