Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Il Burbero di Buon Cuore |
Actors: Christophe Rousset, Carlos Chausson, Saimir Pirgu, Juan Francisco Gatell, Luca Pisaroni
Directors: Irina Brook, Matteo Ricchetti
Genres: Indie & Art House, Musicals & Performing Arts
A charming opera from Soler
T. C. | 03/29/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Il Burbero di buon cuore (The kindhearted grumpy old men) is a comic opera that was composed by Vicente Martín y Soler to a libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte, based on one of the most popular and amusing French comedies by Carlo Goldoni, Le bourru bienfaisant. A new DVD version for this rare opera appeared lately on the Italian label Dynamic from a production at the Teatro Real in Madrid 2007.
A few sentences synopsis: The quick-tempered Ferramondo needs to deal with his nephew Giocondo that lost his fortune due to his wasteful wife Lucilla. Therefore he wants to send his young sister Angelica to a monastery in order to use her dowry. Angelica is in love with young Valerio. But Ferramondo wants to marry her with his friend Dorval with whom he plays chess in order to guard the dowry for himself. In the end, Marina, the old cunning nanny helps the young couple to persuade Ferramondo to let them marry, not before that he complains that everyone is forcing him to do whatever they want... This is high quality libretto like the three da Ponte created for Mozart.
Vicente Martín y Soler that was two years older than Mozart, was born in Valencia in 1754. In Europe he became known as Vincenzo Martini, an Italian name he adopted to facilitate his success in the world of music. When met da Ponte in 1785, he had already managed to write 12 operas. But it was a remarkable leap to his career as an opera composer after he settled in Vienna and started his collaboration with da Ponte that wrote for him Libretti for three operas: Il burbero di buon cuore (1786), Una cosa rara (1786) and L'arbore di Diana (1787). Those operas brought him a big success with the Viennese audience alongside the operas that Mozart wrote to da Ponte's libretti. It is well known that Mozart quotes in Don Giovanni a theme from Soler's opera Una cosa rara.
The first performance of Il Burbero di buon cuore in Vienna in 1786 was a big success by right of the entertaining text and the music, which is simple but charming. In October 1789, Mozart wrote two alternative arias for this opera by Soler:
Chi sa, chi sa qual sia KV 582
Vado, ma dove? Oh Dei! KV 583
The opera was presented in Madrid for the last time in1792. In 2007 the opera was performed at the Teatro Real in Madrid after more than two hundred year of absence from the stage. Stage director was Irina Brook, daughter of the director Peter Brook. The occurrence in the opera was updated to modern times impressively and persuasively. The stage is designed with a single rich set which looks like a lobby of little hotel.
Christophe Rousset conducts the orchestra of the Teatro Real and he plays also the harpsichord in the recitatives. As he is a baroque specialist he gets from the orchestra stylistic playing, which is both transparent and brilliant. The music is very amiable and pleasant. Ii seems to me as a mixture of middle Mozart (operas like La Finta Giardiniera) with spicing of Rossini, like the use of crescendo in the end of Valerio's first aria. Some of the musical numbers are especially beautiful, like Angelica and Dorval duet in the second act.
All the eight soloists are excellent singers with no exception. Bass Carlos Chausson sings the leading role of Ferramondo. He sings very well and is an outstanding comical actor. Soprano Elena de la Merced sings the role of Angelica. She has fabulous voice and an exquisite singing technique. It is pure delight every time that she opens hers mouth. Her recitative and big aria in the second act are extremely beautiful. It is almost Mozart... Another outstanding soprano, Veronique Gens, sings the part of Madama Lucilla, and she sings the two charming arias that Mozart wrote for this Soler opera.
There are two tenors: Samir Pirgu is a good Giocondo and Juan Francisco Gatell is a very good Valerio. He has a beautiful lyric tenor voice, which is ideal for Mozart and Rossini roles. The two baritones are also fine: Luka Pisaroni as Dorval and Josep Miquel Ramón as the hilarious butler Castagna. Closing the list is mezzo Cecilia Díaz as the wily nanny Marina.
Undoubtedly, the extraordinarily phenomenon called Mozart darkened quite a few talented composers that worked in his period but are now almost forgotten. Soler is one example. This is a charming piece of music, and the performance is very good from every points of view.