Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Mozart - Il Sogno di Scipione|
Actors: Blagoj Nacoski, Louise Fribo, Bernarda Bobro, Iain Paton, Anna Kovalko
Directors: Robin Ticciati, Michael Sturminger
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
PHILOSOPHICAL OPERA GIVEN A FREUDIAN STAGING
Jesse Knight | woburn ma usa | 07/12/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If this opera had ever attracted me before, I would give this production a one or two star rating. As much as I hate to admit it, this is the first time I enjoyed it.
Scipio (Blagoj Nacoski) has a dream that two goddesses are competing for his attention. He must choose between Constancy (Louise Fribo) and Fortune (Bernarda Bobro). He ponders the relative merits of a conservative but rational existence, vs a risky exciting one. Had the libretto allowed Mozart to do something more interesting with this story, the opera would have possibilities as an existential argument. As it is, we have what amounts to a series of arias, some of which are very beautiful, but not much more that is interesting, in my opinion. The arias are long and very difficult. I ponder whether "stand and deliver" singing is the only way for singers to conserve enough energy to get through this opera in good voice.
In this staging the two women are mortals competing for Scipio's body and this gets very graphic as Constancy fakes a sexual act while singing the most difficult aria in the opera. There is dressing and undressing, giving us an underware display, but no obvious nudity. Had Fribo been allowed to underplay the sex, she might have sung better. Nacoski starts out strong, as does Fribo, but also runs out of gas in his final aria. He has less excuse, as he is not doing as much while he is singing.
Only Malin Hartelius, on a discontinued CD, pulls off a great Constancy, her supporting cast however was not up to the challenge. She got great reviews so I am not alone in thinking that she got it right. The difference between Fribo and Hartelius is not just a few notes, it is huge. That said, I would like to hear all the singers on this DVD again singing something that makes reasonable demands, they have good voices and techical skills. It is too bad they did not get a more favorable exposure on DVD.
The conductor Robin Ticciati is the real star here, at 23 he has a great Mozart style. Once again the value of M22, to me, is the exposure so many musicians are getting.
Those who can listen and watch without concern for the conflict, that having sex while singing about constancy creates, may enjoy this. If you cannot turn off critical thinking for two hours this is best avoided.
A charming production.
T. C. | 02/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The talented director Michael Sturminger managed to convert this tale about the sleeping mythological hero Scipio that has to choose between Fortuna, the provider of the world's good things, and the reliable, trustworthy Constanza to something that is logically acceptable. The plot is updated to our time brilliantly, and this early (K. 126) Mozart opera turns to be a most entertaining and amusing piece of drama.
The Kärntner Symphonieorchester is conducted by the 23 years old British conductor Robin Ticciati and plays splendidly. The opera was written for three sopranos and three tenors. The three ladies are excellent. This is technically very difficult music with extended complicated coloratura passages. Best of all is Louise Fribo as La Costanza. What a voice, and what a brilliant technique. Bernarda Bobro as La Fortuna is no less an accomplished singer and one has to give her a very high mark for the ability to sing an immensely difficult aria while faking a sexual act with the stunned Scipio... Anna Kovalko (La Licenza) has only one aria and it is done perfectly. The title role is sung by the 27 years old Macedonian tenor Blagoj Nacoski. He is good with only a slight difficulty in a passage or two of his last aria, which is extremely difficult.
Great production, let down by poor singing
J. H. Gaulard | London United Kingdom | 01/12/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"We have here the exception to the traditional "M 22" rule (M22 refers to the collection of complete Mozart operas taped by Deutsche Grammophon in Salzburg last summer, and now available on DVD) whereby regardless of the stage production, the musical quality remains very strong. In this "Sogno", it is the other way round. The production is smart, witty, transposed in the 1920s, and always ALWAYS keep the interest of the audience high...this is necessary because Sogno has few participants, very little action, and a rather thin plot: while dreaming, a Roman general has to choose between Fortune and Constancy. In this inszienerung, Scipio becomes an everyday guy, stuck between two very beautiful women. The concept of the dream is maintained throughout the performance, and enables stage director Michael Sturminger to introduce surreal scenes into this "Sogno", like the grandfather singing while still dead, or the surprising ending (but I won't give that way, that would spoil it). So overall the interest is maintained throughout clearly thanks to the work of Sturminger and team but also thanks to Mozart's music, well detailed by Robin Ticciati and his Karntner orchestra...The problem is that the singing is not up to the task.
Let's be clear here: "Il Sogno di Scipione" is thankless Mozart, every aria is about seven minutes long, all of them have endless ornaments and coloraturas, making them extremely pleasing to hear but virtually impossible to sing...and here it is fair to say that the team of singers does not deliver the goods. Blacoj Nacoski cannot sing Scipio: he shouldn't be discouraged though, even Peter Schreier couldn't sing it...but he has problems in the coloraturas and suffers in the higher register. His "grandfather" in the piece, Iain Paton, has exactly the same problem. The ladies have vocal problems too. Both Louise Fribo and Bernarda Bobro suffer through their arias, they manage to go through them, but I did feel more relieved (that they made it) than charmed...All this is a bit workman-like. This is a shame, because both are very talented actresses, very believable...and very good-looking too. Overall, it is very difficult to recommend an opera when the three main singers are not particularly impressive, but this performance is largely salvaged by a fun, innovative production...Interestingly enough, Sturminger got a standing ovation from the audience, while the applause for the two main female characters was somewhat more mixed, to say the least. Eventually, a 3-star rating, thanks to the production."
Mozart's "Three's Company"
E. Gomez, MD | Valparaiso, IN USA | 04/07/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Mozart's earlier operas are sparsely performed and even more sparsely recorded, which is unfortunate, especially for "Il Sogno di Scipione". Thankfully Ticciati and Sturminger managed to turn this into a very entertaining diversion. The production almost reminds me of tv's "Three's Company", but adorned with Mozart's wonderful music.
The acting is superb, with not too subtle eroticism, especially from well-endowed Bernarda Bobro with simulated sex by Louise Fribo -- but all in good taste. The only other version I know of is an audio recording (no dvd) with Edita Gruberova, Lucia Popp and Peter Schreier. If you simply want to listen, get this version; the singing is more technically competent. However, Ticciati and Sturminger's visuals with adequate singing but charming acting is worth at least 4 stars.
I am thankful for the Mozart 22 project for bringing back these neglected Mozart juvenalia to the contemporary audience."