Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Donizetti - Don Pasquale|
Actors: Juan Diego Florez, Ruggero Raimondi, Isabel Rey, Oliver Widmer, Valeriy Murga
Director: Grischa Asagaroff
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Ernesto is in love with Norina and refuses to marry a more suitable woman chosen by his uncle, Don Pasquale.
The PCM Stereo audio is muffled
Noam Eitan | Brooklyn, NY United States | 02/08/2010
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I played this blue ray with the audio set on PCM stereo. The overture started with muffled orchestral sound. The upper and lower pitches were muffled and the tone of the orchestra was heavy on the upper bass or lower midrange. When Raimondi came on he sounded as if he was taped from a microphone placed in the audience - his voice was surrounded by enough air to sound a little distant. That in itself wasn't a problem, but in the duets his voice was not distinct enough because of the lack of clarity and that was annoying. I have heard Florez live countless times and have most of his recordings. When he came on I realized his voice, as well as the sound of everyone and everything else had no bloom and I gave up. This is a botched audio job. The recording engineer is listed as one Wilhelm Zürrer; maybe he should better be named Tsures. I don't see anyone complaining about the audio in the reviews of the DVD version, so I'm a bit miffed. Your mileage may vary - my stereo setup is "high-end" and the higher you go up the audio food chain the more imperfections become clear, but this audio really sucks big time, it's not so subtle.
Poor Audio on this Blu Ray
R. Kreutzer | 02/20/2010
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I listened to this Blu Ray for the second time yesterday, thinking I give it another try but I did not finish it. I am disappointed with the audio of this recording. I have never seen or heard Don Pasquale before, so I have no reference to compare it to, and I normally enjoy Florez, Raimondi and Widmer. But here I feel like hearing it from row 24 and under the balcony yet visually sit in row 1. No difference between stereo and surround recording. The singers are always too far away from the front mics and although you can see a mic on Florez, the audio engineer seems to have forgotten to turn it on. I have Bellini's Beatrice di Tenda and Strauss' Simplicius from the Zurich Opera House and they sound both a lot better than this. Strange how Decca can do an outstanding Barber of Seville and then this. The fact that the orchestra and the chorus are recorded somewhat better makes it even worse to listen to. Not recommended."
Florez is stunning
figaro | Eugene, OR United States | 05/19/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This video would fall into a two or three star category were it not for the amazing vocal technique of Juan Diego Florez. Somehow, this singer who was always great, is even better than ever. He seems to be giving even more attention to delivering a variety of vocal color, which makes his somewhat bleating-style voice ever so appealing. He's just wonderful.
The production is by turns tasteful and lovely, and then crass and embarrassing. Some crassness might be understood for the era they are using as a setting and the idea they are trying to underscore of 'old' versus 'new' (and young), but it's taken way too far. The Andy Warhol-style portrait of Florez is just frightening. Besides, does Norina really get the house completely redecorated in one day? It doesn't work, and Pasquale's teddy bears are embarrassing. The story is on the edge of believable as it is, so it needs to be delivered with care so as not to become foolish.
I enjoyed Raimondi very much - it's a beautiful voice as always although a little lighter than one might wish for. I differ from some of the other reviewers in that I found him reasonably funny. Oliver Widmer is a good singer, although again the director annoyingly has him groping at his own sister for much of the show. He's a DOCTOR, for goodness' sake. How could he have a medical career and be that creepy? Anyway, the big duet between the doctor and Pasquale seems to absolutely thrill the audience and it was a highlight of the show. Widmer's voice is neither beautiful, nor ugly - more like pleasant, and somewhat interesting. Isabel Rey is an enjoyable singer but I would prefer a more bell-toned soprano for Norina. Rey has a darkness to her middle register, plus her high notes are not as easy as one would like. I would prefer to hear her in other operas.
*****PLEASE NOTICE THE FOLLOWING*****
The sound is not at all ideal on the video. On my plain old 2-channel stereo system, the orchestra is too far to the front, and the singers are in a cave. I tried both sound tracks and it was the same. However, when I played it on my computer with again only 2-channel available, but software to touch up the sound, basically by taking out the ambience, it was much better. I was going to give the video three stars until I heard it on my pc. Still, four stars is a bit of a stretch, and they really all go to Florez. Please consider this before purchasing. If I had only to go on my first experience of hearing this video, I would not recommend it as worth the money due to the sound quality, but if you have a system where you can tinker with the sound quality and environment, you should be okay.
It's rarely worth it to buy an opera video for just one singer, but in this case, unless they give us another Pasquale with Florez in it, if you have any appreciation of this tenor, you might just want to buy this one.
If you are trying to decide between this one and the one with Corbelli in the title role, I can only remind you that that one has a very fine tenor in it also, Eva Mei is everything a Norina should be, plus the production is sweet and tasteful. For your first Pasquale video, the Corbelli one is the best choice, IMHO."
DONIZETTI-TOP PROFESSIONAL COMPOSER
drkhimxz | Freehold, NJ, USA | 05/05/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A professional composer of opera must be like a professional songwriter of popular music: what the situation requires, he or she can write. A TOP professional can write it very well. Whether any given professional is GREAT or a GENIUS, is a matter for individual judgment which, frankly, does not much matter to me. Donizetti is one of the supreme examples of top professional writing. This Don Pasquale is one more proof that his music gives the audience what it has a right to expect for a given plot. While the comedy situation may be stale, the production was not. Played and sung by a fine cast, perhaps the female lead had to try too hard to be comedic, it is a delightful evening of opera. Florez does perform as a star should but he does not diminish the other male singers. The updating is well-done and harmonizes well with the action, the scenic design is colorful and a definite plus for the production. There is some imbalance between orchestra and singers but not sufficient to mar ones overall enjoyment. Whether or not there is an undercurrent of cruelty as some reviewers mention is a matter of taste; familiarity with the opera has, perhaps, led me to be blind to anything but the fun. As I recall the literature on humor, cruelty, if one wants to call it that, is a fundamental element underlying all "funny" situations. My advice is to take everything here as "let's pretend" and leave depth analysis to others."