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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the very best to match the differently outstanding Royal Opera/McVicar production, 9 Mar 2012
By 
I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This performance from 2009 is a new production of the opera by Emilio Sagi and is of the full non-cut version of the opera. This is important as it makes sure that the original balance of the composition as conceived by Mozart is retained with all characters fully drawn by the appropriate recitatives and arias. This desire for completeness was very important to Sagi and conductor Lopez Cobos as they individually explain in the accompanying bonus interview.

This approach extends to the staging which is not only generous in its sumptuousness but also manages to create a great sense of 3D. This is done through imaginative and frequent use of intermediate gauze curtaining beyond which relevant action continues supplementing that of the foreground. The fine costuming continues these themes of historically accurate and generous detailing.

In summary therefore it would be fair to state that this is a remarkably satisfying feast for the eyes and the senses in terms of staging.

Great attention has been brought to bear on the roles of all the characters seen on the stage at any one time and also wherever positioned both in terms of drama and stage depth. These roles never cease to act their parts fully in character even when not the prime focus of attention, thus giving a great boost to the continuing sense of reality. This was a prime aim of the director and in that he totally succeeds. He also has firmly established the various connections with Seville by underlining Mozart's inclusion of the Fandango which would have been known to both the Count and the Countess as well as Figaro. (See Rossini's Barber of Seville).

Musically this is a first rate production with characterful singing of accuracy delivered by everyone without exception. Tezier, as the Count, gives the most impressive performance I have ever seen from him largely because he is so fully inside the part that he is able to rise beyond the notes and is really able to communicate to those on stage throughout. He is ably supported by Barbara Frittoli as the Countess, now ten years older than when she gave a wonderful rendition of Mrs Ford, a Merry Wife of Windsor, in the Royal Opera's production of Verdi's Falstaff. At this point in the story she is just about the correct age to be believably paired with Tezier as his wife.

Luca Pisaroni is also outstanding as the rather naïve, young Figaro partnered by Isabel Rey as Susanna, his new wife, and claimed by Jeannette Fischer as Marcellina, ultimately revealed as his long-lost mother. Both sing and act their parts with all the skill resulting from years of operatic experience. However, as the clarity of the excellent recording only makes too clear, both of these women are about the same age as each other and certainly much more advanced in years as the much younger groom/son they covet. This, in a production that aims at such veracity of detail, may seem a little odd to some while others will not consider it a matter of importance especially as their roles are otherwise so well done. All the other parts are taken and delivered with equal commitment and complete conviction, and I include the many non-singing roles.

The recording provides excellent DTS-HD sound as well as stereo and reveals the excellence of the orchestra and the many orchestral details so frequently brought out by Lopos Corbos under his exhilarating musical direction. The visual recording is in the same league with crisp and accurate camera work. Technically we seem to be moving into a new era of technical excellence as this is not the only such example that I have been fortunate enough to experience lately.

This outstanding issue must surely please a great number of people for a great deal of the time. In my opinion it would be less than just to award less than the full 5 stars, so well done Teatro Real for yet another fine recording on your new `own' label.

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Some dialogue from the comments section that may offer further help:

A feast for the eyes, but.....
When listening with headphones I sometimes noticed a slight roar or humming. Of course it's not loud, but in quiet passages(recitatives e.g.) a bit annoying.
Anyone else who has noticed that? (U.K. review)

I have not tested this issue in that way but the Shostakovich 5 on EuroArts clearly picks up the air conditioning low rumble which is particularly distracting in all quiet passages - and there are many. I shall check this issue with headphones when I have the chance but my sub woofer goes down to 13hz and would normally detect this sort of problem.
Ian Giles

You can hear it best in the first two acts. Afterwards it gradually decreases.
Air conditioning, yes, it sounds plausible. The recording was made in July, at that time it can be pretty hot in Madrid. (U.K. review)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very fine disc, 27 Feb 2012
By 
John Chandler (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
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I am no expert on this opera with its somewhat typical-for-the-period involved tale of love and betrayal, but this is a very fine disc. Produced by the same mob that did the excellent Barber of Seville, it is traditional with just a touch of modern clean lines here and there. The cast are outstanding and just about everyone looks the part. The short interview doco is very interesting and overall this is an outstanding contribution to opera on BD. No need to hesitate
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great all round performance, 1 Nov 2014
By 
I. Zaneres (west midlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mozart: Le Nozze Di Figaro (Teatro Real: TR97002DVD) [2011] (DVD)
The opening sequence whilst the overture is playing looks through a window centre stage at the comings and goings of the Counts household. I felt immediately that something special was afoot.
The sets are appropriate, not extravagant but quite impressive, from the big windows in The Countess bedroom with sunlight pouring in, to the dark garden with mistaken identities in the gloom, all make for interesting viewing.
The costumes all look in period, brightly coloured but not garish for the servants and mainly black and white for the four main protagonists.
The acting is excellent, lots of interaction and byplay keep ones attention, Antonio with his plantpots for instance.
The orchestra and continuo are crisp and well balanced to the singers.
Now to the singers, Luca Pisaroni and Isabel Rey are a very animated pair of lovers, Pisaroni has a rich baritone whilst Rey is a ringingly clear soprano.
Marcellina and Bartolo are not presented as buffoons either in dress or characterisation, but have just the right level of eccentricity. Fischer has a great voice and in her act 4 aria gets deserved appreciation. Chausson is also a good character singer. The pair are far more credible than in other performances that I have seen.
The same can also be said of Basilio, sung by Gimenez another spot on performance.
Tezier makes a wickedly scheming Count, and portrays his changes of mood with expertise both in action and voice, a good looking chap too.
Comparato is a nicely laddish Cherubino, does up quite nicely as a girl too in the presentation scene. Another good voice.
Cardoso in the small but pleasant role of Barbarina has another first class voice, very sweet on the ear.
Antonio the gardener, played by Sola has but a small voice role, and a small part to play, but provides some well timed amusement, watch him in the background, his mannerisms amuse me.
Perhaps I should not have kept Barbara Frittoli till last, but I am a bit biased, she is one of the named that I look out for. I first heard her as Liu in Turandot, and have been hooked ever since, her voice has matured and become fuller in the lower register, and here as the sad and much neglected Countess is absolutely wonderful. She too has some amusing moments, particularly in the bedroom scene, lots of hand signals and bewilderment.
The two disc set has an extra about the opera, the subtitles are needed, but it fell a bit flat.
The booklet has small print, sometimes gold on dark background for the listings and is not read easily, this also applies to the act arias and timings, but they are detailed.. The background notes and synopsis, act by act, are however informative and quite interesting.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars this is a very fine production, 26 Feb 2013
This review is from: Mozart: Le Nozze Di Figaro (Teatro Real: TR97002DVD) [2011] (DVD)
What a nice refreshing change, a production of a period opera which is actually set in the period! The director, Emilio Sagi, should be applauded for dedication to the story without over the top gimmicks, such as in Claus Guth's recent production from Salzburg, which for me, was spoilt by the inclusion of a `Cherub' directing the events of the day! In fact the only departure from the original is the inclusion of castanets in the dance scene, and since the action takes place in Spain, you can forgive this, they are not that distracting anyway!
Of recent productions, Guth's production probably has the finest cast, which is led by Nettrbko, Skovhus, Roschmann and Schafer, although I still like Oliver Mille's Paris production with Bryn Terfel and Alison Hagley. Of the cast of this present production only Barbara Frittoli is a name I recognise, but don't let that put you off, as here is a cast which can stand toe to toe with any. All the major roles are expertly sung, Ludovic Tezier stands out in the role of the Count trying to have his wicked way with Isabel Rey's Susanna. With Luca Pisaroni's portrayal of Figaro being strong and spirited, strong performances also from Frittoli as the Countess and Marina Comparato as Cherubino, but it is the ensemble work which stands out here, the interplay between the characters is superb. The orchestral playing is also very fine with Jesus Lopez Cobos teasing out every nuance of Mozart's wonderful score.
The direction of the televised performance is good, although there are a couple of long shots which could have been tighter on the singers, the sound quality is also good and well balanced. As an extra we get a short documentary, "A Perfect Opera?" which is superfluous in my opinion, once watched, I doubt you will give it a second viewing!
So to sum up, this is a very fine production, well staged, well acted and beautifully sung, one which I have no hesitation if strongly recommending!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding production, 29 Oct 2013
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Superb performance, stage and musical direction, and magnificent voives! Gorgeous historical costumes, wonderful light and shadow effects. One of the best Nozzes you can get.

5/5
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