Monday, December 19, 2011

One more Christmas gift to traditionalists: La Forza del Destino from Paris

I said I would not blog about the sad-sad production of La Forza del Destino, recently premiered at the Paris Opera, but since the video-links of the show appeared and the run of this appalling production is over, I'll just put in my two sentences and let you enjoy or "enjoy" this thing.

Curtain calls after the show on November 17 2011 at Opéra Bastille: Vladimir Stoyanov, Philippe Jordan, Patrick Marie Aubert, Violeta Urmana, Zoran Todorovich, Kwangchul Youn, Nadia Krasteva [the best soloist, Nicola Alaimo, not in the photo]

In all honesty, I went to see this show hoping it would change my too strong opinion about this opera --one of the dumbest operas of all times-- and that I'd find a way to convince myself that, musically, this opera was indeed one of the greatest works done by Giuseppe, as the numerous Verdi aficionados often suggest.

While I knew nothing would change the incongruities of the libretto, and that this kind of staging would only emphasize them, I thought the performers would make this giant snoozer miraculously enjoyable.  Hélas, hélas!

Kwangchul Youn was obviously fantastic and Nicola Alaimo excellent, but all in all I spent 5 very long hours [2 intermissions] fighting the snooze-balloons, survived them all, only to hear "Pace, pace mio Dio!" and say -- Never Again!

This is, of course, just my opinion and even though the entire French press trashed this production, there were many people who actually liked it. So, who knows?! You may like it too.
If you have four hours to sink, here are your links [provided by]

Part One  

Part Two  

Part Three

From the Jean-Claude Auvray production of La Forza del Destino at Opéra Bastille in Paris

Definitely, I have this love-and-hate affair with Verdi operas: while I love Otello, Don Carlo(s), Macbeth, Falstaff, La Traviata, and even enjoy  Simon Boccanegra, I really dislike La Forza del Destino, Luisa Miller, Un Ballo in Maschera, Stiffelio...  I can sit through Il Trovatore, I Vespri Siciliani, Aida, or Nabucco if and only if the show is mounted non-trivially.

Around the same time that La Forza del Destino opened at the Paris Opera, the Théâtre des Champs Elysées organized two concert performances of Oberto -- the very first opera composed by Verdi. Curiosity killed the cat, and Oberto achieved me. In spite of the good cast --lead by our dear Ekaterina Gubanova-- the opera sounded like a bel-canto soup gone bad.

Anyways, I should stick and write about good stuff only... Next post will be about good Verdi -- Macbeth in Leipzig.


  1. This opera is actually one of Verdi's best, but you need great singers. If you could hear Rosa Ponselle & Ezio Pinza sing it, you would understand why it is great.

  2. There you go! I'm glad it works for you -- and I hope you'll like the video-links I've posted up there. This was the purpose of this post ;)

    As for me and La Forza, no thanks! I managed to go halfway through the Pountney production recently released on DVD and infinitely better than the Paris show, and in spite of Nina Stemme (who I always like)... no, it's definitely not for me.