In continuing the great tradition of Decca's magnificent Met Opera DVDs, Giordano's Andrea Chénier is captured here in excellent quality, showcasing Luciano Pavarotti, the premiere opera star of his day in one his most memorable performances, alongside Maria Guleghina and Juan Pons, with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by James Levine. One of the great verismo operatic dramas, Andrea Chénier is notable for the title role's two great solo arias, 'Un di all'azzurro spazio' (also known as 'L'improvviso') and 'Come un bel di di maggio', as well as the overwhelming final duet, 'Vicino a te'. Truly a legendary and unique performance from the great tenor.
Out of all Italian verismo operas, Umberto Giordano's Andrea Chénier is one of the few of lasting popularity that is still performed regularly on major opera stages worldwide. This 1981 production features a stellar Plácido Domingo in the title role and a classic staging by Otto Schenk, making for one of the finest readings of the opera. Andrea Chénier was an overwhelming success when premiered at La Scala in 1896 and first performed in Vienna in 1926, returning to the stage whenever a truly great tenor was available to tackle the demanding title role. Gabriela Benacková and Piero Cappuccilli lead a strong supporting cast in this tragic love story set during the times of French Revolution.
Andrea Chénier is a verismo opera in four acts by the composer Umberto Giordano, set to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica. It is based loosely on the life of the French poet, André Chénier (1762-1794), who was executed during the French Revolution.
Andrea Chénier remains popular with audiences, though it is now less frequently performed than it was during the first half of the 20th Century. One reason that the opera has stayed in the repertoire is due to the magnificent lyric-dramatic music provided by Giordano for the tenor lead, which gives a talented singer many opportunities to demonstrate his histrionic skill and flaunt his voice. Indeed, Giuseppe Borgatti's triumph in the title part at the first performance immediately propelled him to the front rank of Italian opera singers. Borgatti went on to become Italy's greatest Wagnerian tenor rather than a verismo-opera specialist.
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