Andrea Chénier


Umberto Giordano Andrea Chénier opera to libretto by Luigi Illica. Directed 2015 by David McVicar at the Royal Opera House. Stars Jonas Kaufmann (Andrea Chénier), Željko Lučić (Carlo Gérard), Eva-Maria Westbroek (Maddalena Di Coigny), John Cunningham (Major-Domo), Basil Patton (An Old Gardener, Gérard’s Father), Denyce Graves (Bersi), Rosalind Plowright (Contessa Di Coigny), Peter Coleman-Wright (Pietro Fléville), Andrew Carter (Flando Fiorinelli), Peter Hoare (The Abbé), Adrian Clarke (Mathieu), Michael Kenneth Stewart (Orazio Coclite), Carlo Bosi (The Incredibile (An Incroyable)), Roland Wood (Roucher), Andrew Hobday (Maximilien Robespierre), Elena Zilio (Madelon), Ed Lyness (Madelon’s Grandson), Eddie Wade (Fouquier-Tinville), Yuriy Yurchu (Dumas), Basil Patton (Gravier De Vergennes), Irene Hardy (Laval-Montmorency), Judith Georgi (Idia Legray), and Jeremy White (Schmidt). Antonio Pappano conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and the Royal Opera Chorus. Set design by Robert Jones; costume design by Jenny Tiramani; choreography and movement by Andrew George; lighting design by Adam Silverman. Directed for TV by Jonathan Haswell. Sung in Italian. Released 2016, disc has 5.1 Dolby Digital sound. Grade: NA

So far this is the only HDVD in which the character of Maximilien Robespierre appears.  According to Michael White, writing in The New York Times (January 27, 2015), there really was a poet named Andrea Chénier who went to the guillotine in the French Terror. Otherwise, this is a another version of the Tosca story (Luigi Illica wrote the librettos for both Andrea Chénier and Tosca) with bad-guy Gérard and good-guy Chénier both after the girl, Maddalena Di Coigny. While praising the production values, the singing of the main stars, and Pappano's work with the orchestra, White is dogged by a lack of enthusiasm for the score or the libretto.

But Patrick Dillon, writing in the February 2017 Opera News (page 48) gives this title a ringing endorsement and a "Critic's Choice" award as a "singers' opera" well-done by all concerned. Finally, Hugo Shirley, at page 108 of the January 2018 Gramophone calls this the best video of Andrea Chenier ever.