Customer Review

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A performance and recording that amounts to a very special audio-video experience, 21 Nov 2011
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This review is from: Mozart - Le Nozze Di Figaro [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
This production and performance of Le Nozze di Figaro recorded in 2006 at the Royal Opera is, arguably, as close to perfection as anyone has the right to dream of.

There are so many superlatives that it is almost too difficult to know where to start. However, one must try ...! To start with, the production by David MacVicar is one of his most inspired, brimming over with good humour, drama and relevant incidental detail that add considerably to the suspension of belief so essential and critical to any stage production. In this production every single character comes alive before our very eyes and with total credibility. This is a notable achievement and needs to be recognised and applauded.

The cast are uniformly excellent and are all in fine voice and, most importantly, are of that generation that can really act as if in real life rather than acting that they are acting as so often used to occur. Clearly the current generation of singers represented here have been properly taught to act as well as sing and additionally, to be very camera aware. Consequently we, the home audience, benefit from this adjusted emphasis within training apparent in so many recorded performances. These are true singer/actors and in this production they are a particularly gifted team that gels from the first to the last moment. This summary also applies to the excellent chorus. Throughout the performance one is aware that the audience is fully engaged with much amusement to be heard at the appropriate times as well as spontaneous and enthusiastic applause at points such as the countess's fine `Dove sono' in act 3 to mention but one such moment.

To expand - Edwin Schrott and Miah Person make an ideally matched Figaro and Susanna. The same can be said for the coupling of Philip Langridge and Graciela Araya as Dr. Bartolo and Marcellina while Jonathan Veira provides a highly amusing Bartolo. The highly experienced Gerald Finley is a strong but properly misguided and repentant Almavira and Dorothea Roschmann gives the countess a greater dignified authority than often occurs and therefore is shown to be the correct wife for the count. Rinat Shaham delivers a youthfully inexperienced but lustful Cherubino and seems well partnered finally by the Barbarina of Ana James.

The orchestra is in excellent form and the whole production sparkles under the forward and attentively detailed conducting of Antonio Pappano.

The recording is very well captured with crisp and detailed imaging that is fully involving without being invasive. Enough space is allowed to enable the production to breathe and not to become claustrophobic in visual effect. The sound is excellent and is presented in 5.0 surround sound as well as stereo.

There is an interesting booklet that contains an essay by MacVicar. The extras also feature short interviews with MacVicar, Pappano and principal cast members as well as an illustrated synopsis and the usual cast gallery typical of Opus Arte productions.

To conclude, I would suggest that this disc offers a performance and recording that amounts to a very special audio-video experience indeed and one that is likely to give a great number of purchasers considerable satisfaction, enjoyment and musical reward.

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Comments

Tracked by 1 customer

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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 18 Feb 2014 22:17:06 GMT
R A DALE says:
I bought this dvd on the strength of the reviews, and found the singing and playing as excellent as so described. The production, however, is pedestrian at least to this viewer, not helped by film cuts that more than once shift from the main singer to minor actors during significant musical moments. Filming staged opera always suffers from this tension, where opting between close-ups and the wider stage is always a problem, i.e. it is seldom good cinema. The worst aspect of this production, however, is that the sound recording of the singers is uneven, varying in its distance to the singer so that the voice is often in and out of the foreground. And while one reviewer to whom I responded found strength in the acting, for me, I only saw an exaggeration verging on silent screen posing, i.e. silliness.
The return to realism in opera is surely a backward step in light of the important advances that theatre has made in technical innovations, multiplicity of forms and conceptual understanding. And its doesn't have to be an expensive production to achieve profundity.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Feb 2014 09:04:06 GMT
I. Giles says:
Thank you for your comments which, I would hope, will add a further dimension for potential purchasers to consider. I was going to suggest that you might like to consider writing up your own views in the form of a review but I see that you have already done that! My further suggestion therefore is that you might consider adding further reviews for readers to consider based on your own clear perspectives. Meanwhile, you might like the version conducted by Gardiner with Gilfry and Hagley etc. despite its age and attendant recording compromises. Best wishes, Ian Giles.
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I. Giles
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Location: Argyll, Scotland

Top Reviewer Ranking: 13