How do you make the damn thing work?
Jerome M. Hand | 01/23/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I like this production very much! The gals are better singers than the guys, which is okay because they are supposed to be; they are, after all, the leads. The opera itself is almost a study in stasis, despite the music Bellini provides for variety of action and concomitant emotions, but the constant changing of projections indicates the shifts of forces among and around these two young lovers. Those projections, based on works by Carpaccio (about whom I wish more had been explained in the info that comes with the packaging of the dvd), are indeed iconographic and comment thoroughly on the plight of the lovers and explain why they are doomed. Consequently, the production has to be taken on its own terms, and, as such, allowed to explore the depths of the opera as something to be experienced on a number of levels. I think that the production is a fine collaboration between the director, the set and lighting designers, and the musicians.
Why then do I give it only three instead of five stars as a rating? Because I need to have the subtitles before me, at least for the first three or four viewings. I know that a lot of the meaning lies in the projections, but I need those subtitles, and, despite my experience with many dvds of operas, still can't get at those subtitles! I've given this dvd to people who are far more mechanically-minded than I, but they can't find them either. Last of all, I can't play the dvd on Playstation 3; being an old man, I need that sharpness and clarity both to see and hear as much as I can! If you have a solution, please let me know it. Help, please!
CORRECTION: As one of the introductory titles indicates, the icons are the subtitles, which would be fine if we were one of the few during the Late Middles Ages and Early Renaissance who knew what they were and meant. For example, knowing what the falling leaves, from what kind of tree they come, and their color and size means during the first act of the duet of the lovers increases the significance of the characters AND audiences' experience enormously. Therefore I increase my star rating of this production from 3 to 4. But do the makers of the dvd want to sell it or not? Come on, give us those subtitles!"