Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Mozart - Ascanio in Alba|
Actors: Diana Damrau, Iris Kupke, Sonia Prina, Charles Reid, Christian Benzhaf
Directors: Adam Fischer, David Hermann
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
J. H. Gaulard | London United Kingdom | 01/09/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Welcome to a world where gym mats are flying, where cloned chorus members robot-dance their way through the score, where the audience need to wear 3D glasses to appreciate the staging in Act II (wait, which staging?), where Ascanio and Venus appear in their sleeping bag, and where poor Silvia has to sing all her part in a rather ridiculous ballerina outfit...As my previous reviews of the M22 will certify, I am not at all opposed to modern staging. On the contrary, they can help us be enlightened on classical work (Finta Semplice and to a lesser extent Mitridate being two cases in point so far in this collection). But here it seems to me that both David Hermann and Christof Hetzer, responsible for this mise-en-scène, couldn't care less about the audience nor for Mozart's work for that matter. Like Joachim Schloemer in Semplice, Hermann uses actors to cut through the recitatives and make the piece more "actionable" from a theater standpoint. But while Schloemer had a concept (the artist in front of his/her creation) and an utter respect for the work (Semplice remains a comedy all along), Hermann simply makes the actors announce the numbers and mime their way through the piece. The actors also dub the singers during the recitative bit, which after a while is very annoying and tend to turn the singers into concert artists with a suit.
Is it a result of this very upsetting staging? In any case, the musical quality of the performance is not quite at par with what the M22 collection has offered us so far, which is a shame because the music of Ascanio is actually much better than the very static Betulia Liberata, for example. Iris Kupke and Sonia Prina are quite tame in the parts of Venus and Ascanio. Charles Reid does not have a pretty tone while in the central part of Silvia, Marie-Belle Sandis has a rather rough, acid voice. It is true that with her outfit she looks frankly ridiculous all the way through which may have inhibited her musical performance.
There are two redeeming factors though: the very dynamic and musical rendering of Adam Fischer, gloriously conducting the very virtuoso Mannheim National Theatre Orchestra, and the beautiful coloratura of Diana Damrau, the Queen of the Night of our generation, accurate and pure as crystal. Only in her two arias do Mr Hermann and Hetzer show a bit of taste and respect for the score that they are supposed to "revisit". This is not much.
WHAT IS GOING ON IN SALZBURG???
R. Olsavicky | Butler, Pa. USA | 07/05/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This could be a short review:
A) The Composer - a 15 year old Genius!
B) The Music - very beautiful and enjoyable.
C) The Conductor - Adam Fischer - Passionate and Excellent!
D) The Orchestra - Fiery and Virtuosic!
E) The cast - an excellent ensemble (Could have a better Tenor).
F) Diana Damrau - SPECTACULAR!!!
G) The production - REDICULOUS!!! I still can't figure out what it is supposed to be telling me. It is very confusing!
H) Sets and Costumes - Ludicrous.
I) The Stage Director - Should be SHOT!!!
J) WHAT A WAST OF MONEY, TIME AND TALENT!!!
K) The management of the Festival should be called to accountability!
L) MOZART AND THE PUBLIC DESERVE BETTER THAN THIS!
I would have given it one star only but, the singers, conductor and orchestra deserve five stars; the stage directing and production zero. The Salzburg Festival, Mozart22, the opera going public and especially the Home Viewing public, let alone the composer deserve better. APOLOGIES FOR THIS INSULT TO ARTISTIC TASTE AND WASTE OF OUR MONIES ARE IN ORDER! We have the right to expect better productions and direction than this!"
Ground control to Major Tom!!! Or Beam me up Scottie.
Nina Nanakida | Vacaville, CA | 03/28/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The most annoing things about this production is that the actors, Voyager I and II, spoke most of the recitatives as the singers on the most part were making hand jestures to go along with the spoken words, and the Voyagers' weird distracting seizure movements, jestures and bodyslamming themselves to the ground while the singers sang. It's amazing how the singers could focus on their arias and keep their composure. I would have given at least 4 stars if the Voyagers were omitted. The great music and singing saved this production from complete disaster. I think Charles Reid and Iris Kupke deserved more credit than they received. I like their voices. It is too bad that they cut out Aceste's other aria from the second act. I wish that the role of Fauno was more involved with the other singers. There was no relationship to any of the other singers. Diana Darau just floats down from the rafters on a swing, sings, then floats away. Cutting out the recitatives made the singers detatched from all emotion and each other. Too plastic. I hope the next production of this opera is more true to life and true to Mozart."
The apotheosis of the ugly
L. Dankel | 05/29/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I agree with everything negative stated previously. It seems to me that this production fails to understand the most primitive (hardly the only) reason we go to the theater. We want to see people who are more charming and attractive than we can hope to be in everyday life. And to judge from the behind the scenes interviews, the performers fit the bill nicely--at least until the costume designer and makeup artists get their degrading hands on them. The lovely woman who sings Ascanio is transformed into a middle-aged man with receding hairline, Sylvia wears a joke of an unflattering tutu, whose dark spot on her panties when she turns around makes it look like she had an accident resulting from stage fright. Please German directors--stop hatin' on your casts and your audiences."