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  • Your Reaction: What did you think of The Royal Opera's La forza del destino?

Your Reaction: What did you think of The Royal Opera's La forza del destino?

Audience and press reviews of Verdi's epic opera, directed by Christof Loy.

By Becky Black (Social Media Editor)

22 March 2019 at 10.45am | 44 Comments

Press reviews:

The Stage ★★★★★
The Times (£) ★★★★★
Financial Times ★★★★★
Bachtrack ★★★★★
The Jewish Chronicle ★★★★★
Express ★★★★★
musicOMH ★★★★
Evening Standard ★★★★
The Guardian ★★★★
The Telegraph ★★★★
The Independent ★★★★
Broadway World ★★★★
Culture Whisper ★★★★
Londonist ★★★★
The Arts Desk ★★★
New York Times (no stars, positive)
Spectator (no stars, positive)

More press reviews will be added in due course.

What did you think of La forza del destino?
Share your reviews via the comments below, or by using #ROHforza.

La forza del destino runs until 22 April 2019. There are a limited number of tickets available. In addition, a limited number of tickets are available via Friday Rush.

La forza del destino will also be relayed in cinemas around the world on 2 April. Learn more and find your nearest screen here.

The production is staged with generous philanthropic support from Mrs Aline Foriel-Destezet, Mrs Susan A. Olde OBE, Lord and Lady Laidlaw, Alfiya and Timur Kuanyshev, Melinda and Donald Quintin, Spindrift Al Swaidi, Ian and Helen Andrews, Mrs Carolyn Calcutt, Peter Harrison and Fiona Willis, Martin and Jane Houston, Rena and Sandro Lavery, The Taylor Family Foundation, Mrs Trevor Swete, La forza del destino Production Syndicate, the American Friends of Covent Garden, The Royal Opera House Endowment Fund and two anonymous donors.

By Becky Black (Social Media Editor)

22 March 2019 at 10.45am

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged by Christof Loy, La forza del destino, Production, review, your reaction

This article has 44 comments

  1. francois responded on 22 March 2019 at 1:58pm Reply

    Absolutely superlative performance, one that I will remember for years and years. Every ingredient was outstanding: fabulous conducting from Maestro Pappano, very clever production, beautiful sets, amazing singers and personalities on stage. All stars have been superlatively performing: Netrebko, Kaufmann, Tézier, Furlanetto, Corbelli... The best ROH lyrical performance from the last few seasons, I am still super-excited about yesterday's experience. Congratulations to all members that have been working on this project. More than superlative !!!

  2. James Gordon responded on 22 March 2019 at 3:10pm Reply

    As good in the flesh as it looks on paper, worth the frustration of 3 days on the website waiting to grab a return. Cast from strength from the principals to the least bit-part.

    It could be argued this is an odd piece in which to pair two of the outstanding singer-actors of their generation, since they interact so little, but crucially they use their few minutes together in Act 1 to establish a credible relationship, without which what follows makes little sense.
    From the start Netrebko’s Leonora is tormented with guilt, as if she were an intermediate incarnation of Kundry. One sympathises with Alvaro’s exasperated ‘Yes, but you don’t go!’s. Her fatedness is obvious from her very first note, building in intensity (some achievement, with almost 2 hours in the dressing room in the middle) to a ‘Pace! pace!’ that was the highest of many high points.
    Kaufmann’s Alvaro is predictably introverted and utterly credible, haunted in ‘O tu che in seno’, slowly goaded to action against his better judgment in a series of compelling duets with Tézier, never really believing in the consolations of religion, only once finding momentary oblivion in Preziosilla’s embrace. The final image of him slowly closing his eyes in despair (in negation of Padre Guardiano’s ‘Salita a Dio!’) will linger long.
    Tézier’s glorious sound never faltered – a classic Verdi baritone. If this Carlo didn’t quite convince in his alter ego at Hornachuelos, he always did thereafter, oozing indecision morphing into savage unreason in his big solo scene, at his most frightening in the later scenes with Kaufmann.
    Both basses are sonorously forbidding presences and Corbelli’s Melitone is anything but the usual rather tedious buffoon. Instead, he gives us someone who has landed in a job to which he is completely unsuited and can’t get out of it. There is something of Beckmesser about this character.

    The mark of Pappano’s and the orchestra’s achievement is that they don’t intrude except where they are meant to. They are loose-limbed enough to allow singers to take unconventionally long phrases which form a single sense-unit in a single breath, ready to rein back, letting the singers’ colouring of every word shine through, most of all in the reflective moments.

    The production does its job – with this cast, nothing further is required. It’s a long time since I’ve seen a ‘realistic’ flat backdrop like the one used for Velletri, simply, economically and very effectively highlighting the contrast between the wide open spaces of the Italian battlefield and the multiple claustrophobias of Spain. The dumb show during the overture intrigued – was it the juvenile Alvaro or Carlo who was caught in would-be flagrante with Leonora? Most likely the former, one would think, but the boy in question was the blonder of the two… Only the final scene feels wrong – why is Leonora’s cave her father’s living room? – but last night it really didn’t matter.

  3. maireeiblis responded on 23 March 2019 at 1:07am Reply

    Wow. An evening that will live long in the memory.

    Absolute perfection ? Not quite.
    But it was something that you just revelled in ; came out buzzing ; thinking "this is why I go to opera".

    Tremendous playing ; wonderful chorus ; fantastic singing by the principals.

    Never heard Netrebko in better form at Covent Garden. No doubt her naysayers will find something not good (and she is not perfect) but a life-giving bit of singing, just stunning.

    The other principals were near that level.
    Forza - every bit, if not more - needs terrific principals as well as terrific playing, and it had that in spades on the first night.
    Fingers crossed everything goes as well in film relay - don't miss it if you were unable to get tickets.

    • Tom Cohen responded on 2 April 2019 at 9:30pm

      First time watching this - can someone explain to me (apart from Risorgimento tub thumping) the point of the carnival scene? I have just had two of the greatest male vocal performances rip my heart out and leave me breathless only to then have tumblers totally destroy the mood. Just why?

  4. Michael responded on 23 March 2019 at 1:28am Reply

    One of the most incredible evening of singing I have heard at the ROH in the last few years.
    The all star cast all in top form giving us a truly memorable evening .
    It was a priviledge to be in the audience and be a witness to history in the making.
    I am still trying to recover from an amazing
    "Pace, pace mio dio" delivered by Anna Netrebko in top form.
    Kaufmann, Netrebko, Tezier, Furlanetto, Corbelli a dream cast that delivered one of the best "Forza" since the MET production in the 1980's.

  5. James Gordon responded on 23 March 2019 at 11:06am Reply

    As good in the flesh as it looks on paper, worth the frustration of 3 days on the website waiting to grab a return. Cast from strength from the principals to the least bit-part.

    It could be argued this is an odd piece in which to pair two of the outstanding singer-actors of their generation, since they interact so little, but crucially they use their few minutes together in Act 1 to establish a credible relationship, without which what follows makes little sense.
    From the start Netrebko’s Leonora is tormented with guilt, as if she were an intermediate incarnation of Kundry. One sympathises with Alvaro’s exasperated ‘Yes, but you don’t go!’s. Her fatedness is obvious from her very first note, building in intensity (some achievement, with almost 2 hours in the dressing room in the middle) to a ‘Pace! pace!’ that was the highest of many high points.
    Kaufmann’s Alvaro is predictably introverted and utterly credible, haunted in ‘O tu che in seno’, slowly goaded to action against his better judgment in a series of compelling duets with Tézier, never really believing in the consolations of religion, only once finding momentary oblivion in Preziosilla’s embrace. The final image of him slowly closing his eyes in despair (in negation of Padre Guardiano’s ‘Salita a Dio!’) will linger long.
    Tézier’s glorious sound never faltered – a classic Verdi baritone. If this Carlo didn’t quite convince in his alter ego at Hornachuelos, he always did thereafter, oozing indecision morphing into savage unreason in his big solo scene, at his most frightening in the later scenes with Kaufmann.
    Both basses are sonorously forbidding presences. Corbelli’s Melitone is anything but the usual rather tedious buffoon. Instead, he gives us someone who has landed in a job to which he is completely unsuited and can’t get out of it. There is something of Beckmesser about this character.

    The mark of Pappano’s and the orchestra’s achievement is that they don’t intrude except where they are meant to. They are loose-limbed enough to allow singers to take unconventionally long phrases which form a single sense-unit in a single breath, ready to rein back, letting the singers’ colouring of every word shine through, most of all in reflective moments.

    The production does its job – with this cast, nothing more is required. It’s a long time since I’ve seen a ‘realistic’ flat backdrop like the one used for Velletri, simply, economically and very effectively highlighting the contrast between the wide-open spaces of the Italian battlefield and the multiple claustrophobias of Spain. The dumb show during the overture intrigued – was it the juvenile Alvaro or Carlo who was caught in would-be flagrante with Leonora? Most likely the former, one would think, but the boy in question was the blonder of the two… Only the final scene feels wrong – why is Leonora’s cave her father’s living room? – but on Thursday night it really didn’t matter.

  6. John M. responded on 23 March 2019 at 12:00pm Reply

    First of all, what a treat to have La forza del destino once again on the Covent Garden stage! The production was fine, not great but it at least allowed the opera to tell its own story and didn’t try to insist it was really about something else. That fabulous sweep of place and time came over well, I thought. Once again the orchestra and chorus were on top form for Mr Pappano. I cannot really find the words I need for the singing of the four main roles. At times I couldn’t believe I was actually hearing such singing - the power, the tone, the amplitude. Leonora’s arrival at the monastery and her scene with the Superiore, the two confrontations between Alvaro and Carlo were spine-tingling, wonderful singing matched with finely nuanced interactions. A wonderful evening! Congratulations to everyone and well done ROH for bringing it together.

  7. Christine Holliday responded on 23 March 2019 at 8:26pm Reply

    I was entranced from the very first orchestral notes right through to the tragic ending. Loved everything about it, singing, dancing, sets, costumes, orchestra .....and of course the superlative performances of Jonas Kaufmann, Anna Netrebko and Ludovic Tezier. They were more than ably supported by Alessandro Corbelli, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Carlo Bosi and others. Looking forward to a second helping on 27th March !

  8. Mark responded on 24 March 2019 at 10:52pm Reply

    Attended performance on 24/3. Fantastic all round and all singers were fantastic. As usual the orchestra excelled.

    Couple of slight niggles. The set design seemed a bit constrained in Act 2 for the numbers of people on the stage.

    The projections didn't seem to add anything, in particular the first set were out of sync with what was going on - I was unsure whether this was on purpose, but seemed very odd.

    To summarise one of the best performances at the house.

  9. Catherine Beer responded on 24 March 2019 at 11:26pm Reply

    It's been a few days since I saw the opening night of 'La Forza', and yet I keep thinking back to it with almost a feeling of melancholy nostalgia that I can't enjoy it all over again! (Not at these prices, anyhow!). So much sublime singing and Pappano and the ROH orchestra were fantastic. Netrebko is always box office and I can't honestly think of a time when she has disappointed. She is ridiculously charismatic - off-the-charts - and her voice; it fills the space like a voluptuous, burnished bell. Kaufmann had a more tentative start (he often does, I think) but I loved his performance here, especially his duelling relationship with Tezier's Don Carlo. There was genuine chemistry between them. Tezier was absolutely fantastic. A perfect Verdian baritone... Supporting cast were exceptional, especially Corbelli and Furlanetto, though I was less impressed with Preziosilla. The story feels a bit silly and the production was ok, but nothing especially memorable; it was the music, the singing, the effective acting that won me over entirely. I'm not sure 'La Forza' would work half so well without a strong cast, but this particular production was sensational. Thank you.

  10. Stokejoe responded on 25 March 2019 at 8:26am Reply

    I saw the performance on Sunday Afternoon. Conducting, orchestral playing and singing does not get any better than this. Production was clear apart from latter end of Act 3. The 2nd part of Act 3 described as a bit of a problem and withe the use of the revised version, the production does not solve it. Having said that, this performance will stay with me for a long time.

  11. Mr V E Ellams responded on 25 March 2019 at 9:00am Reply

    I agree totally with the above comment I attended the performance yesterday ive not felt such a buzz and heard such an ecstatic audience there for many years it certainly will rank as one of those great evenings. I must just also single out praise for smaller roles such as Robert Lloyd and Roberta Alexanda both luxury casting. I'm now looking forward to seeing it again in the cinema.

  12. Michael Steel responded on 25 March 2019 at 11:03am Reply

    We went yesterday..Best performance at the ROH for years!

  13. George Treethorn responded on 25 March 2019 at 1:07pm Reply

    This was quite frankly the most thrilling, exhausting and spine-tingling evening I've ever had at the opera in my many, many years of opera-going. Not because of the production, but for those *incredible* voices. To hear just one of Netrebko, Kaufmann, Tezier or Furlanetto would have been pleasure enough. But all these singers together? On one stage? I nearly passed out, the pleasure was so intense. Tickets for this would have been cheap at £5,000.

  14. Ann O'Shaughnessy responded on 25 March 2019 at 1:29pm Reply

    Sunday March 24 will stay in my memory as the day I saw arguably the most perfect cast of principals assembled, with the orchestra under the baton of Maestro Pappano, to perform the eagerly awaited La Forza del Destino - and it did not disappoint. The interaction between the principal was electric. I accept that in the crowd scenes the effect required is hustle and bustle but, at times, there were just too many people on stage. I did not enjoy Act 4, scene 2 where the singing suffered from the exertions required by the dance. That being said it was a stupendous performance from all concerned and I hope there will be a DVD in the future.l

  15. C Chan responded on 25 March 2019 at 7:19pm Reply

    Just wanted to say thank you to everyone at the RoH who made this production possible. What a true privilege to see this cast, chorus, orchestra and conductor perform together in this kind of form. Special mention though to Mstro Pappano, whom I suspect deserves a lot of the credit for consistently attracting the world's best singers to London, this being only the most recent (and possibly most spectacular) example. We are so incredibly spoilt here now I have no idea how we will cope when he departs.

  16. francois responded on 25 March 2019 at 11:20pm Reply

    Will there be a DVD of these performances ? Please we all hope so... !!!

  17. Helen W responded on 26 March 2019 at 1:46am Reply

    I sat in the fifth row on the opening night on the floor. A night I will not forget.
    Everything is perfect except the costume and setting is quite confusing. The costumes dressing are in the different style from several centuries... Anna dressed in a grand dress from 18th century then suddenly changed to modern style then back to old times... I simply cannot get this idea.

  18. John Rose responded on 26 March 2019 at 10:17am Reply

    Yes! I agree with the above comments.... the singing, orchestra and interpretation were of the highest class,and many congratulations to the ROH for all that..I was very glad to have been there.

    But,philosophically, I am, nonetheless, a little conflicted.

    Should opera be as drama?...or melodrama (as here)...or simply a vehicle for canary-fanciers? i came away thrilled by the singing as everybody was...but curiously,emotionally unmoved compared to Katya K. a few weeks previously. Perhaps I'm going off Italian opera.(in my fast approaching old age!)...or am too influenced by Jospeh Kerman's little book ,"Opera as Drama",recommended reading for all opera buffs!
    Having now seen "Forza in three different productions, one has to admit to its not being one of his great successes.

  19. Trevor Lynes responded on 26 March 2019 at 11:05am Reply

    Anna always gives 100% to every role and the total cast rose to the occasion brilliantly. Anna will definitely go down as one of the greatest all around opera singer/actresses.
    A wonderful evening of pure entertainment. This is my first Forza and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment.

  20. Nelson Jones responded on 26 March 2019 at 12:20pm Reply

    Well, after weeks of trying and failing and nearly nearly I finally nabbed a “Friday Rush” seat for Sunday. Not a seat I would have chosen and a long long way away but, frankly, with a performance like that it hardly mattered. Just being there felt like being a lottery winner.

    The principals were astounding, as everyone says. But I’d like to put in a word for Veronica Simeoni as Preziosilla, who came in for some criticism after the premiere. I thought she was in good voice on Sunday, and danced terrifically too. The Wallenstein scene doesn’t make much sense in the context of the opera, and it ruins the pace and dramatic continuity, but that’s mainly Verdi’s fault and the Busby Berkeley staging was fun in its own terms.

    As for Leonora’s cave being her father’s dining room, that makes perfect sense, I think, as an expression of her mental imprisonment and her inability to escape the events of that day.

    But what an afternoon! Well done to everyone who manages to see it.

  21. Penny proudlock responded on 26 March 2019 at 7:39pm Reply

    I saw this amazing production on Sunday. I may have been in row C in the amphitheatre BUT that took nothing away from nearly 4 hours of stunning singing! Thankyou to all those who made it possible!

  22. Margaret Boyes responded on 27 March 2019 at 10:20am Reply

    We attended the first night performance and I still haven't come down to earth. The singers especially Jonas and Anna were sublime, Ludovic Tezier was darkly thrilling the rest of the cast were superb. It was a terrific evening's entertainment. I can't wait for Jonas' next visit to ROH.
    This was my second visit, being disabled using a wheelchair it is quite an expidition
    from Yorkshire but everyone at the ROH is
    so helpful polite and kind it is a great pleasure to attend. Thank you to everyone for making it so enjoyable.

  23. Douglas mackie responded on 27 March 2019 at 3:41pm Reply

    Perhaps the finest singing we have heard at the opera house in recent years. However, yet again, this was a performance marred by the use of mobile phones during the performance. A man 2 rows in front was continually using his screen for over 5 minutes in the first Act. Then, in the second act, the man on our right ( stalls row R, seat 5 if management care to check ) decided that messaging on 'whats App' was far more important that the opera. When quietly asked to turn his phone off, we were literally shouted at - SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP!!
    The use of phones during performances at the opera house is becoming an increasing problem for all of us who come to listen to music. It is now long overdue for the management to take a much more active role in dissuading, or better still preventing, this habit that mars an increasing number of performances.

  24. Nigel Ashton responded on 28 March 2019 at 10:46am Reply

    Coughing totally ruined the first night, please can Roh follow Wigmore Hall and ask the audience formally to keep coughing to a minimum. Phones are increasingly being used.
    Extraordinary that people should take such trouble to obtain tickets and then disrupt one of the greatest nights at Covent Garden that I can remember.

  25. in twenty years of opera attendances I have never experienced a cast like this. besides the principals (and i mean everyone one the cast list) the chourus , orchestra and of course tony pappano - toal art pure joy and I had to stand for four hours - but no matter .
    I am going to all the jette parker shows I can to support the next generation as this has to continue so my children can experience this. If I had real cash I would leave a legacy.

  26. Gareth Harvard responded on 1 April 2019 at 9:31pm Reply

    Ironically, the March 29th performance when we were due to leave the EU coincided with The Force of Destiny! A truly memorable night when the full forces of opera delivered and sustained such high levels of excellence from the singers, chorus, orchestra and prductiom team,which I followed up eagerly with a cinema relay, dvd and cd performances- totally absorbed for days!

  27. James Gordon responded on 2 April 2019 at 11:05pm Reply

    I was privileged to see this live on the first night. The cinema relay, while appreciated, can never be a substitute for live performance, most of all with artists who have such stage presence. Oddly, I was able to focus on them much better in the theatre, from the back of the balcony with a pair of binoculars, than in close-up on screen when too much of the production intrudes.

    As for the production, I saw more of it tonight and liked less of it. For me, the music provides the unity/fatality which is why inescapable in Spain and Italy, the inn, the monastery, the cave... Attempting to illustrate this by setting the entire opera in the Marquis's living room is facile, undermining the unity rather than reinforcing it. Thankfully, until the last scene the setting is unobtrusive and passes muster as a permanent set with slight variations that avoids needless expenditure. The interview with the designer sounded like a poor student essay.

    But who cares, with this cast? They would make this far-fetched plot believable on a bare stage. Once again, Pace, pace brought the house down. Tonight, Kaufman's O tu che in seno was equally heart-rending and the tenor/baritone duets were even fuller of tension and emotional twists.

  28. karel kater responded on 3 April 2019 at 2:41am Reply

    My friend Sonja en I saw and heard this - for us - new opera.
    Such e great expirience!
    It was in Hoorn, the Netherlands.
    Cannot sleep yet!
    "we want more ..."
    It was a long and GREAT evening.
    We are so greatful.
    THANK YOU all !!!
    With love -
    Sonja and Karel.

  29. Michael de Navarro responded on 3 April 2019 at 8:27am Reply

    One of the great nights at ROH. Anna Netrebko's singing and acting were quite simply the finest Verdi soprano performance i can remember in 58 years of opera going and the rest of the cast were terrific as were Pappano and the orchestra and chorus. i also greatly enjoyed the production, although I wasn't quite sure why the crowd from the inn burst in at the end of Act 1 (the whole of Act 1 being a memory in Leonora's mind perhaps like the childhood scenes of her and her two brothers in the overture). Thank you.

  30. Wasted on me! Basically, I think it's a pretty terrible opera. I'd never seen it before and it won't be on my list for the future. It's like some sort of variety show with the principals singing some very difficult stuff very well interspersed with hideous variety acts involving the chorus and those dancers which completely destroy any lingering emotions from the arias. That was probably not helped by the production and Presilliosa (or whatever she's called). So there's no consistent feeling throughout and you end up paying a lot of money for a standard of singing you could get at the Wigmore Hall for a fraction of the price. I have been going to the RoH for over 30 years and, like one other commenter, I think my patience with Italian opera is wearing thin.

    • Julio Grau responded on 4 April 2019 at 11:57pm

      Oh dearie, please go to Germany to over mannered german/austrian opera. Do not waste your money here.

  31. Mr Barry Bernstein responded on 3 April 2019 at 10:36am Reply

    I reiterate a really great singing and
    orchestral performance in an opera
    like Il Trovatore which all it needs is
    the best four best opera singers in the world.
    BUT I have to be honest I could of just as
    easily heard the singers in a CONCERT
    performance. The silly chairs that were
    in all the banal sets could of been forward
    to the front and the singers could of
    just sat down when not singing!
    Just one worrying aspect. I didn't see
    ONE person under 60 in the Vue in
    North Finchley.

  32. NOEL PATRICK responded on 3 April 2019 at 11:06am Reply

    Watched 'forza' at the Odeon Belfast last night. The performers, nothing less than excellent, right from top billing down. Personally, I greatly enjoyed listening to Netrebko and Tezier, both in great voice. The writing of course favours some more than others!
    The negatives for me were the drab costumes. It needed something more colourful to lift/enhance the performance. Also, I didn't get the carnival scene! Whether 'fate/chance' or 'free-will/determinism' where to be highlighted at this point I couldn't work out. If this scene had been edited out, I feel the performance would have been more consistent.
    Nevertheless, I greatly enjoyed the evening overall.
    Well done to all at The Royal Opera House.

  33. Stephen Ratcliffe responded on 3 April 2019 at 11:21am Reply

    Great singing last night, even though we were at back of amphitheatre. Netrebko/Furlanetto duet was particular high point. Orchestra were superb

  34. Irene Ramsden responded on 3 April 2019 at 12:21pm Reply

    Maybe we should ask Anna Netrebko to sort out Brexit for us , there seems to be nothing this extraordinary woman can't do !Kaufman and Tezier were merely brilliant , Netrebko was off the scale sublime ... I realised very quickly last night in the cinema that this was very special and memorable . Thank you Tony Pappano , you are a genius , and please , please can we have a DVD ...

  35. Michael responded on 4 April 2019 at 4:19am Reply

    Saw it twice. One of the most incredible evening of singing I have heard at the ROH in the last few years.
    Anna Netrebko is a force of nature.
    Come and sing at the ROH every year Anna.
    The british public loves you.

  36. Virtue responded on 4 April 2019 at 2:27pm Reply

    Great singing, great performance, great voices . There are no words to express the glory of it. Yet... the staging. Most current stage directors fill the stage with symbols, shabby costumes and hidden messages the composer didn't intent to convey. As an espectator, I want to hear and see Verdi, not someone else's interpretation of his work.

  37. Trevor Lynes responded on 5 April 2019 at 7:36pm Reply

    I feel I must agree wholeheartedly with Irenes comments about Anna netrebko...she is overpoweringly great and should be the Russian ambassador. Placido once said that he believes that Anna could lead troops after watching her mesmerizing audiences...his opinion is good enough for me as he has sang with all the best. A fantastic evening of vocal brilliance by a brilliant cast and orchestra. Special mention to the ROH chorus too !!

  38. Terry responded on 10 April 2019 at 12:42pm Reply

    Saw this last night. Agree with all the above very positive comments. Monastyrska was singing Leonora and we thought she also was superb. What a fantastic evening!
    Thankful the new production did not destroy the storyline like the appalling ‘Queen of Spades’ nonsense a few months ago. Hopefully the ROH board now realise after a string of mediocre new productions that this Forza is how opera should be presented at our premier house.
    World class singing, chorus, orchestra, conducting and an acceptable production.
    Verdi and the audience were the winners.
    Thank you!

  39. Celine responded on 13 April 2019 at 9:42am Reply

    Fabulous singing and orchestral performance. An unforgettable evening, so many wonderful voices.
    However..
    The projected images were a big distraction, worst was the foot stomping and clapping in the middle section with men doing circus tricks. The loud dancing took away from the music which could barely be heard over it. The sexual antics in this same crowd carnival scene were too overt and unnecessary - not what I wish or expect to see at the ROH.

  40. Brendan Quinn responded on 13 April 2019 at 3:05pm Reply

    This Forza is the reason I go to the ROH. A stellar cast of international stars, this is what an international top 5 global opera house needs to have on the stage at least 2 or 3 times a year. I have been going to the ROH now for 40 years, this was right up there in one of my top ten nights at the beloved ROH.

  41. ML responded on 14 April 2019 at 1:04am Reply

    We went on the night the wonderful Liumyla Monastyrska sang Leonora (our choice) with brilliant and charismatic Jonas Kaufmann as Don Alvaro and the excellent Ludovic Tezier as Don Carlo and were hugely impressed with the singers' performances, the orchestra and the conducting from Tony Pappano. The other soloists (Roberta Alexander, Aigul Akhmetshina, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Alessandro Corbelli and Robert Lloyd) were superb too, Akhmetshina in particular managing to succeed in the thankless task of singing well in a rather strange series of costumes (for Preziosilla).

    The production was very odd in some places - it's all very well "recycling" the same set for all the scenes but surely the ornate archway, tiled "floor" and chandelier could have been removed during the cave scene and battle scene, as it looks so bizarre that it ruins the mood that the singers and orchestra are trying to create- eg. Leonora is supposed to be living in a solitary cave but instead seems to be living in a rather grand, neatly tidied dining room with lots of cupboards. The footage of the scene with the gun going off would have been more effective had the footage not actually been out of sync in Act 1 and actually ahead of the action on stage, which left a few viewers who hadn't read the reviews rather confused (and it seems to be a deliberate and recurrent issue every night rather than an opening night snag). The opening scenes with the children in the overture - while acted well by the child performers - were confusing ("who was the second boy?" was a recurring question at the interval) and didn't seem necessary at all, considering that the dialogue and lyrics make it abundantly clear in Act One who Carlo, Leonora and the Marquis are, even if you're not familiar with Italian.
    The production made me think of a Fellini film mixed with scenes from Fosse's Cabaret (not in a good way)!

    Thankfully, the music wasn't chopped and over-embellished as much. We were delighted to have such fine performances from not one, not two but numerous excellent singers, supported by sublime playing from the orchestra. Overall, the evening was a splendid triumph for the singers and musicians, and we enjoyed it immensely.

  42. Christopher Hegan responded on 25 April 2019 at 12:25pm Reply

    Reading all the plaudits above, I'm thinking it must be me. Or is it? Musically: perfection. A delight beyond my expectations and hopes. But the production, particularly the choreography, struck me as almost grotesque. For starters the stage was grossly overcrowded in the chorus scenes and everything was almost parodically overdone. The chorus sang like angels, I will give them that, but for such a prestigious venue, and such ticket prices (which I fully understand to be necessary) I expect reasonably schooled performances from everyone. Stage fights where someone falls from a blow that misses by a good two feet. No! The hoary old 'friends restrain would-be combatant' scene where there was clearly no struggle going on. It must be half a century since directors and choreographers discovered that the best way to portray this was to have the players actually struggle against each other. Two hours' decent tuition and such a thing is easily mastered. Clichéd 'acting-out' martial movements - saluting, etc. - all so laughably old hat. (Four folk in the row behind me were laughing out loud, so no, it wasn't just me.) Another example: the poor supplicants, numbering I think six adults and a few children. So much more powerful to present a smaller group in sharp focus.
    Leonora constantly flinging herself to the floor: why? Was she tired? It also tended to highlight her rather Wagnerian proportions. Most unfortunate. Leonora is a rather tiresome character anyway, self-obsessed, constantly playing 'come here, go away' and consequently it is a role that demands a gripping stage performance to keep us enrolled to her cause.
    Why was there a giant crucifix hanging over an inn? Was that a mistake? And, as others have noted, the projection (over-used) was often out of sync with the action.
    I spent most of the evening with my eyes closed because every time I opened them the magic evaporated.
    Not good enough.

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