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Le Comte Ory: Orchestra La Scintilla (Tang) [DVD] 
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Cecilia Bartoli stars in this production of Rossini's comic opera of medieval lust and chastity conducted by Muhai Tang. While the Count of Formoutiers is away in the crusades, his sister Adèle is pursued by the libidinous Comte Ory. Ory attempts to gain access to Adèle disguised first as a hermit, then as a nun, but his plans are foiled by his page Isolier, who has also fallen in love with Adèle. Javier Camarena co-stars with the music provided by the Orchestra La Scintilla.
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Musically it’s superb. The Orchestra La Scintilla (Opernhaus Zurich’s resident period-instrument band) play thrillingly for conductor Muhai Tang and the chorus sing with tremendous gusto. Javier Camarena as Ory sings brilliantly. He’s (almost) a match for Juan-Diego Florez but a much better actor. Definitely a major talent to watch out for. Cecilia Bartoli is in her element as Adele. As well as singing superbly, she displays enormous skill as a comedienne – for example getting more comedy out of dropping her handbag than the Met managed in a whole evening. I was lost in admiration for the way she sang her beautiful Act 1 aria “En proie a la tristesse” with a straight face given what Camarena was up to just behind her - and around her - and underneath her! The other roles are also done very well - I especially enjoyed Rebeca Olvera's slightly Cherubino-esque Isolier and Liliana Nikiteanu's Ragonde. The three-in-a-bed scene is tricky to stage effectively, but it's particularly well realised here.
Sound and pictures are superb. Technical details: LPCM 24-bit stereo and DTS-HD Master Audio Surround.
I can’t praise this highly enough. The whole thing has a tremendous exuberance sadly lacking in the other versions, and proves what a masterpiece of sparkling comedy this opera can be in the right hands.
Javier Camarena plays a good part and has a nice clear tenor voice which I find quite enjoyable. In act one he is operating from a caravan in front of the village.
His page Isolier sung by Rebecca Olvera, is I think meant to be a french soldier, whilst also being page to Le Comte Ory. She does a good job in this trouser role.
Ugo Guagliardo a base baritone is the governor to the Comte, he has a reasonable voice , but a bit lacking in depth, his character portrayal is fine.
Cecilia Bartoli is as ever vocally excellent, and is the reason that I bought this version. She initially is looking like a prim and proper secretary, and the scene within the caravan is very well presented, She has a good sense of comedy which she displays as the Comte brings her out of her shell.
Act two is in the castle, the drawing room is equipped with comfortable chairs and settees. The ladies are relaxing in negligees and dressing gowns, curlers in their hair and hairnets are De Rigeur.
I just realised that I have not mentioned Liliana Nikiteanu, who as Ragonde, Bartolis companion has a pleasant mezzo, and a sense of fun.
The ladies chorus also has a pleasing sound, and following on the gentlemen Nuns chorus is something of a minor highlight.
A small word of warning. if you are susceptible to strobe lighting there is a short sequence at the end of the thunderstorm, only a minute or two.
In this last act Camarena has plenty of opportunity to display his light clear tenor, and enhance his performance with a good range of facial expressions.
To put this in perspective, The singers are very much on a par with the Glyndebourne with Marc Laho and Annick Massis, but for inventive staging and comedy the Glyndebourne is half a star ahead. The Metropolitan Opera with Florez is a non starter in the race, Florez looks uncomfortable and the Director has not realised it is opera buffa.
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Her marvelous vocal technic and super stage attractions always
give audience unforgettable impression. Brava diva.