Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Rossini - Torvaldo e Dorliska|
Actors: Michele Pertusi, Darina Takova, Francesco Meli, Bruno Pratico, Jeannette Fischer
Director: Mario Martone
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Musicals & Performing Arts
Another Rossini gem
Richard | Minneapolis, Mongolia | 12/01/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Growing up the only Rpssini heard were Barbiere and the overtures. Listening to those overtures I longed to hear what succeeded them - especially the William Tell and Semiramide. For me one of the great delights of the last few decades has been the rehabilitation of Rossini. Torvaldo continues that process. It comes just before Barbiere. It is an opera semiseria - serious but with comic elements. Here the comedy comes from the villain's servant (a Leporello) who eventually does in his master. The plot is negligible, but who cares. Rossini pours forth waves of meloday and rhythm. Is there a composer that makes us smile more? This production is based on the reconstruction of the score and comes from the Rossini Festival in Pesaro. The singers sing wonderfully, act well and look their parts. The production has a wonderful forest and gate on the stage but much of the action takes place on a runway around the orchestra and throughout the auditorium. This is not distracting - after all you can't take the plot too seriously. It is a fun evening of glorious melody. Sit back and enjoy."
You Can't Be Semiserious!
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 07/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The tiny jewel-box opera house of Pesaro, Rossini's hometown, holds only a few hundred people. A proscenium walkway surrounds the orchestra pit, and characters often wander onto it to sing their arias. There are two ornate boxes exactly adjacent to the main stage, in effect behind the orchestra, where patrons sit within arm-length of the divas. Look carefully at the boxes on the left side of the stage and you'll catch a few glimpses of me, enjoying the musical intimacy by chance on the evening of this filming. Characters also wander down into the aisles around the audience, so many of the film-nighters have the trophy remembrance of seeing themselves when they play this disk. The intimacy is not insignificant; director Mario Martone has taken advantage of it to frame an intensely human drama.
The dominating character of Torvaldo and Dorliska is the villian, the sinister Duca d'Ordow, sung and acted with consummate wickedness by basso Michele Pertussi. The Duke is obsessed with Dorliska, and will stop at nothing to possess her, including sending his stooges to murder her newlywed husband, Torvaldo. The Duke's head servant, Giorgio, is an honorable man who's had enough of his master's evil ways and who plots to upend him. That's close enough to spoiling the story, isn't it?
The whole cast of this production has been brilliantly chosen, both for their singing skills and their physical credibility in the roles - a kind of casting that has become of paramount importance in this era of operas on DVD. The beautiful Dorliska is the beautiful soprano Darina Takova, who manages to convey real despair and loathing for the Duke in her arias despite the swirling bel canto embellishments of Rossini's typical virtuosity. Tenor Francesco Meli gilds the lily of his lovely voice by simply looking so much the part of a brave young lover overmatched by a virile villain. The servant Giorgio, sung vividly by basso Bruno Pratico, almost steals the show, showing the witty resistance to his master's tyranny of an incipient Figaro. His scenes are genuinely funny, and contrast strongly with the melodramatic gravity of the whole libretto.
Torvaldo e Dorliska is identified as an "opera semiseria", and that alone may account for the neglect of the piece for nearly two hundred years. Nineteenth Century audiences wanted their seria operas all serious, and their buffa operas all buffoonish. In this opera, Rossini follows Shakespeare in blending dark humor into his serious business, both musically and dramatically. Verdi, when he set Shakespeare to music, studiously avoided that mixing of genres; there's no humor of any sort in Verdi's MacBeth.
Another way to think of Rossini's Torvaldo E Dorliska is as a "rescue opera", a genre modeled by Beethoven's Fidelio. That gives me a grand idea! Opera composers, if any of you chance to read this review! How would you like to collaborate on an opera semiseria based on Buster Keaton's film The General, or Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times?
Everything about this DVD is delightful - the music of course, the staging, the singing, and the recording. This is as good as an opera film can get."
Music Rescues All
Dr. John W. Rippon | Florida | 02/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Torvaldo e Dorliska is a "Rettungsstuck", a rescue opera in the manner of Beethoven, Fidelio and many many others of that period. The main characters Torvaldo and Fidelio are similar. The evil Pizzaro of Fidelio is akin to Duca d'Ordow of Torvaldo. The featured couple are married and their's is a strong conjugal love that defies the evil machinations of the duke. These are all cardboard characters of one dimension. Only the duke's valet Giogio has any development as does Rocco in Fidelio. The opera was premiered December 26 1815 just a few month's after the opening of Elisabettta regina d'Inghliterra and his next would be Il barbiere di Siviglia in February of 1816. He was in the prime of his powers and was working rapidly. We must remember that Rossini was not intent on creating immortal art; he was a craftsman and a businessman. He was making money by entertaining the hoi aristoi and rising middleclass. He was busy. There was a contract to fill for the Teatro Valle in Rome and there was a readymade standard libretto available so he set to work. Yes the story is dull, artificial but so what! As the first reviwer says "I'm still clapping". The music is wonderful. Just simply wonderful. The Finale of act one is an extraordinay Rossinian crescendo. There are many many concerted trios, quartets and a quintet along with great chorus and delightful arias, Yes the music rescues all."