Superb, intimate, entertaining.
OperaOnline.us | Boston, MA | 05/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The original tape of this new DECCA DVD was released in 1991 when Cecilia Bartoli was only 34 years-old. It's time to upgrade, and this DVD is worth every penny. "A Portrait" is appropriate and descriptive of what you get here. Divided into two parts, one part consists of an informal look at Bartoli in concert, in practice, at home, driving through the streets of Italy, joking, interviewing, watching TV, working with her mother who is her singing coach, preparing dinner, even Flamenco dancing (Bartoli originally wanted to be a Flamenco dancer) and just being herself; and the second part consists of a more formal presentation in concert at London's Savoy Hotel to the accompaniment of a piano. Together, what emerges is 107 minutes of sheer, relaxing, intimate pleasure, as the camera captures the essence of and effort that goes into the making of a world renowned opera singer. The travelogue, along, with the beautiful scenes of Venice and its channels and gondoliers, Rome, with its Coliseum and mountain top villas, and Bartoli driving through the streets, practicing her singing technique while behind the wheel, adds a dimension that enhances the whole experience by giving us a glimpse of the person behind the voice. It is hypnotic, entertaining and informative achievement -- again, only this time better -- because of the DVD format. Technically, the DVD has it all over the tape. You can move from track to tract or skip entire tracks - backward and forward - and never have to rewind. The sound quality is excellent and the picture is nothing less than what you would expect from a digital recording. This is a DVD to enjoy with friends who appreciate opera, and if they happen to enjoy Bartoli, this is a DVD to share with friends over fine bottle of wine or champagne."
Enjoyable, but no subtitles?
spacedog | boston, ma United States | 11/01/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"this release includes a mini-documentary about cecilia and a full-length concert in england. the mini-documentary is entertaining as it shows a very young cecilia (24 years old) at the beginning of what has become a one in a million career. the interviews are with her mother, a british record producer, the editor of opera magazine, and, of course, cecilia. also included are some segments showing cecilia's daily life, rehearsing with her mother, cooking, recording, and driving around. the concert is for the most part enjoyable; mostly art songs and a few arias, and in general very heavy on the rossini. highlights include an absolutely stunning slow song by vivaldi and "una voce poco fa" from rossini's barber of seville. however, the front camera-view was consistently shaky (distractingly so), and my biggest gripe is that there are no subtitles for the entire concert! surely this would've been an easy thing to do, esp. since not all of the selections are well-known."