Customer Review

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great performance ruined by tricksy camerawork, 20 July 2013
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This review is from: Massenet's Werther (Jonas Kaufmann, Sophie Koch) [DVD] [2010] [NTSC] (DVD)
I seem to be adding to other comments here, but I had to put in my couple of penceworth. I was so looking forward to seeing this. I'm a big Massenet fan, and for me, Jonas Kaufmann is currently the best tenor around (apart from being astonishingly good-looking - in operatic terms at least). The production looked promising too, no crass updating or 're-imagining'.
Sadly, the whole thing is utterly spoilt by the decision to make the DVD more 'interesting' by whizzing the camera all over the place. I cannot begin to understand what the reason for this might be, unless it is fear of boring the viewer. TV directors seem to be in mortal fear of their audience's attention wandering, but not everyone has the attention-span of a goldfish, especially, I would think, an opera audience. The idea, surely, is to see what is going on on the stage, and get caught up in the 'world of the opera'. I want to see all of the opera as a performance on stage, not shots of the conductor or the orchestra (this slightly marred the otherwise excellent DVD of Turn of the Screw from Schwetzinger). Benoit Jacquot, or whoever was responsible for directing the DVD, not only gives us conductor and orchestra, but backstage shots of the cast out of character and disturbing shots of the stage action seen sideways on or at a jaunty angle to the stage, so that the piercingly blue sky of the act 1 set suddenly becomes black, and then changes back to bright blue.
I wanted to give this DVD many stars for the cast, which is excellent, and the production, which is meticulous and attractive, but I just cannot live with the tiresome tricksy camerawork. I'm going to get rid of my copy.
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