Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but my personal preference is for the rival set with Ciofi and Florez, 23 Nov. 2011
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This review is from: Gaetano Donizetti - La Fille du régiment / Dessay, Florez, Palmer, Corbelli, French, Campanella, Pelly (Royal Opera House 2007) [DVD] [2008] [NTSC] (DVD)
This production has been generally well liked but there may be some aspects about the production that may worry some potential purchasers.

Perhaps the most controversial feature was the decision to cast Dawn French in the non-singing role of the Duchess of Crakentorp. Whatever one may feel towards such a role, the holder of such a social position would surely display far more subtlety than that shown by Dawn French who seems to go out of her way to portray the Duchess as a totally boorish character.

Dessay chooses to bring a particularly energetic approach to the role which she sings very accurately. This will not come as a great surprise to those who have seen her in other roles. Whether this approach to Marie appeals will be largely a matter of taste and there will be as many who find this funny as those who find it too hyperactive to be effective. Ciofi, on a rival set in my opinion, and I stress that it is a personal opinion, is far subtler in both her acting and range of vocal skill/expression. Florez takes the role of Tonio in both sets and is in equally fine voice on both occasions.

The recording of this issue is very fine. The imaging is crisp with involving camera work and the sound is presented in good quality surround and stereo formats. Providing that the Duchess of Crakentorp and Dessay's very energetic approach to the role of Marie are not areas of doubt, this issue will give pleasure and satisfaction.

However it is worth mentioning that there is choice available in an equally good recording. The rival set with Ciofi was reviewed in magazines such as The Gramophone as definitive when it was first issued only a few years ago. It is a great shame that it now seems to have been by-passed by this slightly more recent version. My personal preference is to buy the Ciofi set which I personally find to be more musical and therefore more enjoyable while being just as well recorded.

At the end it is all a matter of taste and either issue will appeal according to personal preference rather than more measurable criteria. My own personal view is that this is worth 4 stars and the Ciofi set is worth 5.
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