Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Mozart - Le Nozze di Figaro / Barenboim Pape Roschmann Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin|
The Marriage of Figaro
Genres: Indie & Art House, Musicals & Performing Arts
The primary virtue of this Berlin production may be its intensity--a quality not usually associated with Mozart performances and perhaps one that should be tried more often. Indeed, those who think of Mozart as a sort of... more »
A director with no sense of unity or character
F. Behrens | Keene, NH USA | 11/02/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I knew I would have trouble with a production of Mozart's as soon as Act I started with Figaro using a magic marker and wearing a modern tool belt while the rest of the cast were dressed in more or less period costume. But even this setting confusion was not consistent, since most modern props (like the Countess's Vogue Magazine) disappeared shortly into Act II. The problem for me is that I cannot have any feelings for characters that are taking second place to some director's "concept" while the music remains glorious. At any rate, this production is still worth hearing on the ArtHaus Musik DVD (100 017) now available through Naxos. Daniel Barenboim conducts the State Opera and Chorus of Berlin with a very good vocal cast: Rene Pape (Figaro), Dorothea Roschmann (Susanna), Emily Magee (Countess), Roman Trekel (Count), Patricia Risley (Cherubino), Rosemarie Lang (Marcellina), Kwangchul Youn (Bartolo), and the rest. The only visual problem is the rather unattractive Count, who looks a bit like a clean shaven Ming the Merciless rather than the charmer this character should be. The scenery is sparse, the night sequences in Act IV barely lit at all. Barenboim gives a reading that calls for no complaints nor kudos. But the DVD format makes this a valuable educational tool for music teachers who wish to show this marvelous opera in parts, since the tracking cues (84 in all) are quite generous and intelligently programmed."
Great Singing, Effective No-frills Production
Stephen McLeod | New York, NY USA | 06/16/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Unlike other reviewers, I really liked this DVD. Two things initially attracted me, one of which you won't see above. First, Rene Pape as Figaro. Second, Digital 5.1 (advertised) sound. The attractive cast, led by Rene Pape, as expected, is terrific. Pape is reasonably good looking, has a deep rich bass/baritone that actually produces endorphins when I hear him sing, and is an excellent actor. Dorothea Roeschmann's Susanna, Patricia Risley's Cherubino and Emily Magee as the Countess all get five stars for thrilling singing, great looks and perfect ensemble comic form. Roman Trekel is fine, but not as vocally strong as the rest of the cast. Barenboim holds the score like a cork holds champagne: the music brims and bristles, always contained, always ready to burst. This is exactly right for this great opera. The sound is excellent. I read below that one listener seemed to have trouble with the middle channel. I had no trouble. From my system, the sound was rich and clear. What can I say about the production? It's not ideal. Some of it seems a little spare and thrown together. There's a lot of unfortunate thumping around on a hollow stage. But it doesn't get in the way of the actors. In a 10 star system, it would lose a star. But this is a five star system, and the production works as a piece of theater where so many traditional productions exist merely to keep the audience occupied during soporiphic proceedings. I can recommend this DVD without reserve as one of the best examples of what can be done with the medium."
Rewarding performance despite some flaws
O. Seriniyom | 05/27/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Le Nozze is one of my favourite operas as this is the only version available on DVD, I snapped it up when I saw it even though the singers are all unfamiliar to me. And I am very glad that I did, at the time of writing this review, this dvd is no longer in print. I am never keen on operas being "updated" with props and costumes from a more modern period than the story itself, I don't find that this excercise ever enhances one's enjoyment of an opera, and so when Figaro walks on stage with a tool belt on I was afraid that the production design was going to spoil this DVD. Fortunately, the music was good enough to overcome the jarring visual quirks. All the performers did a much better job that I had expected from a cast of relative unknowns and soon I was transported by the music and barely noticed what the cast was wearing, except perhaps the count's ridiculous leather coat. If you NEED to see this opera on DVD, you did not have much choice and now you can't even buy this dvd new, so if you cannot wait for another version to come out, seek out this dvd used, it's more than good enough to keep Mozart-addicts happy for long while."
L. Shirley | fountain valley, ca United States | 08/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This review refers to Mozart's "Le Nozze di Figaro", DVD editon by ArtHaus Musik((Bel Air Media)..
This production of "The Marriage of Figaro" is simply charming.
I was enchanted by the entire four acts and impressed by the quality of the DVD as well. The singers were strong and emotional. They brought their own take and nuances to these characters and portrayed them beautifully. The orchestra was magnificent and did justice to the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
The story is romantic, witty, complex and spellbinding.
Figaro, a servant of Count Almaviva, and Susanna, personal maid to the Countess Rosina, are planning their wedding...but..there are some problems to be worked out first. The Count, lusts after Susanna(as well as others) and makes it clear that he intends to envoke "jus primae noctis"(the right of the first night)before giving his consent to the marriage. Meanwhile Marcellina, another servant in the household is holding Figaro to his onced promised marriage to her. The Countess is depressed over the infidelities of her husband and conspires with Susanna to prove his unfaithfulness. And always in the middle of all this scheming between the sexes is the irrepressible Cherubino, the Count's young page, who loves all the women and can hardly contain himself around them. It is a battle of the sexes set to wonderful music.
The performance at the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin includes this outstanding cast. Rene Pape as Figaro, Dorothea Roschmann as Susanna, Emily Magee as The Countess, Roman Trekel as The Count and in a performance that will steal your heart, Patricia Risley as Cherubino. The music is conducted to perfection by Daniel Barenboim,and is under the direction of Thomas Langhoff with the State Opera Choir Berlin.
The DVD is an excellent quality. It's the next best thing to actually being there.It looks great and the music and voices fill the room in Dolby Digital 5.1. The production is in Italian, and may be viewed with English or Japanese subtitles if you choose. The menu may be viewed in several languages(see tech info here), and there are some production notes as well. It is nicely packaged in a jewel case, and includes a booklet that is more like a program. It has the scenes listed and their are summaries of each act in several languages, including English. There are also some notes on Mozart as well.
Even with the placement of some modern day props(the marker, "Vogue" magazine, a ball point pen), which I personally thought was a touch of whimsy, I was absolutely caught up in the time and place, the music and the story.I felt the same enthusiasm the audience did as they cheered this performance. All that was missing was the very expensive tickets and a little ambiance. Highly recommended for lovers of Mozart and Opera.
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