Donizetti - Maria Stuarda
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Cat No: 2564632035
Format: DVD - NTSC
Number of Discs: 2
Release Date: 7th April 2014
ArtistsElza van den Heever
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus
On New Year’s Eve 2012, Joyce DiDonato became the first singer to take the title role in Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. With her at its heart, the production became, in the words of Opera magazine, “a high point of the season and of the company’s performance history of bel canto operas”.
As the New York Times wrote: “The production stars the great American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in the title role ... [Her] performance will be pointed to as a model of singing in which all components of the art form – technique, sound, color, nuance, diction – come together in service to expression and eloquence.”
The performance on this DVD took place on January 19th 2013 and was broadcast to cinemas around the world.
Based on a play by Friedrich Schiller, Maria Stuarda achieved new currency in the 1960s, and the title role has attracted such legendary singers as Joan Sutherland, Leyla Gencer, Beverley Sills and Janet Baker. “To have brought this character to life at the Metropolitan Opera for the first time in its history is an incredible privilege”, said Joyce DiDonato. “It is a role that has been inhabited by the best of the best – each star singer bringing a completely different set of strengths to her treacherous phrases and her dramatic journey. To have had the chance to put my stamp on her with such a supportive team will, I’m certain, always remain a career highlight for me.”
Opera magazine duly described DiDonato’s “glowingly-sung, fully-formed portrayal” as “a high point of the season and of the company’s performance history of bel canto operas”.
Directing the production, with its striking use of vivid colors and stark imagery, was David McVicar, and Maurizio Benini conducted a cast that also featured the imposing South African soprano Elza van den Heever, making her Met debut as – again in the words of the New York Times – “a vocally burnished and emotionally tempestuous Elizabeth ... Her voice has penetrating depth and character. She turns flights of coloratura passagework into bursts of jealousy and defiance as Elizabeth contends with the threat that Mary, a blood relative, poses to her reign in England.”
As the Earl of Leicester, caught between the rival queens, American tenor Matthew Polenzani brought “melting sound and appealing vulnerability to the role”.
The magnificent final scene of the opera sees Mary preparing for her execution. “What can be said about the final 20 minutes of this opera?” asks Joyce DiDonato. “It is like being shot out of a cannon and there is no slowing down or adjusting along the way. Mary is certainly terrified and yet she manages to find a deep reservoir of determination and fortitude that enables her to climb to her death. She has finally found her peace.”
- Queen Elizabeth I: Elza van den Heever
- Lord Talbot: Matthew Rose
- Lord Cecil: Joshua Hopkins
- Robert, Earl of Leicester: Matthew Polenzani
- Hannah (Anna) Kennedy: Maria Zifchak
- Mary Stuart: Joyce DiDonato
Production: David McVicar
Set & Costume Designer: John Macfarlane
Lighting Design: Jennifer Tipton
Choreographer: Leah Hausman
2DVD 9 / NTSC
Stereo PCM 2.0 / Dolby Digital 5.1
Act 1: 73 min / Act 2: 69 min
Interview (Backstage at the MET): 15 min
Menu: GB / Subtitles: GB, FR, DE, IT, ES / Sung in Italian
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