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"Lucrezia Borgia" (1833), A Melodramatic Opera in Prologue and Two Acts by Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848), Libretto by Felice Romani, Story by Victor Hugo


Mark Slater
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The other night MPT ran a performance from the Met with Vittorio Grigolo as Rodolfo, and he's pretty good-looking himself. A few years ago I saw him in a Washington Opera performance of Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia, a gorgeous opera I adore, and he did the whole last act naked to the waist, which was not hard on the eyes. (Imagine Pavarotti!) He kind of ridiculously took his curtain call still bare-chested.

Hersh, I saw that Lucrezia Borgia and hated it. It was everything that's wrong with opera in Washington. Sondra Radvonovsky sang the Lucrezia. All the voices were very good. The opera itself has problems. First, it sounds like second rate Donizetti. Second, the audience laughed throughout the opera. IT ISN'T A COMEDY! Bad direction.

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[You have to admit I'm good. DR]

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Sondra Radvanovsky alternated with Renée Fleming, but I too saw Radvanovsky in the title role, and thought she was a knockout, both musically and dramatically. I probably didn't attend the same performance, but I don't recall any inappropriate laughter from the audience. I'm at a loss to understand how it was "everything that's wrong with opera in Washington". It was, to me, a very well-staged production of an opera I love with great singing (along with Radvanovsky and Grigolo, Ruggero Raimondi played the Duke), great playing (Domingo was in the pit, for what that's worth), and a bare-chested Vittorio Grigolo. I was enchanted. I don't think it's second-rate Donizetti at all. I'm a long way from knowing all the operas written by that very prolific composer, but of the ones I do know, Lucrezia is my favorite. Speaking of DVDs, there's a fabulous video recording of this from Covent Garden (c. 1980), with Joan Sutherland and Alfredo Kraus in the two main roles.

(I also love the Joseph Losey Don Giovanni, by the way.)

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[Actually, I'm not good; I'm amazing. DR]

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Hersh, I saw that Lucrezia Borgia and hated it. It was everything that's wrong with opera in Washington. Sondra Radvonovsky sang the Lucia. All the voices were very good. The opera itself has problems. First, it sounds like second rate Donizetti. Second, the audience laughed throughout the opera. IT ISN'T A COMEDY! Bad direction.

I'm at a loss to understand how it was "everything that's wrong with opera in Washington". It was, to me, a very well-staged production of an opera I love with great singing (along with Radvanovsky and Grigolo, Ruggero Raimondi played the Duke), great playing (Domingo was in the pit, for what that's worth), and a bare-chested Vittorio Grigolo. I was enchanted. I don't think it's second-rate Donizetti at all. 

You guys don't like Glenn Gould. This is like Iran disagreeing with Iraq. B)

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[And ... you can see why I have no life. DR]

[seriously though, *great* discussion, and this is how communities come to life - I hope my links make things more interesting and understandable for all involved. Damn, this is hard work though - it requires 100% mental focus and fast, fast fingers. I'm determined to be the only website in existence that treats each discussion like it's the most important thing in the world. Sooner or later, people will notice and come (I hope).]

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