With the stellar cast of Dessay, Florez, Corbelli, and Palmer, one sits down to watch this DVD with high expectations. And one would not be disappointed.
Laurent Pelly's production is highly entertaining stuff. There is always something to occupy the eye, and though it may strike some people as 'overly busy', one can't help being amused at the sheer inventiveness of some of the stage business. He obviously demands a lot from his singers, especially the amazing Dessay, who has to be the most fearless artist performing today. As a comedienne she is her most physical, punctuating every vocal turn and flourish with a corresponding bodily movement. On first viewing, this kind of hyper-physical comedy is enchanting; however, I have to say it wears a bit thin on subsequent viewings, and I find myself longing for a comic portrayal that is more human and based more on character. Vocally, her coloratura is as bravura as ever, but too much pressure and spreading just above the upper passaggio in louder moments makes one fear a bit for her technical health.
Florez, in this particular performance, shows a tendency toward sharpness; but the elegant line, sensitive phrasing, and unerring style are all there.
Corbelli and Palmer are marvelous, as expected. It's gratifying to have on film a performance by Corbelli in a language other than his native Italian--he has excellent command of French, as well as German and English, which not many in the business are aware of. Dawn French, in the non-singing role of the Duchess of Krakenthorp (sp?) elicits guffaws of "Olympic" proportions (that's an inside joke; you have to watch the DVD to get it).
I'm sorry I can't compare this production with the other Florez "Fille" (the one with Ciofi), but I'll leave that to someone who has seen both. I can, however, heartily recommend this one.