Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Mozart - The Salzburg Festspiele Opera Boxset|
Actors: Don Giovanni, Le Nozze di Figaro, Cosi fan Tutte, Idomeneo, La Clemenza di Tito
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
A tentative review....
Smorgy | Southern California, USA | 06/23/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"...Tentative because I don't own the entire set, but 10 of the DVDs in it.
I was very excited about the M22 project when I heard about it last summer indeed! Salzburg Festival staged all 22 Mozart opera in summer of 2006 and taped 20 of them for posterity ('Cosi fan tutte' and 'La clemenza di Tito' are from 2003), so the performance in some lesser known early opera were suffering because the A-list soloists were spread thin covering the more substantial works. However, there are some younger (and not famous yet) singers who really impress me with their performance in the obscure works.
I haven't seen all the shows. From the 10 DVDs (actually 11 opera since 2 got merged into 1 show) some are very good, but some are really dreadful. 'Ascanio in Alba' is so hatched up both musically and staging-wise I actually feel sorry for Mozart that the thing is the only DVD of the opera preserved for posterity.
Anyhow, I can tell you that at least 11 of the opera in this set (all the ones I do own) are of conceptual/pseudo-modernized staging. Some (like 'Tito', 'Idomeneo', or 'Apollo et Hyacinthus') convey the story better than the others (like 'Ascanio in Alba' or 'Lucio Silla'). And that all the early opera I've seen are heavily cut, and some are so altered that Mozart probably wouldn't recognize them.
'Bastien und Bastienne' and 'Der Schauspieldirektor', for example, were completely reworked and merged together to form one Singspiel (in the 'an opera within an opera' format). And there's this antic of replacing Italian recitativo secco with spoken German dialog ('Ascanio in Alba' and 'La finta semplice', for two). I enjoy hearing the works I hadn't heard before, but note that they aren't presented come scritto and in whole piece (and so do not present good 'historical' reference in term of music).
Unless you are a Mozart/opera collector, it'd probably be a good idea to rent some of the individual DVDs that this set contain before deciding to shell out $300 plus for the entire thing (especially if you are averse to Eurotrash staging...). There are some gems, but there are some mud as well."
I HAVE SEEN IT ALL (and it is a mixed bag)
Jesse Knight | woburn ma usa | 07/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I am lucky that our local library belongs to a network which has already obtained all of the operas. Although I do not plan to buy the whole set, there are reasons to buy the whole box, in my opinion.
1. Due to the large number of singers required to perform 22 works, many singers who might get passed over in a normal year got a chance to perform. This M22 set has introduced me to several excellent young singers, that I would not have heard of, simply because they have been passed over by the recording industry "hype machine" or "glamorpress". I for one, like to decide for myself who is hot. Despite the huge artist roster good to excellent singing is the rule, not the exception.
2. If you love, or are fascinated by regietheater, you will find a great sampling of styles in M22. My sense is that opera staging is making a big switch from Jungian symbols to Freudian symbols. In my opinion this is to appeal to a younger audience that does not have the time or inclination to think in an abstract or deep way. There is a great deal of added action which is not supported by the libretti. The MTV viewer would be bored by a conventional production. I for one have found many advantages to "stand and deliver" singing, except in comic operas, where I must admit some of the antics are very amusing. unfortunately some of these new productions strike me as more revolting than amusing.
All in all this a fascinating event recorded in good to great sound and picture quality. Unless this event and it's cast of singers is of interest, I would recommend buying Mozart opera DVDs individually based on your particular tastes.
SOME THOUGHTS ON TEN VOLUMES:
(to keep things simple, only the top title line of each volume is listed, number indicates position on M22 list at end of Finta Semplice booklet)
1. APOLLO ET HYACINTHUS. Beautiful traditional close to authentic production with nice singing. My only minor complaint is a modern telescope and magnifying glass. As someone who has restored an 1853 vintage telescope, I have to wonder whether any contact with amateur astronomers was attempted? Replicas of historic scientific instruments are available. Or did some hobby shop offer money if the production included their scope? I give it five stars.
3. LA FINTA SEMPLICE.
Modern staging that restores the true bawdy character of the opera, one chapter contains a nude extra and there is a fair amount of playing with undershirts. Great Ensemble work seldom seen and heard today. Superb singing from Malin Hartelius. I give it 5 stars, but a few have deemed this Eurotrash.
7. IL SOGNO DI SCIPONE.
Freudian staging and overactivity comprimises singing. 3 stars from me, because I found it to be a guilty pleasure. Good for some discussion I expect.
9. LA FINTA GARDINIERA.
Staged in a home improvement center. Quite raunchy, with extras dressed in transparent body stockings, so they might as well be nude. Singing is too forced for my taste. gave it 3 stars.
10. IL RE PASTORE.
Minimalist production that got good ratings. A little too minimal for me. (did not review after watching)
11. L'OCA DEL CAIRO
Possibly the worst of the M22 collection, bits and pieces strung together in a meaningless way. Gave it 2 stars, and have found nobody who liked it. Staging is pure Eurotrash, but some exceptional singing prevents me from giving it only one star.
14. ENTFUERHRUNG AUS DEM SERAIL
A total perversion of the libretto with a very nasty edge. One reviewer liked it, but got adverse responses to his review. one star from me.
15. LE NOZZE DI FIGARO
Depressing but plausible, audience is VERY divided over this one.
16. DON GIOVANNI
Staging is weird and there is lots of underware. Not logical.
Excellent performance with a staging that reminds me of a Dr. Seuss childrens book. Not logical Four stars from me, based on ignoring the picture. Genia Kuhmeier is a perfect Pamina.
CLICK ON MY LISTMANIA TO LINK TO THE INDIVIDUAL DVD, and more comments.
F. Salas | 06/17/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It is not every day that one can come across the entire filmed version of a composer's operatic output (Beethoven being one obvious exception), and that in itself makes this collection unique and remarkable. You cant expect the quality control over all twenty two Mozart operas in this set to be the same, but overall there is a sense of excitement at being able to see all these productions in fresh, imaginative stagings and with some outstanding performances along the line. This set is a perfect introduction not only to the genius of Mozart, but also to the genre of Opera. And to those of us who are already hooked, its a fun and enjoyable way to, once again, confirm what a genius that brat from Salzburg was!"
Support Your Local or Nearest Opera Company...
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 10/06/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"... or go straight to Salzburg or Glyndebourne, and use this $300 for a better seat. The problem with this box of the 'complete' operas of WA Mozart is that not one of the productions is "the best" or even "the second best" performance available on DVD. And several of them are dogs, yapping hounds in fact. My advice would be to check the reviews of the individual M22 operas; you'll find some satisfaction but a lot of disgruntlement.
In defense of the effort, the M22 people were certainly not afraid to take chances. To attempt to redefine the too-familiar. To be creative. And I'm sick of hearing Americans rant about "Euro-trash" modernizations. In whatever style, some productions succeed and some fail. Still, if you're such a Mozart fan that you want his complete operatic oeuvre, don't you think you'll want the best?"