Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Rossini - Ermione / Antonacci Ford Montague Austin Kelly Howell Nilon Lopez-Yanez Unwin Davis Glyndebourne Opera|
Actors: Anna Caterina Antonacci, Bruce Ford, Andrew Davis
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Musicals & Performing Arts
Recorded at Glyndebourne?s superb opera house, this lavishly praised production of Rossini?s forgotten and unusual tragic opera has proved to be an unequivocal success. Based on Racine?s Andromaque, this account of the Gre... more »
Give it a chance
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 02/04/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Say what you will, opera is all about music, and music is all about tuning. Apart from the choral overture, the first 20 minutes of Ermione are musically undistinguished, and in this production the principal singers in the first three scenes all seem convinced that the orchestra is consistently sharp. I'm just minutes away from running to my computer to re-sell this disc, but suddenly the singers find their tonal centers and Rossini wakes up, and the rest is pure delight, though not without imperfections. Diana Montague (Andromache) never reaches either intensity or A440. Jorge Lopez-Yanez (Pyrrhus)achieves both, but lacks the vocal athleticism to make the characteristic rapid passages of Rossini truly impressive. Anna Antonacci (Ermione)sings and acts her character with such cold hauteur that one begins to look forward to tragedy, but she sings splendidly. Bruce Ford (Orestes) is a painful twerp but he also sings gloriously. Their duets and indeed all the ensemble arias are superb, imaginative, emotionally effective MUSIC, which explains why I'm giving the disk 4 stars.
The production owes a bit to the Cabinet of Doctor Caligari. Set in the gilded boxes and velvet drapes of a traditional opera house tilted 15 degrees askew, it's unrelentingly an "opera about opera". I'm not usually keen on self-referential art, but this time it seems to make sense. Certainly it's vivid, lush, and coherent. There are a few token bits of "relevance" tossed in, including vague hints of Pyrrhus as Mussolini, but they can be ignored. It's hard to imagine that a pre-modernist production, dressing the roles in Attic bathrobes in the manner of Hollywood Homer, would be nearly as plausible. Once you accept the premises, I think you'll find the production values excellent.
Another reviewer faults the sound recording and especially the balance of singers and orchestra. The criticism is fair, but I found that by turning the volume up to the maximum comfortable, I was able to satisfy my ears.
Give it a chance! It's the only DVD of a rarely-produced opera rich with musical ingenuity. If you've never seen or heard the work before, sit through the first few scenes once and ever after fast-forward to the good stuff."
4 stars WHAT THEY WHERE THINKING ??****
W. V. | NEW YORK | 12/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"DVDs, are A DELIGHTFUL FORM OF ENTERTAINMENT
What can be better than to lay Back to enjoy a great operatic performance comfortably at home. BUT WHAT THEY WHERE THINKING ??? I wonder why the sound of some Performances are great and others like this Ermione is off.
Technology has to improve on sound's reproduction standards. Is sad to see so many attempts to preserve historical performances ruined by the bad sound reproduction and that is sad.
Ermione by Rosinni is a great Opera and I wish that the sound valance of this recording was better. In many passages is hard to hear the voices over the orchestra.
This is a beautiful production, music and conducting is excellent, and all the singing is great. Im glad to have it in my collection despite its flows."
Yes it has some minor flaws but...
D. J. Marconi | 09/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"despite the not so great-but acceptable- sound, somewhat twisted libretto and plot, static and boring staging featuring a tilted platform , and crappy subtitles, this is one amazing opera which can only be seen and heard through this dvd.
Just a tragedy that this opera was apparently never recorded until 1986, and that cd is out of print. Why they never recorded a version after this version is another mystery.
But the music may be the best Rossini ever wrote, and he knew it since he preserved the score and borrowed from it frequently. He called it his "little William Tell," though virtually no one ever heard it. It was way ahead of its time-it feels like a bel canto with deeper psychological development, and more sophisticated taut music that drives the opera to sublime heights.
Despite "the lack of competition," this dvd features some incredible singing and acting by all 4 of the main characters. Ms. Antonacci took on a formidable role and masterfully conquered it and the audience. But she has plenty of help from the likes of Ford, Austin Kelly, Montague and conductor Andrew Davis who really surprised me.
I am giving it 5 stars because of the music, singing and acting by the cast-especially Antonacci. Nearly the entire Second Act is dominated by her. It's interesting to note that it is believed by many that Rossini wrote it to showcase the talents of his wife.
Now if we can only get a new cd version or a reprint of the 1986 disc. This is one opera that really needs to be heard."
Get comfortable, and relish this stellar production!
Opera-rater | Fayetteville, AR | 01/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The reviews posted here confuse me a bit: I found everything about this production top notch. Of course, you have to research the plot BEFORE you watch, otherwise you're lost from the get go. Once you realize what's happening, you have to simply give in to the production and enjoy. There are no tuning problems! There are no audio problems!! Montague nearly walks off with the show, and were it not for the Ermione's last monologue and duet the work would seem a little lop sided in Andromache's favor. However, Antonacci is one of the greatest singing actresses of our time, and when she is onstage you can do nothing but watch her.
I hate to even bring up the name "Callas" but one can't help but make comparisons. Antonacci displays the kind of blood and guts commitment for which Callas was famous. Her singing here is splendid, but her middle voice has a "veil" and her more recent performances show that she has worked out her initial vocal issues. Bruce Ford occasionally lets loose a verismo yelp which, while exciting, is not exactly stylistically correct. These moments simply show an artist at the top of his game investing in his character. Purists might sneer, but I found him an exiting performer.
But above all, it is Antonacci that one remembers, and especially her closing "mad scene", very reminicient of some of Donizetti's doomed Queens. The production itself is elegant, simple, beautiful and doesn't call attention to itself after it is once revealed. The staging is a beautiful blend of elegant tableaux. I loved this production and am thrilled that it was captured on DVD."