Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Gluck - Orphee et Eurydice / Kasarova Joshua York Bolton Munich Opera|
Actors: Ivor Bolton, Vesselina Kasarova, Deborah York
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Smorg | San Diego, CA, USA | 03/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Opera purists may dislike the staging and themes of this production by the Bayerische Staatsoper. But for the more theatrically flexible viewer, this is quite fantastic. The musical performance is simply glorious, kudos to the singers and superb conducting by Ivor Bolton.
Vesselina Kasarova is a rarity. If she ever comes to a city near you to sing you MUST go and see. She is totally in character as Orphee and is believeable in the male role. Her dark wistful timbre and affected singing and acting makes plain what range of emotions and despairs Orphee feels.
Kasarova can go from singing pianissimo to forte and vice versa at a moment notice without straining. Her chest notes are hauntingly nostalgic and her top free and beautiful... and beautifully controlled. In the 1st act her abrupt move from forte "vous que n'attendrit point la beaute" immediately to pp "la jeunesse," made the latter sound like an echo, which I find very effective dramatically. When Eurydice is lost, Orphee does a most wonderful float pianissimo on 'Malheureux, qu'ai-je fait!Et dans quel precipice?' that just seems to hover in the air over the stage. Positively haunting.
And what a virtuoso at coloratura. I have never heard a better performance of 'Amour viens rendre a mon ame' by anyone (Marilyn Horne sang an Italian version of it very well, but I prefer Kasarova's version). I can certainly hear her concert pianist side in the coloratura. It sounds so natural. I remember reading that Berlioz told the celebrated mezzo Viardot while coaching her prior to the debut of this opera that if she does the trills in this piece right she'd bring the house down to close Act I. Well... I can't imagine how Viardot could have done better than what Kasarova does here.
The lyric soprano Rosemary Joshua is very good as Eurydice, both in her singing and expressive acting. Joshua pairs very well with Kasarova in their Act III duets. They are both very convincing as Orphee and Eurydice.
Deborah York is a good L'Amour, tho curiously costumed as a clown..... I rather enjoy the humour of the choreography and York plays the part with a nicely light touch. She sings with a wonderfully light leggero voice and makes the coloratura sounds easy.
Ivor Bolton does a superb work of conducting. His tempo is a bit faster and very complimentary to the singers. He supports the singing at the right moment while playing at piano during most of the singing, which makes the opera work really well.
The chorus of the Bavarian State Opera is wonderful too! They are on stage a lot interacting with the leads. I love their rendition of 'Le Dieu de Paphos et de Gnide' that ends the opera proper.
All in all, I think this is a wonderful DVD. You don't even have to be an avid opera fan to enjoy it as it looks more like a stage play with the modern clothings and conceptualized staging (very untraditional). It is shorter than other production of Orphee et Eurydice. The final trio is cut and the whole thing is only about 1 1/2hrs long. The ending ballet is a bit silly and has a different ending than that of the opera that precedes it.
The use of modern orchestra makes this sound more modern and not all that Baroque. And even if you are an opera purists, you can just get it for the music (keep your eyes closed, if you must, but you'd be missing out on the convincing acting by Kasarova, Joshua and York). Highly recommended.
No extra with the DVD, tho... and the subtitle goes out of sync sometimes (Ex: it runs the second verse of 'Amour viens rendre' while Kasarova is repeating the first verse)."
San Franciscan | 08/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This production is the first time I've really understood the motivations in the Orpheus legend. I love the Haydn version with Cecilia Bartoli, but Orpheus comes across as a real dummy ("Gee, I hear a noise in the forest! Why don't I leave you all alone, here, honey, and go see what it is?") In this version, Vesselina Kasarova acts the role so well, and the music is so accomodating, that you begin to understand how the psychological torment wears Orpheus down. This is all on top of Vesselina Kasarova singing exquisitely-- she must surely be one of the two best mezzos on the scene today. (The Eurydice does a fine job -- no complaints.)
Those looking for a traditional performance with nymphs and shepherds in the Elysian Fields will be disappointed. However, the production is actually quite imaginative, with interesting touches when needed -- not just a set of blank walls or panels. The production is modernist, but without Euro-cliches (no raincoats or umbrellas, no gratuitous sexuality, no rolling on the floor). The plentiful goofy elements never take themselves too seriously. And Vesselina Kasarova was born to play this role-- with her strong jaw, she looks great in a tux (not like in "La Belle Helene," another great production, in which they get her so dolled up that she looks like a guy in drag!). Her big coloratura solo elicited a spontaneous round of applause when shown at my opera club-- this woman rules the stage.
Don't buy this looking for a fast-moving opera or traditional staging, but buy it if you cherish good singing, and if you're ready to be hypnotized and moved by a well-acted story."
Excellent! Wish the production was on par with the music.
jjbraham | Mexico D.F. | 10/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wonderful singing from all of the principals, and Kasarova is nothing short of spectacular! She has a great voice and is also an incredible actress. The way she inflects every sentence, giving emotion and making you care for the character is simply wonderful.
The production as the previous reviewers have already said is not traditional nor euro-trash, in fact one couldn't care less about it, specially with such wonderful music.
Also the sound in DTS or PCM stereo is crystal clear. A must buy!"