Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Geatano Donizetti - Don Pasquale / Ciofi Alaimo Shankle Giossi Suisse Romande Pido |
Grand Theatre de Geneve 2007
Actors: Patrizia Ciofi, Simone Alaimo, Norman Shankle, Marzio Giossi, Evelino Pido
Directors: Daniel Slater, Don Kent
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Hugely entertaining Don Pasquale
Barry J. James | Honolulu, Hawaii United States | 05/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having been very satisfied with the DVD of Don Pasquale from the Zurich Opera that I had recently purchased (see review on this website), I was surprised to see another new version advertised from the Grand Theatre in Geneva with Patrizia Ciofi appearing as Norina. As Miss Ciofi has recently become a great favorite of mine, I decided to go ahead and acquire this latest one.
I was slightly disappointed that the overture with Evelino Pido conducting the Suisse Romande Orchestra did not have the subtlety or exuberance that Nello Santi was able to achieve in Zurich but, as soon as the cameras were turned on the stage, I knew that this was going to be a fascinating and entertaining couple of hours viewing pleasure. The gradual forming of the opening set took place as the overture was ending and, instead of being set in Pasquale's home the location was a restaurant/bar with seats and tables on the sidewalk. The major elements of the stage set remained unchanged throughout the entire opera but clever accessories and furnishings which were changed in full view of the cameras during the performance, successfully transformed the street scene into the bachelor's residence of Don Pasquale, then the outrageously modern and refurbished interior created by the new woman of the house (Norina) and finally to an exterior courtyard of the same villa. The stylish fashions of the chorus and extras, in tones of black, white and gray in the first couple of acts, have been done before but perhaps never so pleasingly. The change to colorful sets and costumes in the latter part of the opera created a huge contrast to what had gone before.
Simone Alaimo, as Don Pasquale, appeared not as the senile fool as in some other versions but as a sprightly, and certainly not elderly, bachelor who probably regretted never having married and was a little envious of the many couples he seemed to see everywhere. Norina was also presented as a fashionable, extrovert, and attractive young woman able to charm everyone she came in contact with, and she seemed to be very successful financially. It was great to see an African American singer Norman Shankle take the romantic lead role of Ernesto and, while his voice may not be able to compete with that of Juan Diego Florez (and is there anyone who can at the moment), it was very pleasant and, teamed with his acting and presence on stage, complemented the remainder of the ensemble who all performed and sang extremely well.
I liked this version enormously; the singing and acting of all the participants was very good without having to resort to comical caricatures. The sets, costumes and wigs were extremely stylish and appropriate for this updated version of this work. Maybe the orchestra could have shown a little more restraint on occasion as not everything needed to be played so forcibly, however, summing up - good audio and video, highly recommended, great fun, and hugely enjoyable.
Original staging and production is highly entertaining...Fiv
P. Sutherland | Berea, Ohio, USA | 10/21/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This updated production of Don Pasquale is refreshingly original, with a colorful set and entertaining use of the chorus. Simone Alaimo's great comic performance as Don Pasquale is the highlight of the show. Marzio Giossi's novel and expressive Dr. Malatesta, a psychiatrist, also earns high marks.
The first time I watched this, I thought Patrizia Ciofi's voice sounded washed out and I gave this opera only four stars. After viewing it a second time, I changed my mind--too late as I can't give it another star. She sounded her usual clear and powerful self, with nothing held back.
Norman Shankle as Ernesto sang well enough but he was the least animated actor of the production, dwarfed by the comic antics of the other players.
I love this opera and this production does it full justice. Recommended!!!
Michael Beals | Los Angeles, CA USA | 06/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This disc is featured by Gramophone Magazine as "Editor's Choice" in DVD for the Month of July!"