- Actors: Gerald Finley, Alison Hagley, Renee Fleming, Andreas Schmidt
- Directors: Stephen Medcalf, Derek Bailey
- Writers: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
- Format: Colour, Full Screen, PAL, Subtitled, HiFi Sound
- Language: Italian
- Subtitles: English, German, French
- Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Classification: Exempt
- Studio: NVC Arts
- DVD Release Date: 25 Oct. 1999
- Run Time: 189 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B00004CYO6
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,702 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) -- Glyndebourne [DVD]  
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Mozart's operatic comedy of errors is given a new production by Stephen Medcalf as part of the Glynebourne Festival. Bernard Haitink conducts.
Mozart's immortal adaptation of Beaumarchais' satirical tale has always been a Glyndebourne staple, so it was appropriate that this delightfully traditional production of Le Nozze di Figaro was chosen to reopen a refurbished Gyndebourne in May, 1994. Here, John Gunter's set design is airy and uncluttered, leaving the actors plenty of breathing space, while director Stephen Medcalf likewise allows the characters to speak (and sing) for themselves. Gerald Finley's Figaro and Alison Hagley's Susanna make a charming central pairing; Renee Fleming and Andreas Schmidt are a formidable aristocratic duo, while Marie-Ange Todorovitch fills Cherubino's trousers with pleasing playfulness. Haitink and the London Philharmonic sparkle, as of course they should. Unfussily filmed, this is as close to the real thing as you are likely to get without a Glyndebourne season ticket.
On the DVD: This is a double-sided disc requiring a changeover between Acts 2 and 3. With a running-time of 189 minutes, the disc is no longer than some epic Hollywood movies, so such flipping is hard to justify. But at least opera lends itself to natural breaks like this. The sound options are Dolby stereo or 5.1 and the picture is in 4:3 ratio. Subtitles are provided in English, French or German and the booklet contains a plot synopsis. --Mark WalkerSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Given that this is a live performance, with scenes in semi-darkness, I'm astounded by the audio and video quality, even allowing for the fact the recording is 15 years old.
The production is just so good with no major weaknesses to my eyes & ears, that any minor imperfections, or I would have done that differently, just fade into insignificance. It really doesn't matter, this is so wonderful, enjoy.
All the four main characters are ideally cast: they sing well and look their roles. Alison Hagley (Susanna) - an attractive singer - is particularly delightful in her singing and acting. She is one of the best Susannas this reviewer has seen and listened to. Gerald Finley (Figaro) is excellent in characterization. Andreas Schmidt is a youthful Count, and Renee Fleming is a very good, if slightly mannered, Countess. The supporting cast is also very good.
Haitink's pacing is superb: he does not drive the music hard, giving the singers ample opportunities to sing the wonderfull tunes. One can just sit back and enjoy this comical masterpiece about feudal rights. One will get carried away by the genius of Mozart and da Ponte.
Both the picture quality and the stereo sound are excellent. The camera work is good, often focusing on singers in close-ups, but it does not get too obtrusive. This DVD is a bargain, as the recording (lasting three hours), which includes features about the cast and characters, is made on both sides of one DVD, thus relatively low price.
Alison Hagley as Susanna was delicious and her chemistry with Gerald Finley is one of the highlights. Their fight scene before "Pace, pace, mio dolce tesoro" is hilarious.
Andrea Schmidt as the Count was a bit too uptight, acting AND singing, and Renee Fleming, while in good form vocally, is not exactly the best acting Rosina.
Marie-Ange Todorovitch, on the other hand, absolutely shines as Cherubino.
I've read reviews about the production where the sets were portrayed as being unimaginative and too confining...I liked it. I thought it struck a good balance between a too sparse staging and a more traditional set where the eyes are pulled every which way.
The sound quality BITES. Compare it to the sound quality in John Gardiner's DVD with Alison Hagley and Bryn Terfel as Susanna and Figaro. Not even close.
Which leads me to suggest the Gardiner DVD as an alternative to this good but flawed disc. Of course, if you don't like Sir John's lively pacing of the score compared to Bernard's more deliberate approach, better sound quality might not exactly be a good thing.
By the way, I am basing my remarks on the Region One disc.
Now to the not so great bits. The staging is a bit dreary. Though it's adequate, that's about it. It's not very exciting or visually attractive and not very noteworthy.
The recording itself is the biggest let down. Not the greatest sound or recording quality with a few fuzzy and slightly muffled (though very few) bits. Perhaps if it was on VHS you would/could forgive the bad recording and sound quality but for a DVD it has no excuse. This makes me wonder why the DVD is double sided.
This is a great performance and i loved watching it. I just wish the recording was better and it would've gotten five stars in a heartbeat. Shame such magnificent artistry it let down by a few recording issues. Nevertheless for the £11/12 i would definitely recommend it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I find this an exceptional production of Figaro, both intimate and full of life and humour. Gerald Finlay is outstanding in the title role, his combination of charm and confidence... Read morePublished 9 months ago by John Le Sage
Love this performance - only drawback for me is poor subtitles I think you are expected to know the words and meaning of the actual main arias etc which sadly I don't .Published 9 months ago by Ian W
Beautiful,lively, thoroughly enjoyable production. Highly recommended.Published 11 months ago by Barrie Seymour
In a long life 100years this september have seen the marriage umpteen timesThought this well acted,well sung and thankfully well directed -can thoroughly recommendPublished 17 months ago by thomas davison
I love this version. I now have four versions of this opera and they all have something to commend them. The staging is simple but effective.Published 18 months ago by Khalmar