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Zandonai: Francesca da Rimini 

Francesca waits to be fetched to her wedding; her new husband's brother arrives, and they fall instantly in love. The groom happens to be a fierce and remorseless warrior, fresh from battle... See full summary »

Director:

Gary Halvorson

Writers:

Tito Ricordi (libretto by), Gabriele D'Annunzio (based on the play by) (as Gabriele d'Annunzio) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Marco Armiliato Marco Armiliato ... Self - Conductor
Sondra Radvanovsky Sondra Radvanovsky ... Self - Host
John Moore ... Simonetto, a jester
Dísella Lárusdóttir Dísella Lárusdóttir ... Francesca's Companions: Garsenda
Caitlin Lynch Caitlin Lynch ... Francesca's Companions: Biancofiore
Patricia Risley Patricia Risley ... Francesca's Companions: Altichiara
Renée Tatum Renée Tatum ... Francesca's Companions: Donella
Ginger Costa-Jackson Ginger Costa-Jackson ... Smaragdi, her slave
Keith Jameson Keith Jameson ... Ser Toldo Berardengo, a lawyer
Eva-Maria Westbroek Eva-Maria Westbroek ... Francesca
Dina Kuznetsova Dina Kuznetsova ... Samaritana, her sister
Marcello Giordani Marcello Giordani ... Paolo Malatesta
Mark Delavan Mark Delavan ... Paolo's Brothers: Giovanni, known as Gianciotto
Stephen Gaertner Stephen Gaertner ... Berlingerio, the tower guard
Philip Horst Philip Horst ... Ostasio, Francesca's brother
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Storyline

Francesca waits to be fetched to her wedding; her new husband's brother arrives, and they fall instantly in love. The groom happens to be a fierce and remorseless warrior, fresh from battle. Moral: don't sleep with your brother's new bride. Written by dnitzer

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Genres:

Musical

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Connections

Referenced in Great Performances at the Met: Wagner: Parsifal (2013) See more »

User Reviews

 
Francesca Da Rimini at the Met
19 March 2013 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Francesca Da Rimini is not a great opera perhaps, neither is it a bad one. The story is not always plausible, but still has a theme that is of relevance today, and while occasionally too melodramatic the music is truly luxurious and could easily pass for a great film score. The Met Opera HD series is not always a consistent series but it is a very interesting one, with some gems(Season 1's Eugene Onegin), some fiascoes(Season 4's Tosca) and mostly solid to very good productions. Of this series, the seventh season was one of the more impressive seasons, with only Rigoletto being a disappointment. And on the most part this Francesca Da Rimini is very good, not as good as the Scotto/Domingo production but on the same level as the Daniela Dessi production.

It is beautiful to look at for starters, one of the more attractive productions of the season actually. The sets are very artistic-even if they did take far too long to move in transitions-, and further advantaged by gorgeous costumes and sympathetic lighting. There is a 14th century art nouveau look to the production, and it worked wonders. The stage direction is fine, making the most of the story. Act 1 did have the feel of people just starting to warm up, but the lovely kiss moment and the chilling denouncement redeem things significantly as does the elegant and subdued use of choreography. The production is solid technically, maybe there is an over-reliance on close-ups and a few instances where the singers are favoured over the orchestra in sound balance, but the high definition is fantastic and the picture and sound are clear and sharp.

Musically, the Met's production of Francesca Da Rimini is excellent. The orchestra bring out the tension and pathos of the score when needed with great musicality and beautiful playing. Marco Armiliato accommodates them very well and nothing less than that, everything is authoritative and sympathetically phrased and shaped with very little, if anything, feeling rushed or plodding. The fourth act could easily have gone off the rails dramatically, but thankfully everything was reigned in with no signs of rigidness. The cast are solid to great, with nobody definitive or a liability. Eva Marie Westbroek doesn't have the most beautiful or radiant of voices, but it is a strong and sturdy one that is alive to both power and nuances. Her Francesca is resourcefully and intelligently characterised, and she is a commanding presence. Marcello Giordani has some uneven patches, but Paolo is one of those roles that is more suited than some of the other roles he's taken on as of late. His voice in Act 1 did sound, with the strain when up high, like it was still warming up, but he got significantly better by Act 2. He has never been the most exciting of actors, and there is a stolid approach still in Act 1 but later on like the singing it is more ardent and poetic, thus more involving.

There is much pleasure to be had in the supporting roles. Mark Delavan was the prize draw. As Gianciotto, he is very menacing and repellent, both in looks and demeanour, especially so in the denouncement. He also sports a big booming voice, which was ideal for Gianciotto, he does have a tendency to bluster but for a "villainous" role, and one that is rather one-dimensional and not with that much subtlety, it isn't too much of a problem. He also succeeds though in showing genuine affection for Francesca, which helps to bring a bit of dimension to the character. Robert Brubaker's Maletestino is also spot on, he is very oily and conniving with a hint of black humour. And his voice is unstrained yet well within the character, who is even more repellent than Gianciotto, while his intonation is mostly right-on accurate and well placed from a vocal standpoint. The rest of the roles are not as meaty and are not always memorable, but they are here in this production. Philip Horst schemes effectively as Ostasio, the heroine's brother, whilst Ginger Costa-Jackson's Smaragdi, a role that kind of echoes that of Brangane, sings beautifully and makes for a sympathetic confidante.

All in all, very good production though not without foibles. 7.5/10 Bethany Cox


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Details

Language:

Italian | English

Release Date:

16 March 2013 (USA) See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$65,581
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