Regular readers of this blog would probably expect that, faced with a Zeffirelli production of Il Trovatore from the Verona Arena, I would run screaming for the hills. The 2019 recording though piqued my interest. The geek in me wanted to see how much difference 4K ultra HD made, having only so far been able to get my paws on a couple of such recordings. I was also aware that it’s quite some time since I’ve heard Anna Netrebko and here she heads up a very appealing looking cast. So I succumbed.
Where better to record a production of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette than in the spectacular Arena at Verona? The productio, dircted by Francesco Micheli with sets by Eduardo Sanchi and costumes by Silvia Aymonino, is as spectacular as the setting and also quite weird in a space opera sort of way, The characters wear huge collars and are colour coded; Yellow for the Montagues, red for Paris and his entourage and blue for the Capulets. Only the non-feuding characters escape this schema notably, of course, the two lovers and Friar Lawrence. There are also lots of colourful cage like structures that character pop in and out of or sing from and a huge chorus and crowd of supers flow all over the vast space. It’s amazing to look at and actually suits a straightforward telling of the story quite well.