Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Mascagni - L'Amico Fritz / Bros Theodossiou Taschini Giannino Tolomelli Teatro di Livorno|
Actors: Jose Bros, Dimitra Theodossiou, Teatro di Livorno Opera
Genres: Musicals & Performing Arts
Comedy in three acts with a libretto by P. Suardon recorded live from the Teatro di Livorno. Starring Josť Bros, Tenor, Dimitra Theodossiou, and Sandra Pacheco-Quintero.
C. Boerger | Columbus, OH USA | 10/26/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a charming little opera by Mascagni. Those who know the composer only through Cavalleria Rusticana might be surprised by how low key it is, both dramatically and musically-speaking. Like Cavalleria, Fritz has a rustic setting, but the mood is pastoral and innocent of the hotblooded passions that run through the more popular opera. This is a quaint, simple love story, and the music follows suit, there are very few moments of cymbals crashing or violins screeching, of crescendo after crescendo(not that that's such a bad thing). Here, Mascagni cleverly incorporates elements of Yiddish folk music into the score to give the piece an authentic feel, and this yields several first rate musical moments, the most notable being Beppe the gypsy boy's violin solo and subsequent aria, the glorious Cherry Duet from the second act, and the haunting intermezzo, one of the few moments that reenact the turbulence of Cavalleria. With its brevity and its opposite viewpoint of rural, small town life, Fritz is a welcome companion piece to its predecessor.
The narrative is simple, direct. Fritz is a generous landowner, famous throughout the area as a giver, a friend to all. He is also a confirmed bachelor, he prefers friendship over love. His rabbi, a notorious matchmaker, keeps trying to convince him to get married, he even makes a wager that Fritz will wed before too long. Predictably, Friz falls in love with Suzel, a farmer's daughter, leading to the expected happy ending. There isn't much else to the story. The only real drama comes when the rabbi tells Fritz that he has arranged a marriage between Suzel and a fictional suitor, causing Fritz to come to terms with his feelings for Suzel, and to question his commitment to the single life.
There aren't any big names in the cast but they all perform admirably, particularly Dimitra Theodossiou as Suzel, whose sunny voice is perfect for her character. Jose Bros is a charismatic Fritz, and Alessandro Paliaga makes a fatherly David. Likewise, the theater and orchestra are also lesser known, but despite a few sour notes here and there this is a highly listenable interpretation. The small scale production is nothing you will see at the Met, it is by the numbers, lacking imagination, but suitable for the story.
Given that this is a lesser known opera being performed by a smaller company, minus any superstars, I'm surprised this performance was even filmed, then released on DVD, but I am glad that it was, it exposed me to a pleasant opera, and a very good one at that, well-performed, one I will no doubt return to in the future in order to reexperience its charms. Recommended."
A lovely opera, wonderfully performed
kaream | 01/05/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I agree fully with C Boerger's thoughtful review of Mascagni's L'Amico Fritz, in every particular. This is a magnificent and thoroughly professional performance of an opera that should be far better known than it is. The disc has good English subtitles.
My only caveat is that the singers were not very well miked for the recording, so that they frequently tend to fade into the background. Still, I heartily recommend this DVD. For more even sound engineering, I also suggest an excellent CD performed by Luciano Pavarotti and Mirella Freni, with Gianandrea Gavazzeni conducting the Royal Opera House Orchestra; this is Amazon's ASIN B00004VVZL. The different media complement each other for a full appreciation of the opera."
For Theodossiou's fans
Wong Siu Hong | Hong Kong | 04/14/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I'm so frustrated by the sound there. Actors' voices are so remote. In addition, one can easily spot out who's reading from the prompter, especially the gypsy boy. But, all can be compensated if one's Theodossiou's fan, and I am. Thus, I'm so happy to enjoy her adorable performance."
A pleasant surprise
El Critico | Aventura, Florida | 08/25/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After reading a couple of the reviews blasting the sound and the staging I was prepared for the worst, but since I have never seen this opera on the stage in spite of the fact that I have been going to the opera for almost 50 years and I have only heard the Pavarotti-Freni-Sardinero recording I ordered this DVD and I am glad I did.
It is a small but charming piece,from which I was only familiar with "The Cherry Duet" but the rest of the score was quite pleasant and we should be glad that this video exist at all. I certainly am!