“The cast is a dream team”, wrote the Financial Times after the premiere of this production of Verdi’s La forza del destino at the Wiener Staatsoper. At the top of the list is soprano Nina Stemme, who gives a full-blooded portrayal of Leonora. Passionate, forceful readings are also provided by Salvatore Licitra as Alvaro, Leonora’s lover, and by Carlos Álvarez as Don Carlo, Leonora’s vengeful brother. Zubin Mehta leads the Staatsoper Orchestra with agility, subtleness and relaxed mastery.
In Verdi’s La forza del destino, a stray bullet accidentally kills a young woman’s father, activating an unstoppable chain of fateful misunderstandings, merciless pursuits and murderous revenge – more the force of “chance" than of "destiny”. Next to the work’s heavenly music, it is this depiction of the fury of chance, of the one split second that can change people’s lives forever that makes this work one of the most fascinating and challenging in the Verdi canon.
David Pountney establishes this atmosphere of entrapment by fate at the very opening of the work. With the aid of a bizarre, menacing construction that suggests the randomness of destiny, Pountney finds an ideal image to serve as a forbidding background to a variety of colorful scenes. “A perfect utopia”, proclaimed the Süddeutsche Zeitung.