Puccini/Leoncavallo - Il Tabarro/Pagliacci (Levine)
Karita Mattila gives a career high performance in Puccini's passionate opera Manon Lescaut conducted by James Levine - filmed live at the Metropolitan Opera in Hi-Definition. Continuing its collaboration with the Metropolitan Opera and its Metropolitan Opera : Live in High-Definition series EMI Classics is proud to release the METs classic 28 year old production of Puccini's Manon Lescaut on EMI Classics DVD. This release marks a special moment in the Metropolitan Opera's history. It is the first time in 18 years since Puccini's Manon Lescaut was last performed on its great stage. Manon Lescaut a French tale telling of a beautiful young woman destroyed by her conflicting needs for love and luxury was Puccini's first successful opera and the work that thrust him onto the international stage as Italy's foremost opera composer. Finnish soprano Karita Mattila as Manon Lescaut is the star of the performance. Her interpretation of the first of Puccini's many archetypal heroines is riveting - New York Times. Interestingly Mattila waited until her voice had gained maturity and richness before when she was nearly 40 she first portrayed her Manon Lescaut in 1999. She now returns - enticing James Levine to conduct the work for the first time since 1981. After 35 highly successful years as Music director of the Metropolitan Opera a relationship unparalleled and unique in the musical world today James Levine leads a fresh and intelligent performance.
In this majestic production of Verdi's Don Carlo Riccardo Chailly's qualities as a Verdi conductor are brilliantly displayed in the dramatic precision and transparent instrumental detail he draws from both orchestra and cast. Willy Decker directs a wonderful piece of stagecraft letting the tragedy unwind with minimal yet telling interventions. The drama takes place in the mausoleum of Filippo II's Escorial where the tombs of countless generations of Spanish royalty line the walls. Filippo's confrontation with II grande inquisitore - which takes place over his own coffin its resting place in the wall ready and waiting - is chillingly symbolic as are the feet of the giant crucifix that hangs over Don Carlo as he sees his life sacrificed by his father.
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