Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Rossini - Il barbiere di Siviglia / Cambreling Ewing Rawnsley Glyndebourne Festival Opera|
The Barber of Seville
Actors: Maria Ewing, John Rawnsley, Max René Cossotti, Claudio Desderi, Catherine McCord
Director: Dave Heather
Genres: Comedy, Musicals & Performing Arts
Glyndebourne Festival Opera production of Rossini?s classic opera. Starring Robert Dean, Max-René Cosotti, John Rawnsley, and Maria Ewing. London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sylvain Cambreling.
Similarly Requested DVDs
A good, solid production of an operatic gem
L. E. Cantrell | Vancouver, British Columbia Canada | 06/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Once, a friend of Richard Wagner's (yes, he had a few) discovered him sitting in the shadows at the back of an opera house box watching "The Barber of Seville."
"How I love Rossini," said the great man, "but you must not tell my Wagnerites. They'd never forgive me."
This is a good-looking, bright, energetic and wholly entertaining production of opera's reigning comedic warhorse. If the singing is hardly likely to make hard-core fans throw away their recordings with Callas or Berganza, it is nevertheless perfectly respectable.
This is one of the all-too rare productions in which it appears that the stage director has bothered to read the text. Why, wonder of wonders, when young, lovesick Count Almaviva is supposed to be singing a serenade, the director actually has him do just that. And when Figaro, the town barber, is supposed to be shaving Dr Bartolo, the comic sort-of villain, he actually applies foamy shaving cream. Astonishing!
Maria Ewing sings pretty well as she manages to be strange-looking-but-beautiful-anyway, funny, indomitable and adorable all at once.
This is probably as good a DVD as you might hope to find for introducing a newbie to the mad, illogical and ultimately addictive world of opera.
A NOTE ON CASTING: One Amazon reviewer has noted with dismay that Maria Ewing who sings Rosina is actually identified as a soprano, not as a mezzo-soprano for which the role was written. Be reassured. More than a few sopranos have succeeded as Rosina in the nearly two hundred years since "The Barber" was premiered. Rossini, himself, coached soprano Adelina Patti in the part. She scored a triumph. (She later became so famous that the barbershop standard "Sweet Adeline" was written in her honor.) Closer to our own time, a certain Greek-American lady named Callas had some success, too."
This is a wonderful, wonderful dvd...
nowyat | 01/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After watching a number of opera videos now, this is the first that simply overwhelmed me with it's enthusiasm and love of the stage. John Rawnsley was incredible as the playful, mischevious, witty Figaro. I subsequently recognized him in "Les contes d'Hoffmann" (The Tales of Hoffmann) / Pretre, Domingo, Royal Opera Covent Garden (1981) available on Amazon, as one of the fellows in the opening tavern sequence. (Quite a good dvd as well, if you want a recommendation.) I hope to see Mr. Rawnsley in more starring roles. Having seen a few stodgy, dark, ungenerous and inapropriately costumed Wagner dvds, this one made me give opera a second chance. Rossini is my new hero as well, of course. (After renting this three times, I can't wait for payday to buy my own copy!)
What a gem!
Lynda R. Pyke | 11/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A totally enchanting production with all the elements needed to make it worth watching over and over. Lovely voices, wonderful interpretation, fine acting, beautiful directing/conducting and a set that fits without being distracting. The Callas/Gobbi/Alva studio recording CD is a terrific addition to this."
Frank Elliott | Hendersonville, NC United States | 10/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"An obscure artist/painter named Cozzens, just before the turn of the century , made one of those paradigm shift remarks when he said, " A painting is a two dimensional surface upon which to explore design possibilities". Not long afterward the world exploded away from photo realism. One example might be Gaugin with his two dimensional, high contrast colour juxtapositions. Again and again he explored those possibilities, yet we would always spot a Gaugin a block away. This is known as the artist's signature style.
It is this way with Rossini. I have heard from several sources that Rossini 'recycles' his music material - certain passages, and certain bouncing lofty melodies do sound similar. But only in the same way that we find Gaugin's work "similar"...
What I delight in is how Rossini does it. I found I had to replay "Se il mio nome saper voi bramante" by the romantic lead, Cosotti as Count Almaviva. What really had my jaw all a-slack was John Rawnsley as Figaro.
Here was a slightly devious,mercenary, mischevous, meddling, Quack Doctor, psychologist/counselor, matchmaker,( oh,...and barber...) who positively brimmed over with supreme self assurance....and we like him!
Analyzing this, I had to confess that I liked him because of his command of this role, in tandem with the powerful voice he possesses. One reviewer refers to it as 'yelling'...but that is what a powerful singer does, is to sound almost startling to us, it is so loud. But if it is a beautiful sounding voice, and it certainly is one of the best I have ever heard, I say bravo, bravo. This just harkens back to the days before microphones when this is what it took to be heard all the way back to the cheap seats.
Now was Signor Rawnsley all by his lonesome? Nay, knave. Cosotti's sweet tenor voice with not quite as much bravado or spinto as Rawnsley's, was nonetheless a wonderful counterpoint with the most delicate of soto voce, and top A's with violin like clarity and purity.
Regarding Maria Ewing as Rosina, I was most enamored. She was the perfect young woman chafing at the bit for "coming of age/sexual" release.
Her full, sensual lips, and glistening, "talking eyes" as they were described by Figaro, and all that coquettish pouting made her enormously adorable. I found her voice just plain gorgeous to hear. I re-played her arias several times also. She is pure delight, visually , aurally, and she can act wonderfully. All of them can. This is always the amazing thing to me, that they can remember their "blocking", or position on stage, remember all the words, remember every single note, and there are thousands of them to recall on cue...and act all at the same time.
Only one stood apart from the rest as 'marginal', and that would be the warmed over death Basilio. Now there is a part that would torpedo one's career on stage. How can anyone like a pale, scrawny, hideous plotter/schemer/destroyer "By Slander" specialist? (shudder). Rossini and his librettist knew exactly what they were doing to include this creep in a romantic comedy. For slander is not a joke, it is the most deadly and destructive force on earth (C.S.Lewis). It destroys lives, marriages, and careers. Yes Basilio can't do anything but give us the creeps. But we have to admire anyone willing to play the creep in a play or opera- and run the risk of being typecast forever after.
And one last standout, the 'bad guy', so to speak, Dr. Bartolo played by Claudio Desderi. He played "Dandini" in the Ponelle directed "La Cenerentola" - another fabulous piece of staging , orchestra, and singing extravaganza guaranteed to please! Claudio does a terrific job as the control freak who keeps the lovely Maria Ewing in her cage all to himself. This is, of course "the plot"...our perrenially cheerful Figaro, who has all the answers, and all the ways, and all the means to put two people in love together...but not without a few mishaps, (ala the Cohen Bros. "Fargo" where a staged kidnapping went horribly wrong).
Of all the "Barbers" to choose from, I and many others give this one an enthusiastic endorsement. But like some of the other reviewers, I too may try another production just for fun. AFter all...what music!"