After eighteen long years, La forza del destino finally returns to the Met–six years after the announced Calixto Bieito production was canceled. As a companion to Andrew Knapp’s four-part forza overview, Chris’s Cache today offers three live recordings of Verdi’s fateful opera: one featuring a cast I heard in the distant past, another from Paris just over a year ago with a cast completely different from the Met’s, as well as the complete St. Petersburg version from Caramoor praised in Andrew’s final installment.

In the fall of 1983, I made one of many trips from Ohio to NYC: the primary reasons were to see my first Les Troyens with Jessye Norman, Tatiana Troyanos, and Placido Domingo at the Met and my first Alcina at New York City Opera starring Carol Vaness, D’Anna Fortunato, and Erie Mills. While I was in town, I caught the second performance of that season’s Met revival of forza (today’s pirate captures the first) with Grace Bumbry, José Carreras, Renato Bruson, and Nicolai Ghiaurov.

Back in the day, Forza was so frequently done at the Met that the previous fall I’d seen it with Leona Mitchell, Carlo Bergonzi, Sherrill Milnes, and James Morris—and the only chance I got to hear the wonderful Gabriel Bacquier—as Melitone. However, the 1983 matinee was the last time I encountered a Met forza—until this coming February 26th: fingers crossed!

I must have had good reasons at the time but I missed the Giancarlo Del Monaco production entirely, skipping its poorly received 1996 premiere run, as well as its revival ten years later. I was able to hear Salvatore Licitra, the latter run’s Alvaro, when he performed the opera with Collegiate Chorale at Carnegie Hall in 2003 with Maria Guleghina, Mark Rucker, and Simon Estes. But two decades is far too long without a live forza.

If these three forzas don’t suffice, I have several other exciting live recordings in the pipeline!

Verdi: La forza del destino

Leonora: Grace Bumbry
Preziosilla: Isola Jones
Don Alvaro: José Carreras
Don Carlo: Renato Bruson
Padre Guardiano: Nicolai Ghiaurov
Fra Melitone: Renato Capecchi
Calatrava: Richard Vernon

Conductor: James Levine
Metropolitan Opera
28 September 1983
In-house recording

Leonora: Anna Pirozzi
Preziosilla: Elena Maximova
Don Alvaro: Russell Thomas
Don Carlo: Ludovic Tézier
Padre Guardiano: Ferruccio Furlanetto
Fra Melitone: Nicola Alaimo
Calatrava: James Creswell

Conductor: Jader Bignamini
Opéra Bastille Paris
12 December 2022
In-house recording

(St. Petersburg version)

Leonora: Takesha Meshé Kizart
Preziosilla: Kristin Chávez
Don Alvaro: Emmanuel di Villarosa
Don Carlo: Zurab Ninua
Padre Guardiano: Daniel Borowski
Fra Melitone: Marco Nistico
Calatrava: Nathan Resika

Conductor: Will Crutchfield
Caramoor Festival
2 July 2008
In-tent recording

Each forza can be downloaded by clicking on the icon of a cloud with an arrow pointing downward on the audio player above and the resulting mp3 file will appear in your download directory.

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