Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Trilogy of Love - Cosi fan Tutte Don Giovanni Le Nozze di Figaro / Bruson Gasdia Panerai Scalchi Grimaldi Fardilha de Peppo Novaro Monti Martinez Teatro Argentina - Rome|
Actors: José Fardilha, Madelyn Renée Monti, Gloria Scalchi
Genres: Musicals & Performing Arts
Three of Mozart?s best-loved operas (Don Giovanni, Cosi fan tutte, Le Nozze di Figaro) together in a special collector?s set. A perfect introduction to opera on DVD!
jgarcia112 | NJ United States | 05/07/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This box-set of the three Mozart-DaPonte operas were filmed during a set of live performances in Rome in 2002. Bottom line: not one production is even remotely competitive with other performances on DVD, and my advice is to steer clear of this set entirely. The negatives are overwhelming. While the singers are for the most part young, and almost all Italian (often a plus) in this case they seem simply like inexperienced amateurs, lacking both the singing and acting chops to make these masterpieces come to life. The sets and stagings are traditional in a dull, cliched, unimaginative sort of way. The orchestra, the "Rome Philharmonic" is simply awful; tonally ugly, scrawny strings, slack ensemble, etc. From the moment I heard them "approximate" their way through the overture to Marriage of Figaro I knew I was in for an excruciating experience... To top it off, the sound is thin and washed-out, and has a low volume level which requires you to crank up the volume knob quite high to get a satisfying sound level (though given how awful the orchestra is, I doubt you'll want to amplify them too much). Oh yeah, no surround sound. Not even a PCM digital track - 2 channel dolby digital only (about the lowest standard you can get - unfortunately, this - as well as the low volume level - is typical of Kultur releases). Also no booklet, extras, or anything else that might add value (also typical of Kultur). Picture quality is good, however.These performances may have been acceptable seen live at a small, amateur, opera company, or even in a student production, but they should never have seen the light of day on DVD, and Kultur should be ashamed of themselves for releasing them to the public - even at discount price. With so many fine alternatives on the market, this just won't cut it. Although it will cost you more, I would recommend any of the following productions for those interested in these operas on DVD:Figaro: Bohm/VPO on TDK (black and white w/ mono sound, but by far the best on DVD right now - wonderful) or the Lyon production on Kultur... Cosi: Gardiner on DG (perfection)Don Giovanni: Glyndbourne production on Kulture (modern staging, but best overall so far) or for a more traditional staging, Conlon/Cologne Opera on Arthaus (not perfect, but acceptable - crummy subtitles, though)"
A mixed bag
Bob Epstein | Minneapolis | 05/04/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"These are live performances filmed in 2002 at the Teatro Argentina in Rome. They are the mastermind of Enrico Castiglione, who is in charge of stage and TV direction, set design and costumes. By and large he has done a fine job. This set is an enticing proposition, especially at the bargain price of three operas, each in a separate box, for practically the price of one. First off, the positives and there are many. Three great Mozart operas in outstanding sound, finely balanced between voices and orchestra, with woodwinds nicely forward (two channel only, sound aficionados note). The anamorphic widescreen picture is excellent, although occasionally the focus falters very briefly a few times, not a big deal. Sets are modest but traditional, unobtrusive and convincing. The singers are almost all young and fresh, offering a good deal of vocal pleasure. Plus, nearly all the characters look the part which is important. Castiglione pulls no punches with his stage direction which is straightforward and solid. Costumes are inviting and do the works justice. Audience applause is minimal and seems to have been edited out at times, keeping intact dramatic continuity.That said, the only outstanding performance here is Don Giovanni. Led by the experienced and wily Don of Renato Bruson, one of the very few veteran singers in these performances, this one crackles with excitement, fine voices and solid characterizations. Dramatically, vocally, emotionally, it all works. This is the only performance here which seems of a piece.The entire cast is strong. Bruson looks a bit old but he knows what he is doing, is in fine voice and commands the stage. He is superbly paired with possibly the best singer in all three operas, the rich, plangent Leporello of Stefano De Peppo. They feed off of each other with relish. Anna Laura Longo's Donna Anna and Amarilli Nizza's Donna Elvira are strong and excellent. Rosanna Potenza's Zerlina has the requisite charm and she is ably partnered by Alessandro Battiato's fine Masetto.The orchestra in all three operas, the Rome Philharmonic, has its best outing here under the dynamic Michael Halasz, known on CDs for his expert recordings of several operas on Naxos, including Fidelio and Magic Flute.Cosi fan tutte is a mixed bag. Besides Bruson, the other noted veteran in these casts is Rolando Panerai. His Don Alfonso, along with Daniela Mazzuccato's Despina, are well enough sung, but both seem as if they'd rather be somewhere else. Neither seems to be enjoying themselves very much.Ensemble is critical in Cosi and the chemistry among the four young, romantic leads is OK but does seem forced at times. Most convincing are the fetching Fiordiligi of Adriana Damato and the rich voiced Guglielmo of Riccardo Novaro. The stodgy conducting of Paolo Ponziano Ciardi doesn't help matters.Castiglione makes one of his only dramatic missteps in not making enough visual contrast between Guglielmo and Ferrando and their Albanian counterparts, tough as that is to pull off. A wispy moustache and new uniform simply don't cut it. It's hard to swallow for the characters and the audience.This one is decent but on DVD go to Gardiner's traditional staging and Barenboim's fetching hippy version.The weakest of these performances is Figaro, let down by the petulant, practically neurotic Susanna of Rossana Potenza. She hardly relaxes the whole time and lacks the charm the role needs. Her interactions with the cast are strained and uninviting. When Marcellina, Bartolo and Basilio badly show up Susanna, Figaro and the Countess at the end of Act 11, you know you're in trouble.The dark, well sung Figaro of José Fardilha is the vocal highlight of the performance although he comes off more as a pudgy Boy Scout than a vibrant Figaro. Tiziana Carraro's Cherubino is well enough sung although not masculine looking enough. Madelyn Renée Monti's Countess looks and acts the part but the voice is undistinguished. Unfortunately, Marco Grimaldi's Count is the weakest vocal performance in all three operas. The voice is unpleasant, actually painful and his acting dull. He and Susanna badly brought down the performance. Skip this one. Haitink's Glyndebourne Figaro and the Lyon Opera Figaro are excellent choices.All told, I give five stars to Don Giovanni, three to Cosi and one to Figaro. Subtitles are good but often too high up on the screen, interfering somewhat with the action. The orchestra is decent, the strings tending to falter occasionally, mostly in Figaro and Cosi. Annoyingly in closeups, any character with dark hair usually ends up with red hair!"
Don't do it!!!
SopranoNYC | New York, NY | 07/10/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Don't waste your money! Skip this and buy one of the world-class level DVDs of these operas that are out there rather than wasting money on this set, even if it seems like a bargain. I've only seen the Figaro and Cosi, but they weren't even at the level of a good amateur or student production...aside from the overall low level of vocal and acting skill, what I saw of the Figaro had horrifying musical slips - intonation problems, lack of ensemble, singers entering in the wrong key. I've never seen anything like it in a commercial release - certainly don't waste your money on it!"
Bob Olsen | Minnesota, USA | 09/13/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Thankfully, I did not buy these DVD's. I borrwed them through interlibrary loan.
I will not pretend to be an expert on analyzing the technical aspects of opera. I am not a musician. I only know that since my childhood I have loved opera.
This is hardly opera. Compared to some of the world-class productions that are out there, this seems, as one other reviewer wrote, to be amateur, as if it were performed by a youth group.
Where to start? First, the Rome Philharmonic bumbles on the edge of incompetence. There are several instances, for example "Se Vuol Ballare, Signor Contino," in which the brass section is so discordant as to be almost painful to the ear. Did anyone ever listen to "A Musical Joke?" I am not at all joking to say this is highy reminiscent of that earlier Mozart musical satire. There is also a problem in the string section, almost as if the recording of each string player had been taken from a series of different performances and dubbed together into one. There is not a lot of cohesion. Further, who the hell is Boris Brott? He sure can not hold an orchestra together with his baton.
The singers seem to have been chosen based on 1)Being Italian and 2)Being visually what you might imagine the character to look like in an ideal world. Yes, Susanna is a beautiful young woman. Who cannot sing. I would ten times rather to a god-awfully ugly woman who has a sublime voice than a nobody in the global opera community who is drop-dead gorgeous.
Castiglione in all three of these stagings has sacrificed the substance and intricate musical chorepgraphy characteristic of the mature Mozart for appearance.
In no way can these be considered to be world-class productions. The cost for three operas is what one world-calibre performance on DVD might cost. And at that it is overpriced.
Spare yourself the agony and stay away from this box set."