Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Monteverdi - Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria|
Actors: Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Werner Hollweg, Trudeliese Schmidt, Francisco Araiza, Janet Perry
Director: Jean-Pierre Ponnelle
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
I'm Dumbfounded Again!
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 11/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"How am I dumbfounded? Let me count the ways!
1. I find myself writing the first review of this incredible DVD!
2. This performance took place in 1977! All my theatrical and musical instincts tell me that the World should not have continued spinning in the same old way, that there should have been an almost universal clamor for more such productions, for Monteverdi festivals from sea to rising sea... yet the opera companies of the USA keep grinding out 19th C sausages!
3. Most of all, I'm dumbfounded by how well this costumer's phantasmagoria works dramatically and musically. This is Monteverdi rendered as GRAND opera, even though the theater shown in the film is intimate in scale. Everything about the production is lavish, busy, and bold -- the very same qualities that make the Harnoncourt/Ponelle staging of L'Orfeo incoherent -- but here the excess becomes expressive.
4. I'm dumbfounded also by the artistry of the singers, most of whom never considered themselves "early music" specialists. To who does the credit go for convincing them to sing Monteverdi as Monteverdi has to be sung? To Harnoncourt? If so, the man was more of a genius than I realized. In case I'm not being coherent, in my dumbfounded state, let me say it plainly: the singing is superb! If your TV screen is large and clear, you will notice that the sound track isn't really a direct recording of the stage performance, and the lip synch is far from perfect. This is a blessing I don't choose to reject; the sound is as fine as a studio recording session could make it, and after all, it's the music that I value most.
5. I have a minor dumbfoundification over the obvious: Monteverdi should never be cut! The scenes of the Gods a-squabbling, which other productions omit, are not only great music but essential to the meta-content of the libretto. This is truly as near as the Humanists ever got to fully recreating the world-picture of classical Greek drama. The 'totality' of this music-drama deserves to be taken seriously.
Thirty-two years old, this production, but don't hesitate! It's as fresh today as it was when first staged."