Performers: Tito Gobbi, Elena Suliotis
Conductor: Lamberto Gardelli
Length: 2 hours 10 minutes
Germans, Austrian and other central Europeans have, up until now, ruined opera for me... Frankly the Italian thing is never as good as great Mozart or Wagner. This is true even of Verdi... I might still be proven wrong, but I don't think so.
Nabucco is a perfect example of this, the action is too convoluted, the emotions too cartoony, the singing exagerated, the musical often too comedic for the situation, the libretto weak.
This is not to say that it isn't a good Opera, because it is that as well, it has great moments such as Va Pensiero and a couple of duets but too much of the action happens off stage between acts, the singing is way too prominent. There is little notion of Opera as a multimedia experience as a complete work of art, just as a more interesting way to play vocal music. Looking forward to Glinka soon, though.
The soprano role of Abigaille is unique in that it has been the downfall of a number of singers. Elena Souliotis and Anita Cerquetti sang it before they were ready, and its high tessitura ruined their voices. Maria Callas sang it only three times and only a live performance from 1949 was recorded. Leontyne Price and Joan Sutherland refused to sing it. While no soprano has become known as a "great Abigaille", Ghena Dimitrova (1941 – 2005) and Jadranka Jovanovic were a notable exponent of the role.