Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Johann Strauss - Simplicius / Welser-Most Volle Zysset Zurich Opera House|
Actors: Michael Volle, Martin Zysset, Rolf Haunstein, Elizabeth Magnuson, Piotr Beczala
Director: Thomas Grimm
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television, Musicals & Performing Arts
Based on Grimmelhausen?s seventeenth-century picaresque novel, set during the Thirty Years? War, Simplicius is the ingenuous hero of a tortuous tale of concealed identities and thwarted love ? which leads, of course, to ... more »
Zurich Resurrects Lost Masterpiece
J. M. Parr | Ottawa,Canada | 07/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Opernhaus Zurich can well be proud of it's magnificent revival of Johann Strauss' lost operetta Simplicius. The performance on DVD here was the first revival of this work in 113 years since it's recent rediscovery. Strauss seems to have been aiming to make operetta more sreious and in line with mainstream opera. This one has the usual tangled love story set amid the Thirty years war with some unusally dark commentary about the horrors of war mixed in with the customary froth. His music is quite delightful as always, pieces such as Tilly's schnaps song or the love duets are very grateful on the ear.There is the usual quota of waltzes and marching songs. The wonderful ensemble cast never puts a foot wrong in David Poutney's magnificent production. The sets by Johann Engels are an inspired achievment. They seem to be a living, moving,almost breathing thing with a striking resemblance to one of the more fantastic paintings of Bosch or Breughel.The sets and costumes alone look like they would have bankrupted most opera companies. The DVD itself is beautifully produced with Leterbox picture and 5.1 sound well nigh perfect. there are english subtitles but unfortunately they have been placed within the viewing area instead of below the letterbox as it should have been. My sole complaint about a most desirable dvd for any opera lovers collection. Highest reccomendation!"
Mr John Haueisen | WORTHINGTON, OHIO United States | 01/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"At first glance, I was a little intimidated by the plot synopsis of Simplicius, but it turned out to be a delightful love story filled with beautiful Strauss waltz music.Before a word is spoken, you will hear the lovely melodic theme of the operetta, which translates loosely as, "Now I like to go back in time, to that blissful distant past." It is a hauntingly beautiful melody, which has too long been neglected by the music world. You will recognize it as it turns up again and again during the story--but you will not tire of it! It also appears at the finale, as a grand finish to a happy-ending love story, which Strauss himself preferred to his better-known Gypsy Baron. (Perhaps it's just the romantic in me, but I think I hear Strauss, looking back on his long, successful life as a composer of beautiful waltzes.)There are many other delightful songs adding spice throughout the story, but my favorite part of the operetta is the growing love between Tilly and "Simple." Martina Jankova as Tilly is irresitible, both in her singing and her acting skills. You'll love her fitful frustration at trying to get "Simple" to realize he loves her. I predict that we will see much more of Jankova in the future--she has all the skills to delight audiences.The costumes and scenery are as close to perfection as the singing and acting. It is hard to believe that such a wonderful musical work has lain untouched for more than a century. This troupe has done justice to Simplicius, as the operetta has proclaimed Strauss' brilliance. And we happy few who have seen it, reap the delicious harvest."
Not operetta, not opera, worth every penny
Dr C | Florida | 02/06/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I purchased this DVD, I expected little. What I received was a great deal. The production is imaginatively staged. The singing - even the acting - is top shelf. Some expressionist touches bring life to the scenery. While this is a tale of romance, one is never far from the horrors of the mass murdering of the Thirty Years War. I will not spoil the surprises, but the juxtaposition of the final act's romantic denouement, family reunion, and imperial forgiveness with that tree with its special "fruit" could not be more effective in keeping this from becoming late Nineteenth Century Viennese schlag, all air and little substance. To be sure, Simplicius is a rogue but he is delightful rogue. Someone not interested in another Die Fledermaus (if such a soul lives) need have no fear. Nor will one find Wozzeck. How this wonderful work could have been ignored for so long is incomprehensible although the difficulty of categorization may play a part. It has quickly become a personal favorite."
A Marvelous Operetta by the "Waltz King" Johann Strauss
Adolfo Medrano | Miami, FL | 11/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This Operetta by Johann Strauss can almost be classified as an Opera. This operetta by Strauss is one filled with delightful music. The staging is somewhat wierd, maybe because thats how it suppose to be but other than that, we have very good singers singing duets and waltzes. A few scences almost resembles an opera rather than an operetta. I think this rare operetta by Strauss is very good and I recommend it to all Strauss fans. I really hope this rare Operetta survives and hope to see more performances around the world with top tenors and sopranos. Now, that will spice this operetta even more."