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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 22 November 2012
I simply cannot recommend this production more - it is a classic; it is the bench-mark; yet it is already more than 30 years old, and not getting the deserved attention by DG.
In its 111 anniversary, what DG should have done is to re-issue the VHS version in 16:9 on blu-ray. This 4:3 DVD version of the original VHS has severe side-cuts that blemishes the visual impact not insignificantly.
I also disagree with DG's DVD lining and booklet - the focus, it seems, is SOLELY on Frederica von Stade, which is unjustified, since the cast is unanimously terrific, if not native English-speakers. Such unjustified Anglo-phile approach belittles the English-speaking race as a whole.
Solely from the performance level, von Stade is visually unsurpassed, for sure, but vocally, I would say that the other great American mezzo-soprano Joyce Didonato has surpassed von Stade in this role, as well as the Italian diva Cecilia Bartoli. However, both Didonato and Bartoli are not blessed with such a wonderful Ponnelle filmed extravaganza!
If you ask for the truly outstanding members of this wonderful cast, I would say that Don Magnificio and Prince Ramiro are the two unsurpassed members.
Paolo Montarsolo's Don Magnificio is, apart from the usual buffo meanness and selfishness that are often aligned for this role, a true flesh and blood character. He is lazy, he is mean, he is shallow, he is vainglory, he is...but he ALSO strikes as such a commonplace middle-class father of two good-for-nothing spoilt girls!
There are numerous Prince Ramiros both past and present that filled the market - from the good-old days to the recent bel canto prince Juan Diego Florez to the MET visual fiasco Lawrence Brownlee. However, none, absolutely none, has the vocal calibre, the physical charisma, the charming princely regal demeanour, of Francisco Araiza in this film.
Araiza was about 30 years old when this was filmed. An amazingly virile and florid Rossinian tenor (and of course in MANY other genres of vocal repertoire, too) at that time before he switched to other notable repertoires as well, his performance here really is an operatic masterclass for any tenor attempting this role.
Compared to him, Florez's timbre is at best described as 'tenorino'. And Florez does not own the superb acting capabilities of Araiza. While Ramiro is not as significant a role as compared to Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere, the two major scenes of Prince Ramiro are both incredibly dramatically effective and vocally incomparable.
This, in fact, is Araiza's fourth Ponnelle film in a row between the three years from 1977 to 1980.
This alone tells a lot about this scandalously underrated artist.
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on 21 January 2008
This is an enjoyable performance of a lively, colourful and comical opera based on the fairy tale Cinderella - complete with ugly sisters, Dandini and so on. The American mezzo Frederica von Stade makes a fetching Cinders, and the Mexican tenor Francisco Araiza is the handsome prince. It's a La Scala production conducted by Abbado and a jolly good show. But buyers should be aware that this is a film and not a stage performance. Therefore the singers are miming and - inevitably - slightly out of synch at times. When it comes to opera on DVD, I prefer to hear the creak of the floorboards and feel the heat of the crowd.
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on 1 December 2013
This DVD has Frederica Von Stade at her best with both her singing and her acting. Not just her as she sings with a cast of the highest musical quality. Not only is the music of the very best but the acting is also of high quality as facial expressions add depth and meaning to the music. Apart from Dandini, the valet, none of the other characters are the usual stock comic opera clowns. Montesoro as the Baron can say much with the raising of an eyebrow and, although in an essentially comic role, he expresses other emotions. Clorinda and Tisbe are anything but "ugly" sisters. Overdressed yes, but fully acting their parts as vain, selfish girls; Ponelle fully brings out their movement in emphasising this part of their characters. Even the chorus is full of individuals. Of course they sing together but movement and facial expressions tell us that each one is an important player in the opera. Ponelle's sets have come in for criticism as being "cardboard"; yes they are, and deliberately so. Often "authentic" locations distract from the music; here the sets make us fully concentrate upon it. For me the highlight of the opera is the sextet in act 2; filmed with the main characters in silhouette profile we become much more aware of the confusion that besets each one of them; I have never seen an ensemble realised better than this.
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on 19 December 2015
This has to be one of the greatest productions ever of an opera. Alright it's a film with lip synch but it is superbly done. Ponnelle's production is an all time classic, funny but with plenty of pathos. Abaddo conducts with more élan and fizz than he did on his audio recording and the cast is absolutely superb. Well acted, superbly sung and directed. To single anyone out would be an injustice but by the end if you're not hopelessly in love with Frederica von Stade then you're not human!
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on 12 March 2015
This is, in my opinion, a charming production of a delightful opera. On DVD I like my characters to look right as well as sound good, otherwise, stick to CD! Frederica von Stave is a pa.rticularly lovely Cenerentola as well as the beautiful mezzo we all know her to be. The whole cast is well chosen and the production riveting. It would make a great first opera for anyone wanting to give it a go!
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on 14 June 2014
This performance was spectacular. Enjoyed every minute and every aspect. Frederica von Stade has such integrity in her interpretation of Cinderella. She becomes her! And I love her voice - warm and and totally without any affectations. Truly a fairy tale princess! The prince also has a fabulous voice. In fact there isn't a weak link in the line up, either vocally or dramatically. Dandini never misses a moment to bring out the wit and humour! The father is wonderful too.... (don't want to miss anyone out ! including the directors who've done a wonderfully stylish job on the production) Can't recommend it more enthusiastically.
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on 10 June 2016
This is a very light hearted and joyful opera and the production reflects that and more. I'm not particularly keen on filmed opera but this one works well and would be a great introduction for a novice opera-goer. My other version has Cecilia Bartoli as "Cinderella" and I must say although her voice is excellent, I feel her expressions often overdone. On the other hand Frederica Von Sade has a wonderful and seemingly effortless voice and was a pleasure to watch. The rest of the cast is uniformly excellent and being a film, enables it to do far more with scenery etc than is possible in a staged version. One point in favour of filmed versions of opera is that we are not subjected to the reaction of the audience which in some cases spoils the effect especially when done at inappropriate moments!!! Of course, Claudio Abbado is exemplary.
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on 4 August 2009
La Cenerentola is one of my very favourite Rossini works and this filmed version is a special joy. It may not have the spontaneity of a live performance but, as a filmmaker & author, I found the visual treatment and the star performances to be a treat.
Highly recommended especially for those fans of filmed opera.
Brian Kavanagh
Capable of Murder
The Embroidered Corpse
Bloody Ham
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on 28 March 2014
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on 22 July 2013
This is just the most beautiful production of La Cenerentola and von Stade is the perfect Cenerentola.
I recommend it to anyone wanting to hear and see something extremely beautiful
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