Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Richard Strauss - Arabella / Haitink Putnam Brocheler Glyndebourne Festival Opera|
Actors: Ashley Putnam, John Bröcheler, Gianna Rolandi, Keith Lewis, Artur Korn
Director: John Vernon
Genres: Indie & Art House, Musicals & Performing Arts
Richard Strauss magical opera, with it's romantic Viennese plot and lush, waltz-time melodies, comes to life in this Glyndebourne Festival Opera production, starring Ashley Putnam and John Brocheler. Bernard Haitink condu... more »
A Very Beautiful, Well Sung, Arabella, Definitely Five Stars
An Opera Goer | Southern Califorina, USA | 10/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To my surprise exactly five years after its re-release (in DVD) there is not one customer review on this web site. I own a copy of the 1984 VHS of this opera for a long time. I like it very much. So I feel compel to write a few words about it.
I think this production is perfect in so many ways: A very competent conductor (Bernard Haitink); the cast (all young singers sang with a high degree of competency); the setting and the costume (though totally unglamorous, it was appropriately done, after all the Waldemar family was not well to do at the time).
To enforce this view, I insert some highlights from Amazon's own review (by Joe McLellan) here.
`This elegantly playful opera (sometimes close to operetta in style) gets a polished, light-hearted, but also serious production at England's famous Glyndebourne Festival. Ashley Putnam gives a glowing performance in the title role and she has a strong supporting cast. Putnam is sweet and troubled in stage presence, silvery in tone and totally charming. John Brocheler is an ardent, impetuous Mandryka and Gianna Rolandi is convincing in the rather difficult role of Zdenka.'
Now I will fill in some more of my own: I think the most beautiful music in this opera is the duet of the sisters in the first act. It needs to look right and sound right. I have seen several productions of this opera other than this one. And this is the one got it right. Consider this, Arabella was supposed to be about 20 years of age, her sister even younger. When Arabella was portrayed by a super star, she would not be looked young and sounded young. I mean it normally took time to become a super star in opera (or diva so to speak). To complicate the problem further, Zdenka would have to sound mature too (or someone had a heavier voice). This does not fit the common perception as to how Zdenka should sound like. Case in point, both Ashley Putnam and Gianna Rolandi were raising stars at the time (by way of NYCO). Their looks were youthful, their voice tone lighter (and similar), their singing first rate. The pair was in total harmony, totally in sync. What more do you want? I am sure you will be drawn to this duet again and again, never got enough of it.
Then, how did the story go? Again, Mr. McLellan said: `A properly rich suitor, Mandryka, shows up and it is love at first sight.' And I say: Who wouldn't? (Attracted to the girl, that is.) Why? Just take one look at her when she first steps into the living room (on stage). That is ten minutes into the opera. Wow! I thought I had never seen a lovely woman like that in opera before. I bet you will be impressed the same way too.
Love at first sight? Yes, the attractions should go both ways. Because there is something can be said about Mandryka too. This guy owns a huge estate in the countryside. He is not a city person; one might consider him a farm boy. He looked manly, raw, and even animal like. His mannerism is (kind of) awkward. All these are quite refreshing. Arabella has never come across anyone like him before. And, John Brocheler's portrayal of him was just perfect. Now I think you got the idea.