Look...I'm sorry, but that opera is kind of weak. It's not that I had a bad time per se, but all in all Verdi just f's up a little here. I mean, Forza is certainly sitting on top of a very wonderful, tho maybe not top 5, three-hour opera, but you can't really get around those clunker chorus scenes, can you?
And it's not like the man couldn't write a kick-ass chorus scene. I mean, he pretty much stands alone on that count. But the chorus scenes here ain't like that. With the exception of the tavern sequence in the second act, which seemed promising, they are dramatic lame ducks. It's like he meant to splice the chorus bits with the adjacent ensemble numbers, but the two got separated at birth and are now living on opposite sides of the country, totally unaware of the other yet making uncannily similar life choices.
I don't put much stock in some other criticisms I've seen floated. Apart from the fact that he is an *Incan prince*, the plot is hardly more contrived than a lot of other Verdi stories (one question tho--why does she refuse to go into the convent in Act II? J suggests: she wants to keep open "the option of boning").
I think the drawn out plot structure is very interesting. Especially in Alvaro, Verdi is masterful at creating music for the same character from radically different vantage points. With obvious exceptions, most of Verdi's characters really do unfold in a short time frame, and it is neat watching his style succeed in describing a bigger arc.
The trouble is he seems to feel this isn't enough to effect the passage of time. Instead of broadening the scope however, the detours from the central action just make the whole thing feel artificially inflated and dramatically unsatisfying.
But then again, Verdi doesn't really need my markings at this point, now does he?
The current production is fine, but nothing to write home about. The painfully literal set does its job save for the dopey effects in the battle scene (J: I thought Les Miz closed?) and the schlocky mountain hermitage in the last.
DVoigt sounded good, but it wasn't until her late appearance that I thought she got voigt-tastic--and even then, still somewhere short of a voigt-sation. Also, a bit hard to appreciate the new bod under a burlap sack monk get-up. Licitra has a very big pretty sound, so it is too bad that he A) insists on pushing the stuffing out of some top notes, and B) seems to randomly decide he just don't give a fuck about ending a phrase cleanly. G thought Delavan wasn't at his best, and I can see that. Still very nice tho.
Update: Maury gives it an extended 'meh' here.