This Glyndebourne production of 'Gianni Schicchi' is a success of the highest kind. Sets, costumes, especially the almost choreographed stage action, the marvelous playing of the London Philharmonic under Vladimir Jurowski (a conductor I am growing to admire more and more) and particularly the marvelous singing actors portraying all ten major characters in this Falstaff-inspired ensemble opera are all simply wonderful. The big numbers - Rinuccio's 'Firenze è come un albero fiorito' sung by tenor Marcello Giordano and Lauretta's 'O mio babbino caro' sung by soprano Sally Matthews - are woven into the fabric of the action rather than being staged as numbers per se. And they are sung beautifully. But most important is the fabulous ensemble work that includes such Glyndebourne stalwarts as Felicity Palmer and Marie McLaughlin as Zita and La Ciesca, and the other singers are just as good.
This production was given just a year ago - in July 2004 - and was part of an oddly appropriate double bill. The other opera, Rachmaninov's 'The Miserly Knight' (sometimes called 'The Covetous Knight') was not only composed in roughly the same time period (early 20th century) but has greed as a common theme. I will be reviewing the just-released DVD of that release a shortly. But if it's anything like this production it will be a winner.
This is easily the best overall production of 'Gianni Schicchi' I've ever seen and I recommend it enthusiastically.
TT=74 minutes; includes extras: interviews with stage director Annabel Arden, conductor Jurowski, baritone Alessandro Corbelli (the wonderful Schicchi); a narrated and illustrated synopsis; a gallery of pictures of the cast. Sound: Stereo or DTS surround sound (and the sound is quite good). Subtitles in English, German, French, Spanish and Italian.