[…] After Nabucco, it was fitting to revive one of the lesser-known of Verdi’s operas: ‘I Lombardi alla prima crociata’, a ‘dramma musicale’ in four acts on a libretto by Temistocle Solera.
It takes courage to stage this hefty work […] There are rapid shifts in the story and continuous changes of scene […] the music is as wonderful as always, and the young Verdi does not miss the target: in the midst of battles and conflicts the love of Pagano and Viclinda still finds a way to blossom, and it does so through some of the most touching arias of the opera.
Gioele Muglialdo conducted this long and complex work with a steady hand (even though the cast and orchestra were not always up to his demanding requests); he must be credited with strong musicality, well-displayed in this thoughtful interpretation where moments of intense lyricism were not lacking. The singers were all, in some measure, applauded, especially the young but up-and-coming tenor Ivan Magrì (of the school of Ernesto Palacio): the evident chemistry between him and Muglialdo on the podium enabled him to shine even in mezza-voce passages, a rarity nowadays. Praiseworthy also the chorus, who gave an encore of ‘O Signore, dal tetto natio’; […]
The present staging is a reprise of the one made in 1995 for the millennium anniversary of the first crusade, which was planned, incidentally, in Piacenza during the Council held by Pope Urban II. A double event, then, the programming of this work in the Piacenza season.