Vincenzo Bellini I Capuleti e i MontecchiVincenzo Bellini – I Capuleti e i Montecchi

CAST: Giulietta: Anna Netrebko, Romeo: Elina Garanca, Capellio: Tiziano Bracci, Tebaldo: Joseph Calleja, Lorenzo: Robert Gleadow

Wiener Singakademie
Chorus Master: Heinz Ferlesch
Wiener Symphoniker
Fabio Luisi, conductor

Deutsche Grammophon, 2009

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In the 20th century, only few “official” recordings of Bellini’s tragedia lirica I Capuleti e i Montecchi have been released and we have to rely mainly on live recordings to remedy to this shortage. With the present recording, made in 2008 at the Konzerthaus in Vienna, it seems that the new century opens up new prospects. Featuring an excellent cast headed by two operatic superstars as Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca, this new recording of I Capuleti e i Montecchi is really a gem.

Anna Netrebko (Giulietta)

I often criticized Anna Netrebko, especially in her most recent recordings as Verismo and Romanza, but her Giulietta (recorded several years before the release of these two albums) is a role that really makes possible to appreciate all the fine qualities of the Russian-born, Austrian-based soprano. This is indeed one of her best recordings.

The softness with which Netrebko sings Eccomi in lieta vesta, with a disconsolation which does not seem to belong to this world, and the beautiful, melancholic legato of Oh! quante volte, oh quante are only the first signs of an excellent performance. Netrebko’s voice amazes for her beautiful timbre as well as for her luminous high notes, for the elegance of her phrasing and for her well chosen accents (listen to her vibrant emotion in the duet with Lorenzo).

What is more stunning is the lyricism with which she characterizes this charming role: although her diction is sometimes imprecise, she perfectly understands Giulietta’s sadness, anxiety and fears and conveys them with outstanding sense of balance, without adding useless shades or inflexions.

Elina Garanca (Romeo)

Elina Garanca sings en travesti the role of Giulietta’s lover Romeo and she too is extremely fine. Though in other recordings I found her performance to be technically refined but emotionally cold, this time the perfect blend of technique and feelings makes Garanca simply perfect.

Garanca’s voice has the right colour – bright, warm and rich – for this audacious and romantic character, which she characterizes with intensity and intelligence. While she sings La tremenda ultrice spada with vibrant boldness, she is also admirable for her pathos in the last scene. There is not a single aspect of Romeo’s character that she does not explore and her vocal agility and the homogeneity of her registers add musical grace and charm. Also, the blend between Netrebko and Garanca’s voices is an ideal one, as the duets (in the first act: Sì, fuggire: a noi non resta, and the final scene) abundantly testify.

Other Singers & Conduction

An excellent cast surrounds the two protagonists, beginning with Joseph Calleja (Tebaldo), who sings the wonderful aria È serbato a questo acciaro with flawless stylishness and smoothness. For his part, Tiziano Bracci (Capellio) is remarkable for his musicianship and for the incisiveness of his inflections. Finally, Robert Gleadow characterizes Lorenzo with paternal care and vocal elegance.

At last, Fabio Luisi’s conduction does justice to Bellini’s melodic ideas and his insight and expertise contribute to bring soaring depth to the opera.

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