Top positive review
23 people found this helpful
Beautiful Music, Hilarious Comedy, Brilliant Staging
on 1 June 2010
Before I had the money to attend Operas, I watched several dozen different productions on VHS. For the past few years, I have been deciding which ones I want on DVD. When I saw that this Metropolitan Opera production, featuring the volatile but brilliant Kathleen Battle was finally being released on DVD, memories of my first viewing, almost twenty years ago, came flooding back.
1) Ralf Weikert's conducting is my favorite; this includes several recordings and a Metropolitan Opera production my wife and I attended on October 2009.
2) Kathleen Battle may be physically attractive but, her voice enormously eclipses her looks. She is irresistible to listen to and handles comic acting much better than most singers.
3) Leo Nucci is, for me, the definitive Figaro. His voice is crystal clear, his acting superb and conveys an ethereal puppeteer like quality, as his fine and broad strokes influence all of the action.
4) Enzo Dara's Doctor Bartolo is a performance for the ages. Threatening one moment, sidesplittingly hilarious the next, when he takes the stage, you can't take your eyes off of him.
I don't want to beat the issue to death so, suffice it to say, everyone else, from Blake's Almaviva to di Franco's Berta are wonderful. The set must be seen to be believed. The DVD transfer is very good, although slightly betraying its VHS roots.
Great comic operas should be performed with the sole purpose of making the audience laugh. Too much reverence for the music or the roles, can create very stilted productions. No chance of that here. Order it and enjoy! It's funnier than most of the comedic films being made these days!