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Gaetano Donizetti - La Fille du Régiment / Ciofi, Florez, Frizza, Sagi (Teatro del Carlo Felice di Genova 2005) [DVD] [2006]

Patrizia Ciofi , Juan Diego Florez , Emilio Sagi    Exempt   DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: £19.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Patrizia Ciofi, Juan Diego Florez, Nicola Ulivieri, Francesca Franci, Riccardo Frizza
  • Directors: Emilio Sagi
  • Format: Box set, Classical, Colour, DVD-Video, PAL, Subtitled
  • Language: French, English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese
  • Subtitles: Chinese, English, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Universal Classics
  • DVD Release Date: 9 Oct 2006
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 63,797 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Donizetti's La Fille du Regiment aims to please and it succeeds, with its catchy tunes, wildly difficult showpieces for the principles, and a simple, if also simplistic, narrative line. This 2005 live performance at Genoa's Teatro Carlo Felice features virtuoso singing by tenor Juan Diego Flórez as Tonio and soprano Patrizia Ciofi, as Marie, the "daughter" of the soldiers who have adopted her. Tonio's big Act I scene and aria, "Ah! mes amis," was a famous showpiece for Pavarotti and Flórez is in that league, nailing the aria's nine high Cs with an ease mere mortals reserve just for breathing. This is knock-'em-dead singing and the audience demands (and gets) an encore. Ciofi's Marie is well acted and sung with lyric beauty and coloratura fireworks. The chief supporting roles are done to a turn. Bass Nicola Ulivieri is a firm-voiced Sulpice, the sergeant who helps the lovers, while Francesca Franci is a wonderful Marquise, displaying subtle comic acting and a rich mezzo as Marie's "aunt" who has grand plans for her future. Conductor Riccardo Frizza leads the Genoa forces with stylish zest.

Stage director Emilio Sagi, has moved the action from Napoleonic times to a French village in the closing days of World War II, replacing the French regiment with victorious Yanks, which makes for some textual anomalies but none that impede enjoyment. This video version offers functional direction but it's often unflattering to the singers (especially Marie who's sometimes shot from above in lighting that shadows part of her face), and uses excessive close-ups and cuts to reaction shots that distract from the main events. Still, a don't-miss buffo opera brilliantly sung. --Dan Davis

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't overlook this version 20 July 2008
I didn't file this a year ago when I bought the dvd because I assumed Amazon would be flooded with reviews, given the magnificence of the performance and popularity of the opera. But I see nobody else has yet offered their opinion so I thought I'd better get a word in, because it now faces very stiff competition from the new Dessay/Florez version.

All-round, it is one of my favourite opera dvds. Yes, the plot is scatty but it's also great fun, the singing on this version is out of this world, acting is good to excellent, and I love Frizza's conducting. Above all, it has that indefinable quality, the feel of a great occasion captured on the wing. The Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova audience goes appropriately nuts at the right moments, forcing an encore out of Florez after "Mes amis". He duly pings off the nine high Cs a second time without breaking sweat. As if not to be outdone, Ciofi responds with a beautifully moving "Il faut partir", giving the audience another reason to voice its amazement. And so it goes on, through the entire opera. Singing just doesn't get any better than this. Nicola Ulivieri as Sulpice and a sexy Francesca Franci as La Marquise de Berkenfield provide strong support and something of a subplot, though Ulivieri's French is rather unique. The action is updated to WW2, which works without being obtrusive. There is a whole disc of very worthwhile extras.

Reviews of the new Dessay version from Covent Garden get to hair-splitting differences between it and this one. General consensus seems to be that singing is marginally better in Genova, acting has the edge at Covent Garden. Even without seeing it I can believe that Dessay is in a class of her own. She is surely the best actress in opera today.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I bought this recording as a result of a particularly glowing review in The Gramophone magazine that suggested that it was as close to definitive as we have any right to expect. At no point have I regretted the purchase, and even in the face of the slightly later Dessay version, I still would urge viewers to consider this as the better performance.

In this production the action is moved forwards to the WW2 period without any loss. The theatre is smaller and more intimate in feel than Covent Garden even though it provides some 2000 seats for the packed audience as here. The audience is enthusiastic in a very Italian manner and there is a strong sense of involvement with both the action on the stage and with being one of the audience in this recording.

There are four stand-out parts in this opera and in this production they are all particularly well sung and acted with a clear sense of enjoyment. The substantial supporting roles of Sulpice as chief `father' to Marie and La marquise as Marie's real mother are both performed to perfection by Nicola Ulivieri and Francesca Franci respectively. Both of these singers have what seems to be a natural talent for conveying a gentle humour and this is a great asset providing amusement without vulgarity.

The two star roles of Tonio, performed by Juan Diego Florez, and Marie, performed by Patrizia Ciofi, are especially rewarding. Both have voices that are ideal for their parts. Florez, with his somewhat `trumpety' vocal timbre cuts through orchestral and choral textures with apparent ease. His `Mes amis' aria is a show-stopper earning insistent demands for an encore which he supplies with brio.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent production, don`t miss it! 29 July 2011
I was delighted with this performance, even though I`ve seen the hugely popular (and deservedly so) Dessay/Florez version.
Musically, this is excellent and I liked the lighting and sets rather more; the video direction is a bit clumsy at times though - there were clearly elements of visual comedy onstage that the camera failed to catch, but some that it did... well perhaps the editor was merciful, certainly the comedy was better handled at Covent Garden. One inadvertently amusing element was the male chorus; close-up, they had the unfortunate appearance of middle-aged accountants rather than fighting GIs - I know that Marie regards all the regiment as her Fathers, but I don`t think the "Dad's Army" effect was really intended!
But I gripe, and I really shouldn't, for these are minor blemishes - Ciofi sings wonderfully and Florez is - of course - terrific. There is nothing more I can say that the reviewer above hasn't already.
The extras consist of an interesting 27min. "Behind the scenes" documentary, a 10 min. trailer for The South Bank Show featuring Florez, a very short - 3 min. - look inside the Teatro Carlo Felice and an 18min. Trailer reel for other Decca DVDs.

Now, I picked this up at a bargain price - I urge you to grab it while you can even if you have the Dessay/ Florez version, I`m sure you won`t regret it. I was so pleased with this and I`m getting the Dessay DVD too.
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run of the mill updating of la fille to wartime france doesnt really work
the chorus totally naff too old and one of them pointedly doesnt know the words or production
only watch for florenz and ciofi who attack their difficult roles with ease and finesse
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