Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Mozart - La Finta Giardiniera|
Actors: Veronique Gens, John Mark Ainsley, Ruxandra Donose, Alexandra Reinprecht, John Graham Hall
Directors: Ivor Bolton, Doris Dorrie
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
J. H. Gaulard | London United Kingdom | 01/14/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Alongside Jurgen Flimm, Claus Guth or Pierre Audi, Doris Doerrie is another "star" stage director to take part in the "M22" project, coming from the German movie industry. It is fair to say from the start that her work on "Finta" is very interesting, very detailed and very original. Frau Doerrie moves the plot - completely inane and inept - in the gardening section of a big department store. In this restrained atmosphere, the staging can really focus on the comedy and on the intermingling between the seven principals. While the concept is really innovative and fun, the execution is brilliant too. Because she is a movie director, Doris Doerrie knows how to keep a sense of pace, and to this extent this production is as entertaining as Joachim Schloemer's Finta Semplice in the same collection. More importantly, Frau Doerrie has also done a lot of work on each and every one of the characters, which means that very quickly, an audience unfamiliar with this opera (like I was when I first watched this DVD) can quickly recognize and single out every character. This is pretty remarkable since, as we hinted out above, the libretto by Giuseppe Petrosellini is utterly stupid and non-sensical, and focuses on cardboard characters with no depth whatsoever. As a result, Doris Doerrie's attempt at strengthening the dramatic interest of these people is exactly in line with Mozart's music which, many times in the course of this opera, tells you the opposite of what is written or at least considerably amends the litteral meaning.
Fortunately for us, this production is supported by a very good ensemble cast.
The palm of the best singers goes to the delightful mezzo Ruxandra Donose, who portrays a fragile, long-suffering Ramiro. As demonstrated by the excellent bonus feature on the DVD, this more "tragic" aspect of Ramiro's personality was quite difficult to get to but Donose is very moving. Veronique Gens was a cracking Arminda, ample-sounding and a lot of fun too while Adriana Kucerova was an exquisite Serpetta. The best of the men is without a doubt the hilarious Podesta of John Graham-Hall, halfway between John Cleese and William H. Macy in Boogie Nights: a resounding vocal and comic success.
Alexandra Reinprecht, in the title role, is battling with her part most of the performance but she delivers a wonderful final duet with her Belfiore, John Mark Ainsley.
In fact, the only drawback of the performance (costing it its 5-star rating) is the completely flat and academic conducting of Ivor Bolton. The orchestra goes through the motions and seems really routine versus the madness that goes onstage. This is a bit of a shame because the pairing of Bolton and the Mozarteum orchestra is appearing three times in the M22 collection (Giardiniera, Entfuhrung and Zaide). We hope for a more lively account of the other two operas - more on this later.
Despite this drawback, a great performance of a lesser-known Mozart opera.
Sexy, nutty, funny and fun
Steven Guy | Croydon, South Australia | 12/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"How many eighteen year olds do you know who could write an opera, let alone an opera of this quality? Not bloody many, I'd be willing to wager!
Okay, this opera is pretty much a romp and little more. However, it is a very enjoyable romp and it does contain some music which wouldn't be out of place in Così fan tutte or Les nozze di Figaro. Serpetta, played with great pizzazz and sass by Adriana Kucerová, sings the sort of Opera Buffa arias Despina, in Così fan tutte, would present to us several years later in Mozart's career. The butterfly tattoos, black boots, mobile phone, bubble gum and "colourful Goth" look work very well for Serpetta! See her on the cover of the DVD. She steals the show, by the way.
Don Anchise is played by John Graham-Hall and he reminds of the typical skirt chasing boss who always manages to take himself way too seriously and ends up looking like a buffoon.
Véronique Gens is here, too, as Arminda, an Opera Seria style role. John Mark Ainsley is also in the cast and he is in fine form and enjoying himself immensely.
Ivor Bolton conducts the Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg and the orchestra is in good form, although I would have preferred a sharper, punchier and more incisive sound from period instruments.
Doris Dörrie directs and the staging and concept is very entertaining and creative, without being silly. The opera is staged in the gardening section of a major department store! It works well and I actually laughed out loud more than once when I first watched this opera.
I look forward to buying others in the 2006 DG collection of Mozart operas.
As I said in the title of this review, this is a sexy, nutty, funny and fun production. Great entertainment for the whole family."
drkhimxz | Freehold, NJ, USA | 12/09/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The fine American stage and nightclub comic, Jimmy Durante, often sang a ditty which includes the lines, "have you ever had the feeling that you wanted to go, then you got the feeling that you wanted to stay", That pretty well described my feelings about the characters in this opera as it proceeded on its not very merry way, "Enough Already! Stay or go, but put an end to this shilly-shallying.
I understand that this is intended as farce with a whirlwind of comings and goings as the crossed relationships are exploited in a 1930's sort of madcap comedy. I wasn't laughing.
Could well be my fault. Could be that a Carol Lombard, William Powell, Marx Brothers, Ritz Brothers, Hepburn, Grant, were needed to make me laugh at it, but there was an almost complete lack of similar talent; perhaps, the thought strikes me, it was because these were a group of "straight men", second bananas, without a first banana. That is, there was no strong comic character on which to build.
Certainly, every effort went into creating effects; some quite ingenious. By the three quarters mark, however, I found none to be so appealing as to induce an attachment so that I cared who married whom. I must say that the young man playing the female leads manservant was quite personable, alone among the central characters, but his choice for a love object certainly was puzzling(although,when he took off her glasses, she was beautiful, piece of business that was old when the Marx Brothers were young).
The singing was acceptable, the setting worked sufficiently well-if one is to wrench the characters out of the scenic design Mozart for which Mozart wrote, but, all in all, the vocal characterizations were so inconsistent from the setting in which they were created, that I had a constant sense of disjuncture between the lyrics and what was happening on the stage.
I have seen no other performance of this Mozart piece so cannot recommend it over the others or as a less suitable choice compared to another one available."
LA FINTA GIARDINIERA
T. C. | 01/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In this production German movie director Doris Dorrie sets the opera in the gardening department of a large supermarket. Singing is very good especially by the young German baritone Markus Werba and mezzo Ruxandra Donose. Highly recommended!