Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Mozart - Il Re pastore|
Actors: Kresimir Spicer, Annette Dasch, Marlis Petersen, Arpine Rahdjian, Andreas Karasiak
Director: Thomas Hengelbrock
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Two Hours of Pure Magic
J. H. Gaulard | London United Kingdom | 01/16/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Halfway through this remarkable collection of all Mozart operas on DVD taped in Salzburg in 2006 comes a ravishing, miraculous "Il Re Pastore". This "Pastoral Serenade" for benevolent kings, shepherds and green landscapes has an appalling libretto. The music Mozart manages to write out of this nonsense is again nothing short of miraculous.
And the way the conductor/director Thomas Hengelbrock manages to bring these five cardboard characters to life is again nothing short of a miracle.
Hengelbrock being a musician, his production is essentially very musical, sober, sometimes on the verge of austerity. 5 singer/actors decide to "role play" Il Re Pastore. Every one of them is allocated a character and off they go. The stage is divided in two parts. The "real life", colourful bit at the forefront, and the black-and-white stage in the background, which is where most of the ensembles and arias take place. Every aspect of this production is very elegant, from the gracious silhouettes of landscape, sheep and soldiers, all screened in the background, to the superb costumes of Mirella Weingarten.
Musically, this is one of the best casts of the collection so far. Annette Dasch and Marlis Petersen have beautiful, very identifiable voices: their duet at the end of Act I is a masterpiece of balance, lyricism and team spirit: both singers listen to each other and this makes for a great feeling of ensemble. Each individual aria by these two ladies is phenomenal. Andreas Karasiak has a very agreeable tone, while Arpine Rahdjian has an ENORMOUS voice! Her first aria blows the roof away! Watch for her Wagner and her Strauss quite soon. As for Alessandro, Kresimir Spicer, he is the somewhat weak link of this great cast, I think he sings too much from the throat - he may want to alter his technique going forward.
In the pit, Thomas Hengelbrock is enthusiastic, precise, and supportive. His orchestra, the Balthasar-Neumann-Ensemble, plays with a contagious sense of energy and can be very loud when necessary!
The production is also remarkable by the energy and the attention given to the sacrificial lamb of any "young Mozart" opera: the recitativo secco. Great care has been put in acting them properly and playing them properly. The harpsichord of Nicolau de Figureido adds considerably to the musical beauty of the piece.
I cannot finish this review without mentioning one of the most beautiful scenes in this whole M22 collection: Aminta (Annette Dasch) sings her beautiful rondo "L'amero, saro costante" in front of a blue curtain. Behind it, the silhouette of the concertmeister, Sebastian Hamann, who left the pit, playing the solo violin. If this combination of beautiful singing, superb staging and fantastic music making does not move you to tears, then there is something wrong with you. Unforgettable.
One of my favorites!
Nina Nanakida | Vacaville, CA | 02/17/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This along with La Finta Semplice and La Finta Giardiniera are my favoites of the Mozart 22 series. Annette's voice is nice, but Marlis Peterson's is amazing! But together they are out of this world. Their duet is the best sounding amazing duet out of the whole series that I've heard so far. I love that duet so much, I have listened to it over and over again. I hope I don't burn a hole in the dvd. Marlis's other two arias are absolutely wonderful. I just love her voice. The simpliciy of the production is nice so you can focus on the great singing."
Pastoral existentialism and sparkling music from Salzburg
Morten Fuglestad | Norway | 12/02/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mozart's Il re pastore (KV 208) is hardly well known. This DVD shows that this serenata has more to it than youthfull charm and pastoral naïvite.
Mozart was 19 when he composed this two-act mini-opera on a libretto by the old warhorse Pietro Metastasio. The plot is from the time of Alexander the Great where we meet blue-blooded herds and an Alexander keen to give back his conquests to theire rightfull heirs. The plot is arguably less silly than many other pastorals of the time, but still a staging like that we have here gives this drama a more explicit sense of purpose.
Thomas Hengelbrock is not only conductor, he is also responsible for the staging. This proves to be a most welcome combination as it gives a sense of coherence and deep understanding of the relation between text and music that is rare.
The scenery is set against a marionette-theater whith costumes and backgrounds in black and white. It plays with the images of playing cards and underlines the message of a conflict of choice and fate, before it breaks out into a more realistic setting whith costumes in cassual clothes.
Running less than two hours and sung whith a clear vision of the characters this is a treat of a performance. Thomas Hengelbrock conducts the Balthasar-Neumann-Ensemble whith fire and gives both the instrumentalist and the singers the space they need to give the music free rein.
The singers Marlis Petersen (soprano, Elisa, a noble girl (/nymph)in love with Aminta) and Annette Dasch (mezzo-soprano, Aminta, a shepherd in love with Elisa) are particullary impressive.
The arias are clearly intended to show a rich variety of types. From Alessandro's (baryton, Kresimir Spicer) opera seria-like "Si spande al sole in faccia" (no. 4) to Aminta's rondeaux "L'amerò, sarò costante" (no. 10) with a ravishing violin obligato of Sebastian Hamann in a Johann-Christian-Bach-like song that also bears resemblances to later arias of Mozart's singspiels (Seraglio and Magic Flute).
Alessandro is played as a little too keen, and quite childish ruler. Agenore (tenor, Andreas Karasiak) is played as a spoilt dandy that evolves into a scincere and understanding lover. Tamiri (mezzo-soprano, Arpiné Rahdjian) is a hot-blooded girl in love with Agenore.
The singers are all very convincing both musically and as actors. However Petersen and Dasch showes real stagepresence throughout and proves to be superior in every way. In adition to their good looks their voices seems to be particularly well suited to their roles.
The orchestra plays with a crisp articulation and the brass is well into the fore, with a very impressive hornplaying in some of the arias.
This is a performance wich is not easily forgotten and which I guess also makes sense for a lot of people also on an existential level."
Peter Hance | 03/11/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Overall, a good production, spare staging but well sung, especially by the soprano Miss Marlis Petersen who appeared to have complete control over her voice which had the range and flexibility needed for a Mozart opera. A most enjoyable work."