Lucrezia Borgia, once a seldom-performed opera, is being performed more and more often today. The leading role has been a showpiece for the greatest bel canto singers of history: Caballe, Gencer, Sutherland …
In 2009, Edita Gruberova, at 63!, added this role to her repertoire. Her particularly dramatic portrayal of the poisoner with the maternal heart was recorded in Munich. Her voice sounds crystal clear on the recording and her ornamentation is impeccable. She really has no equal! Just listen to ‘Comé è bello’, if that is not bel canto singing, I don’t know what is.
The young Slovakian tenor Pavol Breslik is ideally cast as Gennaro. He is a good-looking, charismatic singer, with an expressive and supple voice. He sounds and acts like an adolescent, exactly as the role is meant to be.
Alice Coote is a very impressive Orsini and Franco Vassallo is imposing as the vicious Don Alfonso. His very intense singing of ‘Vieni! La mia vendetta’, rightly earns him an open curtain call.
I love the modern production directed by Christof Loy. It is simple and effective, and very moving too.
Included as a bonus there is an extremely interesting documentary about the diva, The Art of Bel Canto.