Verdi: La Forza del Destino
La forza del destino
Verdi’s wn operas, by contrast, generally need little help in promoting them, although it is still a good thing if from time to time they are lifted out of the rut of operatic routine, as happened to La forza del destino in 1960. Only a few weeks before his sudden death, Dimitri Mitropoulos added perceptibly to the temperature inside the Vienna State Opera and ratcheted up the tension with the State Opera Chorus and Orchestra until it reached bursting point. The Leonora in this performance is Antonietta Stella, a genuine Verdi soprano who was unjustly underrated in comparison to her more prominent rivals from Italy, Greece and Turkey. Opposite her are the tenor Giuseppe di Stefano and the baritone Ettore Bastianini, both of whom offer performances as remarkable for their dramatic attack as for the subtlety of their singing. The lower voice types are represented by Giulietta Simionato, Walter Kreppel and Karl Dönch, providing a fascinating contrast between a legendary Italian visiting star and exponents of the old Viennese ensemble spirit at an exciting, transitional period in operatic history that is recalled in an essay on Dimitri Mitropoulos that has been contributed to the CD booklet by Michael Gielen, who was a répétiteur and conductor at the Vienna State Opera at the time in question.