There are artists -- very few of them, unfortunately, but their being such rare wonders is also a large part of their appeal -- who set standards for all the rest, who show you how it's done; Michael Jordan dunking, Tiger Woods swinging, Paul Newman smiling, Marilyn Monroe walking in high heels.
Not only it's a clichè to say that they're worth the price of admission -- it's also incorrect. They're worth more -- they're priceless (even if la Scala, with its insane -- especially in this deep recession -- price policy is approaching the literally priceless level, in a bad way -- but we'll discuss this in another post).
Because the other night's premiere of I Due Foscari at la Scala was an example of this phenomenon. The playbill read like this:
Francesco Foscari: Leo Nucci
Jacopo Foscari: Fabio Sartori
Lucrezia Contarini: Manon Feubel
Jacopo Loredano: Marco Spotti
Barbarigo: Luca Casalin
Pisana: Alina Zinovjeva
Fante: Ramtin Ghazavi
Servo del Doge: Ernesto Panariello
Direttore: Stefano Ranzani
Regia: Cesare Lievi
Opera Chic had bought her ticket for this underwhelming Verdi opera randomly in the middle of Scala's disappointing 2008/09 season essentially to have the privilege, once again, to hear Leo Nucci sing. By far the best Italian opera baritone since maestro Cappuccilli's retirement, Nucci, past 60, still has the control, the power, the sheer dramatic understanding of the role that make him a unique artist.
Even in a far from perfect production such as this one -- the recycled from a few seasons ago Lievi staging, a cast that kept changing, with original conductor Carlo Montanaro replaced by Nello Santi who pulled out in weird circumstances, and finally, Ranzani; soprano Svetla Vassileva replaced by Manon Feubel.
But then we had Nucci.
Read the rest of the review by clicking below!