Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Rossini - La Gazzetta / Cinzia Forte Bruno Pratico Pietro Spagnoli Charles Workman Maurizio Barbacini Liceu Opera|
Actors: Dario Fo, Marc Canturri, Simon Orfila, Marisa Martins, Agata Bienkowska
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
YOU COULD BUY THIS FOR THE DVD PICTURE ALONE
Charles D. novak | minneapolis, minnesota USA | 09/05/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Momma mia! If you're waitng for the fat lady to sing in this production, you are going to be very disappointed. Besides Cinzia Forte looking ravishing in the total roll of Lisetta (and she sings too!!) you get a chorus of ladies direct from a shopping spree at Victoria's Secret. I must admitt that musically, it took awhile for me to get into this opera. I wasn't at all familar with the score. In fact, after the first act, I put the disc back into the box and forgot about it for a week. I then came back to Act II and watched Act I immediately afterwards. Once everything clicked and I got into the director's mood of things, I couldn't stop raving to myself about the score. It absolutely gets better as it goes along.The Gran Teatre del Liceu does it again with another innovative production. Singers to watch for besides Forte are Bruno Pratico, Pietro Spagnoli and Charles Workman. They do some outstanding vocalizing. This DVD stays on my coffee table until I've watched it a few more times but would somone tell me why we couldn't have the entire opera on one disc at a lower price? I have ALL five hours of TRISTAN UND ISOLDE on ONE DVD. All of a sudden it's like the DVD companies realized they could charge twice the amount if the split the operas on two discs. Greed?"
B. Bork | Ontario, Canada | 10/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My first impression of this production of "La Gazzetta" was poor due to the timid, almost amateurish delivery of the Overture (from La Cenerentolla). The dance/ballet/vaudeville inclusions inspired by this operas French setting was also jarring in the beginning. My perception slowly gained confidence and by the end of the second act I ccouldn't stop loving this opera or production! It takes the whole package to see past what appear to be imperfections that unfold into art by the close of the piece.
This productions greatest strength is its recycled heritage and anonymity. La Gazzetta itself is a hodgepodge of new material, reworked material and direct transplantation of other material making it a seemingly incongruent piece. It has most in common with Il Turco in Italia, borrowing a few numbers from that opera along with it's basic structure. The difference here is that the dramatic weaknesses from Il Turco where given attention by Rossini and Palomba back then with contemporary elaboration added now in the form of additional text (which seem ½ recitative and ½ operatic numbers) and staging to further support the progress made by its creators.
This is where its strengths play in: its hodgepodge essence allows for further addition and subtraction of numbers or text and its anonymity allows for such revisions and alterations to be accepted by the public. Most of the additions made serve to accentuate the "play within a play" concept cementing any lose ends the original production may have exhibited in the realm of believability. It's high comedy at it's best.
The worst part of this opera in my opinion is the overture so don't be alarmed by its poor quality, the musical direction in the rest of the opera is top notch. You can tell the maestro has a special place in his heart for Rossini because the score comes alive with bright, vivid orchestration, and most importantly for me: lively tempi (a must for this period of Italian opera). The complaint over the audio options another reviewer mentioned is true to an extent, I found the stereo sound to be fine as an alternative to DTS (which I couldn't utilize either).
The performers were, all in all, fantastic and at least qualified to sing their parts. The standout performers for me were Charles Workman (Alberto), Doralice (Marisa Martins), Pietro Spagnoli (Filippo) and the singing of (Cinzia Forte). Forte's acting wasn't the greatest but her high notes and control were incredible. Martins was the most charismatic and a great vocalist for her range while Workman managed to breath comedic life into your traditional Cavalier stock character (his vocals where top quality too). Spagnoli excelled as the successful inkeeper and man-in-love with that made man quality all too evident in his stage presence.
Agata Bienkowska did well in her role as Madame La Rose, playing up the playful temptress aspect of her character even though she acts as a mere bystander throughout most of the production. Orfila as Traversen and Canturri as Anselmo were part of the ensembles and recitative only so their roles are minor and forgettable. Lastly, Pratico as Pomponio may be an acquired taste. He managed well for the first act of the opera but seemed to slow down during the first act finale and into the second act. At times, I wasn't sure if he was concentrating or about to keel over from exhaustion. His range of facial expressions during complicated numbers was extremely limited and he only really shined dramatically during the recitatives.
Last but not least is the appearance and stage direction. Before I had known of the existence of this DVD, I had always imagined this opera taking place in either the 30's, 40's, or early 20th century in general. Needless to say, that period fits the context of this opera rather well as Dario Fo also discovered. His costumes, set designs and direction are superb with an emphasis on both the elegance and fun of art deco and modernist movements.
I highly recommend this production for Rossini fans first and anyone else interested in a good time (musically of course)."
Frank Elliott | Hendersonville, NC United States | 11/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Pulchritude": physical beauty, comeliness.
My, my. No more opera with the women done up like wedding cakes... these lovely gals are done up something more like sundaes, with cherries on top. There is nothing serious about this opera, but neither will your sides particularly hurt from laughing...just a wry smile here, and amusement there, and perhaps a raised eyebrow, and a cleaning of eyeglasses, replaying the scene and peering more intently at the comeliness of the lasses, and the set, the lighting, the colors, the designs...all a parade of novelty and "titillation"...ha! This one is for fun. And all participants have a glorious time of it, cavorting, gesturing, posing, kicking bare legs up high, flaunting, flirting, sworling on stage in great hordes, sworling off stage in great striding leaps, dancing waltzes, getting happy, flustered, angry,gesticulating wildly... and did I mention singing?
All Rossini fans will delight in this confection, this operatic bon bon.
I have admired and followed Simon Orfila in "Viaggio a Reims" by Rossini and "I Puritani" by Bellini, and was hoping to hear some more great oratorios by this great baritone, but his part was small in this one.
Small matter, though - for the Cinzia Forte is most entertaining, and Charles Workman makes a very lovely sounding tenor indeed.
This is worthy of your collection for its aesthetic novelty and just pure fun. The Gran Teatra del Liceu really knows how to put on an opera. I am always impressed by the array of talent this opera company attracts, the great musicians, and set builders, seamstresses, dancers, chorus....it all works, every time. Congratulations and high praises to Barcelona for making opera beautiful, glorious, majestic and fun again.
You will not be disappointed in the music, unless you have a low end sound system which only places the orchestra a hundred meters away. Do invest in a good sound system, and bring the singers and orchestra INTO your room with you. Vacuum tubes happen to do this best of all, with their very pleasant, and musically sounding 2nd harmonics."
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 03/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"All the previous reviewers have sung the praises of this production quite elequently. I wish only to disagree with the reviewer who expresses reservations about Bruno Pratico in the role of Pomponio. To my taste, Pratico occupied that role so fully that I could hardly imagine staging the opera if he weren't available. He was "hecka funny".
Dario Fo's staging of The Barber of Seville is likewise a marvel of wit and whimsy, the most enjoyable version of that opera available on DVD."