3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A studio "Figaro",
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This review is from: Mozart - Le Nozze Di Figaro (Bohm) [DVD]  (DVD)
A number of excellent DVD versions of Mozart's great opera are available on Amazon (my personal favourites are the two Glyndebourne performances, from the 70s and 90s respectively), but as far as I am aware, this is the only filmed "studio" performance. The direction is by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle and the sets and costumes are both ravishingly beautiful and conventional. The production is in fact resolutely traditional, apart from the fact that in some arias, we hear the characters' "thoughts" while the singers's lips remain closed; it's a nice idea, but as opera is hardly a realistic medium to start with, it all seems a bit pointless. Another odd moment (and I'm not sure that this isn't a fault) is that the film "freezes" for a few moments during the great sextet. Still, this is an excellent "Figaro "and from a musical point of view, it is outstanding.
Karl Böhm was one of the great Mozart conductors and his four principal singers could hardly be bettered, even if a couple of them appear a little long in the tooth for their parts in unforgiving close-up. The best performance comes from Mirella Freni as Susanna, but Kiri te Kanawa sings gorgeously as the Countess and Fischer-Dieskau is an aristocratic, slightly over-emphatic Count. Hermann Prey had one of the most beautiful baritone voices of his generation and he copes with ease of Figaro's low tessitura and endows the part with both geniality and passion. Maria Ewing is a suitably coltish Cherubino, while the supporting roles are in the capable hands and voices of a choice group of character singers, with Heather Begg and Paolo Montarsolo offering us a marvellously grotesque double act as Marcellina and Bartolo.
This is not a perfect "Figaro", but you would struggle to find a better cast and I defy anyone not to enjoy it!
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Initial post: 11 Jun 2014 12:00:11 BDT
This seems to be a review of a later Figaro with Bohm, not the 1966 Salzburg DVD with Grist, Watson Mathis etc and so seems to be in the wrong place: if so, check out the 66 DVD with Rennert's production. Well worth it.
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