Le Villi (Blu-ray)
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Le Villi (Blu-ray)
Language: Italian, English
Number of discs: 1
DVD Release Date: August 9, 2019
Le Villi is an opera-ballet in two acts that marked Giacomo Puccini’s debut in the world of opera. It was first staged at Teatro dal Verme in Milan in 1884. Librettist Ferdinando Fontana based the story on the ancient legend of the Willis, fantastic creatures representing the souls of young women who were the victims of love. Anna and Roberto are engaged, but during a trip the man is seduced by a woman and his fiancée dies of heartbreak.
Roberto, who is by then abandoned and left penniless, is haunted by remorse and attacked by the revengeful fairies and Anna’s ghost. All the elements of the more mature Puccini are already recognizable: the characters of Anna and Roberto anticipate the “love victim” and the “man without qualities” archetypes of his later operas, whereas some of the composer’s touches of harmony and aria structure foresee his future success.
This rare work was chosen to open the 2018-2019 season of Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and the performance received very good reviews. “Le Villi is an opera full of excellent music, where Puccini’s future grandeur is already recognizable. This production mingles essentiality, intelligence and youth” (Gbopera.it) “Conductor Marco Angius delivers a fierce and passionate performance and under his baton the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino is able to convey all the various shades of the score.” (Gbopera.it)
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The best video "Villi" so far Perhaps this is not the best "Le Villi" imaginable, but it is very good. Of the two video versions now available on disc, this is vastly preferable to the one from Taormina. First, Maria-Teresa Leva, the lead soprano, is MUCH steadier of voice than is Halla Margret in Taormina. Perhaps in Act I Leva is a bit mature-sounding to be absolutely believable as the ingenue Anna, but this becomes an advantage as her role turns more stentorian in Act II. Tenor Leonardo Caimi is also very good. Baritone Elia Fabbian is a little dry-voiced, but OK. Some of conductor Marco Angius’ tempi are a little broader than one is accustomed to, but not shockingly so, and the orchestra is excellent. The MMF production is stylized and minimal, and looks like it’s been “updated” to no later than the 1980’s, but it works (any later, and a cellphone could have solved the communication problem between the tenor and soprano). In comparison, Taormina looks provincial--one feDace Gislard, March 2020