La forza del destino

 

Verdi La forza del destino opera to libretto by Francesco Piave. Directed 2008 by David Pountney at the Wiener Staatsoper. Stars Alastair Miles (Il Marchese di Calatrava/Padre Guardiano), Nina Stemme (Leonora), Carlos Álvarez (Don Carlo di Vargas), Salvatore Licitra (Don Alvaro), Nadia Krasteva (Preziosilla), Tiziano Bracci (Fra Melitone), Elisabeta Marin (Curra), Dan Paul Dumitrescu (Un alcalde), Michael Roider (Mastro Trabuco), Clemens Unterreiner (Un chirurgo), and dancers of the Wiener Staatsballett. Zubin Mehta conducts the Chor und Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper (Chorus Master Thomas Lang). Set and costume design by Richard Hudson; lighting design by Frabrice Kebour; choreography by Beate Vollack; video by fettFilm (Momme Hinrichs & Torge Møller). Directed for TV by Karina Fibich; video editing by Gernot Arendt; sound by Gregor Hornacek. Released 2018, disc has 5.0 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: B-

This appears to be the same title as the La forza released by C Major back in 2011 with the package art below. We removed this version of the title from the Alphalist. But if you find it at a bargain price, give it a try:

 

Don Alvaro (Salvatore Licitra), shown with his back turned and holding a pistol, is the son of a Spanish nobleman and the last Peruvian princess. He is considered a mulatto. He is in love with Leonora (Nina Stemme). Leonora’s father, the Spanish Marchese of Calatrava (Alastair Miles) discovers the couple is about to elope and steps in:

Don Alvaro tries to surrender his pistol, but it falls to the floor by accident and then discharges, mortally wounding the Marchese. (We read one expert say this is the only accidental death by gunshot in all opera). But before he dies, the Marchese curses Leonora. Don Alvaro and Leonora are separated and both flee. But even though she is innocent, Leonora will not escape the curse:

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Leonora’s brother, Don Carlo (Carlos Álvarez) has sworn to kill both lovers. He travels in disguise looking for them. Next below we see scene where Don Carlo meets the mule-drivers at a Spanish inn, who have been updated by Pountney into (we guess) his idea of Texas redneck evangelicals:

The rednecks are led by Gypsy fortuneteller and camp follower Preziosilla (Nadia Krasteva). In the next screenshot below, Preziosilla is urging the Spanish to attack Italy:

Pountney takes an anti-militaristic and anti-clerical slant on the proceedings:

Rogue nuns:

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Leonora seeks refuge in a monastery from Padre Guardiano (Alastair Miles):

Now fate leads Don Alvaro (left) and Don Carlo into a sacred pact of friendship:

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Which quickly turns into an explosive confrontation:

The deaths of the Calatrava siblings:

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Leaving Don Alvaro to wonder endlessly, “Why didn’t I engage the safety on my pistol?”

These screenshots only give you a superficial view of all the twists and turns in the libretto. Back in the March 2012 Gramophone (at page 82) Mike Ashman said this is was the best realized of the then current Forza videos. We agreed with Ashman and give this a B-.

Here's a poor quality trailer. The video recording is much better than this: