2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
LADIES OF WONDER,
This review is from: Donizetti : Mary Stuart [DVD]  [NTSC] (DVD)
I do not often read other reviews before writing my own, but the one star grabbed my attention. The writer must have been unlucky, my copy plays fine on all six of my assorted machines.
The picture quality is average but it is a 1982 production. The sound is however very good. Costumes are beautiful in the case of the ladies, and the gentlemen splenidly attired. The sets are adequate but not inspired, and as dark as the plot.
I do not generally like libretti translated into english, but this is sympathetically done, I still like the subtitles on screen even though the diction is very good.
Rosalind Plowright gets the production off to a good start with a beautifull rounded voice. David Rendell light lyric tenor contrasts nicely with John Tomlinson as the main male leads.
Act two belongs to Janet Baker, her unique round voice produces some delightful deep notes contrasting with her coloratura in upper registers.
The quintet is a minor masterpiece, with some superb blending and juxtaposition of the voices. The confrontation of the Queens makes for great drama, Donizetti does not let history get in the way of a good story.
The three scenes of act three take us from Elizabeth signing the death warrant with encouragement from Cecil, Alan Opie. In the second scene Mary receives the warrant from Cecil and opens her soul. The final scene finds Mary begging forgiveness from heaven, and the beautiful aria with the choir is a highlight, a feast of aural beauty. The scene ends with Mary being led away.
The synopsis of the story is printed on the back of the sleeve with a list of chapter selections.