New life for 'Nabucco'

  • Article by: LARRY FUCHSBERG , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 24, 2012 - 12:43 PM

REVIEW: The Verdi opera's 19th-century political themes are re-dramatized in this new production, which features strong singing and a star turn by soprano Brenda Harris.

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gbelliniSep. 28, 1212:30 AM

First let me affirm our respect and admiration for Larry Fuchsberg, whose well-considered reviews have delighted and informed us so often. Then let me confess that the Nabucco we saw and heard this evening bore almost no resemblance to the one he described above. The "music...often seems pedestrian." Yes. "A longish evening of creaky melodrama." Yes. And "the... chorus is splendid from first to last." We'll give Larry those three, plus the "old-fashioned beauty" of the painted sets. But there was not ONE soloist on the Ordway stage tonight whose voice did not disappoint in some way -- timbre, intonation, pitch, you name it. Has the entire cast come down with the flu since last Saturday? The staging, moreover, was larded with oddities: the opening Apollo/Helios backdrop; the whirling-Dervish Babylonians; the interpretive dancers who accompanied the lead soprano's best aria. Most wonderfully awful was the costume foisted on Ismaele: a flowing white dress and flowing white headdress--nearly indistinguishable from the garb of the Hebrew maidens already on stage (but for bare arms). Verdi's would-be-dashing hero arrives looking like a virgin bride. Mr. Fuchsberg must have had a really nice meal and a good bottle of wine before writing his enthusiastic review.

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