Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Opera Highlights Vol 1 - Norma La Gioconda Il Trovatore Lucia di Lammermoor La Forza del Destino La Cenerentola L'Elisir d'Amore Orlando Furioso|
Actors: Marilyn Horne, Roberto Alagna, Angela Gheorghiu, Joan Sutherland, Galina Gorchakova
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Famous Arias, Famous Singers Ultimately Disappoint
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 05/26/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is a repackaging of famous scenes and arias from full-length DVDs of the Italian operas represented. The productions mostly date from the 1980s and 1990s. I suppose they were chosen at least partly because of the names and fame of the singers contained herein. But even with the spoken introductions for each selection by the singers involved -- and it appears that the introductions were filmed recently -- few of the excerpts excited me too much. I am willing to concede that dedicated fans of these individual artists might have a different reaction.
The excerpts (not yet listed here at Amazon) are:
Marilyn Horne: 'Sorge l'irato nembo' from Vivaldi's Orlando Furioso
Ann Murray: 'Nacqui all'affanno' from Rossini's La Cenerentola
Joan Sutherland: The Mad Scene from Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor
Joan Sutherland: 'Casta Diva' from Bellini's Norma
Joan Sutherland: 'D'amor sull'ali rosee' from Verdi's Il Trovatore
Roberto Alagna: 'Quanto è bella, quanto è cara' & 'Una furtiva lagrima' from Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore
Angela Gheorghiu: 'Prendi, prendi' from L'Elisir d'Amore
Galina Gorchakova: 'Sono giunta!' from Verdi's La forza del destino
Gegam Grigorian: 'La vita è inferno all'infelice' from Forza del destino
Nikolai Putilin: 'Morir! Tremenda cosa -- Urna fatale!' from Forza
Eva Marton: 'Suicidio!' from Ponchielli's La gioconda
As far as singing goes, praise must go to Horne, Murray, Gorchakova, Gheorghiu and Alagna. The stagings are all traditional and often quite gorgeous, although the productions from the Australian Opera look to have been done on the cheap. Marton sings reasonably well -- this was recorded before her voice took a turn for the worse -- but the scene is underlit and so is her acting. Joan Sutherland is her usual mush-mouthed and non-dramatic self. Her voice has never been particularly attractive to me, so you can judge for yourself the accuracy of my comments about her here. I will say that her trills in 'D'amor sull'ali rosee' are spectacular. The interviews are mostly done in English or in the singer's native language but with subtitles; Gorchakova would have done better to speak in Russian with subtitles rather than in her almost unintelligible English. Grigorian looks so depressed that one wonders if he shouldn't be singing 'Suicidio' rather than Marton. The Forza del destino excerpts, by the way, are from a production at the Mariinsky of the original 1862 St. Petersburg premiere; Grigorian's 'La vita è inferno all'infelice' in particular differs considerably from the version we are most familiar with.
Sound -- PCM Stereo is the only option -- is variable as is the videography; they are mostly quite acceptable, however. Subtitles in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian. Menu language, though, is only English. Picture format: 16:9/4:3. Region code: 0 (worldwide). TT=107mins.
J. R. Massague | Barcelona, Catalonia | 06/26/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Perfect combination of styles and voices within a high quality level ,taken from live performances of Operas in key theatres all over the world"