VERDI: La forza del Destino
GREAT STARS OF RUSSIAN BALLET - Volume I (Historic performances
GREAT STARS OF RUSSIAN BALLET - Volume II (Historic performances
June 7, 1978 was a special nite at LaScala, a presentation of La forza del destino with a fabulous cast that would be impossible to match today. Montserrat Caballé is in her prime in this impeccable performance, and a very young José Carreras gives his all—and more, in one of his most exciting performances. The opera is given complete, with acceptable sets by Renato Guttuso. Unfortunately, the stage is usually dark, which presented problems for the TV crew—they couldn't cope with this and often the screen is dark and undefined. The 2-channel sound is better than the artificial induced multi-channel. Subtitle are available in four languages. This is among the finest recorded versions of this opera—don't miss it! Caballé and Carreras are pure magic.
Video Artists International is a valued source of historic and unusual movies, both operatic and balletic. This site already has mentioned their superb releases of the ballets Spartacus (REVIEW), Raymonda (REVIEW), The Seagull (REVIEW), and Carmen (REVIEW) to mention only a few. Now we are indebted to them once again for these two disks of historic performances from 1955 to 1991. Many of the dancers will be new to collectors, and much of the music as well. The ballets Icarus (music by Slonimsky), Angara River (music by Eshpai), The Flower Festival in Genzano (music by Helsted), and several others are hardly household names. The the performances are stunning. All of these seem to be filmed under studio conditions without audience, with limited sets. Video and audio are dated but always sufficiently good to convey the fabulous dancing. These are important issues for all balletomanes, and —good news!—it has been announced there are two more DVDs in this historic series soon to be issued.
R.E.B. (June 2011)