Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Barber of Seville - Rossini / The Netherlands Opera|
Actors: David Malis, Jennifer Larmore, Alberto Zedda
Director: Dario Fo
Genres: Comedy, Musicals & Performing Arts
For his first opera production, Dario Fo, the theatre director known for his brilliant wit, chose to stage Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia sung in Italian for the Netherlands Opera. First mounted in 1987, it was a huge s... more »
An original approach, unfairly maligned
Frederick | San Francisco | 08/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It saddens me to see that so many people have written negative reviews of this performance, which I consider to be one of the best opera videos currently available. It's not a traditional production -- indeed, we're probably never going to see anything like this again -- but isn't that the whole point? This production is unique, maybe even infuriating at times, but it never stops being interesting. I also happened to find it incredibly entertaining.It helps that there is some amazing singing by Jennifer Larmore, who has a rich mezzo voice with ringing top notes, and who handles the difficult vocal writing with ease. She even looks like the ideal Rosina -- youthful but alluring. The rest of the singers are less amazing, although Richard Croft does a good job with the part of Almaviva, and the late, great Renato Capecchi (who in his prime sang Figaro, but here, just a few years before he died, sings Bartolo) is very characterful.It also helps that this performance is conducted by Alberto Zedda, THE living Rossini scholar, who coaxes the orchestra into providing energetic playing that alternates easily between the vigorous and the gentle, just as Rossini ordered.The sound is actually quite fine, notwithstanding some other reviewers' (inconsistent) complaints about overmiking or undermiking. Yes, it's true that you can often hear the shuffling of feet on stage, but I've never been to a opera performance where there isn't a noticeable amount of stage noise -- it's part of the live opera experience! Perhaps the "Professor" and others below who found this stage noise problematic are used to hearing (or seeing) only souped-up studio recordings of opera. If so, then that is very unfortunate. In this case, the rhythmic footsteps of the dancers are supposed to be a part of the performance, and they are far less intrusive than the coughers and cellophane-candy-unwrappers that one would encounter at any live opera performance.The criticism that baffles me the most, however, is the complaint that there is too much motion and action on the stage in this performance. As far as I can tell, the whole idea behind this production is the key concept that rhythm and perpetual motion are at the very heart of Rossini's music. Incredibly, one negative reviewer below even goes so far as to assert that "all action needs to stop when a singer launches an aria, or during an ensemble." This has got to be one of the most crabbed and narrow-minded conceptions of opera that I have ever read. I, for one, am glad that the days of the old "stand and deliver"-style of opera performance have faded away, and that a performance like this (the very opposite of "stand and deliver") could have been made and preserved on DVD."
Great use of a new technology
gioacchino | Farmington, CT USA | 10/31/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wow! I have over 100 recordings of opera on commercial vhs, but this was the first opera I have ever bought on DVD and boy am I glad that this was the choice. The picture is stunning in quality and the sound brilliant in clarity, crispness, and warmth. The score is performed brilliantly at the hands of Zedda, a Rossini expert, and I was left with nothing but tears of happiness after listening to this recording! A great value for those looking for operatic pleasure at its finest!!"
A real Dario Fo comedy
H.P.F. Ariaans | the Netherlands | 10/30/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you like Commedia del Arte, this is an opera for you. Dario Fo makes it impossible not to enjoy it. On stage there happens so much and sometimes so funny that you nearly forget to listen to the opera"
A lot more fun than you might think
email@example.com | 03/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The first video Barber of Seville I saw was a VHS with Cecilia Bartoli. So I was scared off by some of the reviews below. Having watched it, I agree with another review: the negative reviews are unfair.True, early on the movements are distracting and there are moments where the crowd noise is a problem. But like any good drama, this staging draws you in. After the first scene or so, the extra action really adds to the production. If you like a static production where the singers just stand around and sing, then, no, you won't like this one. But if you like action that creates a grand spectacle, than you will experience this production more positively. On the whole, it works. I'm no expert in operatic historiography, but this production FEELS right for the genre.I'm also no expert in singing, but the music in this production sounds fine to me.As with "sinyung" I'm giving this 5 stars since it is "so much fun." I burst out laughing numerous times. Isn't that what a great comedy is to do? Yes, there are occasional flaws, but they are more than outweighed by the positive aspects."