Beautifully staged, well acted, well sung
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 02/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Captain Fitzroy, whose review preceeds mine below, has condescended to give Cimarosa four stars and to suggest that "you" might not be unamused by watching Il Matrimonio Segreto, even though it's pre-Romantic. I must be an easier audience! I loved it. The sets and costumes are excellent, and the photography captures their excellence with fine cinematographic flair. The acting is as plausible as you're ever likely to see on any opera DVD. And the music is great! Cimarosa is always perceived as a half-way stopover between Mozart and Rossini. Well, he belongs in that company, and his fame during his own lifetime was not inappropriate. You will hear a lot of Rossini in Il Matrimonio Segreto, largely because Rossini borrowed a lot from Cimarosa. Mozart, by the way, was more than willing to contribute incidental arias to performances of Cimarosa's operas when singers demanded such. Give this disk a chance! If you enjoy it, I urge you also to find the CD of Cimarosa's concerto for oboe. It ranks with Mozart's and Vivaldi's for grace and pathos."
The music and comedy sparkle - a gem!
Mr. Geoffrey Lehmann | 08/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this DVD as a result of "Giordano Hussein Bruno's" favourable review above which I strongly endorse.
Domenico Cimarosa is sometimes described as a half-way house between Mozart and Rossini. This is a useful way of summarising his musical style, but it may mislead you into underestimating Cimarosa and it simplifies the chronology. (I can remember when I was a school child in the early 1950s Mozart was regarded as somehow "not profound" and a lightweight stopping place on the road from the first of the 3 big B's, Bach, to the second of the Big B's, Beethoven. Brahms was of course the 3rd Big B.)
Yes, Il Matrimonia Segreto, does perhaps sound closer to Rossini than Mozart, and was commissioned by the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Leopold not long after Mozart's death. However Cimarosa was born in 1749, 7 years before Mozart's birth year, and was ranked by many of his contemporaries more highly than Mozart. In retrospect it has become clear that Mozart was a genius of the first order, but it is a mistake to neglect lesser figures such as Cimarosa, who sometimes achieved works of outstanding brilliance such as ll Matrimonia Segreto.
While reading a book, I first tried playing the DVD with the visuals switched off - just to get some idea of the music. This was so delightful, it whetted my appetite to watch the opera.
I was not disappointed. ll Matrimonia Segreto takes place in Italy, but is based on an English comedy, The Clandestine Marriage, one of whose authors was the famous actor, David Garrick. So the opera has a strong, if absurd and hilarious story line. You know, of course, there will be a happy ending, but suspense is achieved, by wondering how the denouement will come about, which is postponed masterfully to a short and sizzling finish. The singers may be relatively little known, but they sing well, and their acting is outstanding. They all fit their roles exactly and have great stage presence. The ensemble singing has many highlights. There are also some delightful arias. For example, the secretly married heroine, Carolina, in trying to convince Count Robinson that he should not be courting her, as she is too ignorant to be the wife of a noble, sings about her inadequate knowledge of foreign languages. If she had to converse with a Frenchman, the only word she knew was "Monsieur", or an Englishman, she could only say "How do you do?", and if she met a German she had no words at all! Count Robinson, similarly tries to convince Carolina's less attractive sister, his intended, that he is totally unsuited for matrimony, claiming that he is a drunkard, a sleepwalker, a gambler and incorrigibly bad tempered.
Count Robinson, played and sung by Claudio Nicolai, steals the show - a generous, charming and worldly aristocrat who is more than a match for Carolina's deaf, bad-tempered, money-grubbing father, who is played by Carlos Feller, also marvelously. An interesting detail - all of the singers refer to Count Robinson as Il Conte Robinson-e, adding an Italian vowel at the end, except Carolina's father, who as a merchant perhaps was aware that the name should be pronounced without an added vowel."
Great comic opera ranks high on the laugh-o-meter!
P. Sutherland | Berea, Ohio, USA | 01/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've seen this three times and every time I watch it, it gets better. David Kuebler is the star of the show giving a great comic performance as Paolino, who is secretly married to Carolina, played by Georgine Resick. They want to reveal their marriage but are thwarted by a series of comic romantic misadventures where everyone declares love for the wrong person.
Barbara Daniels is wonderful as the haughty Elisetta who wants to marry Count Robinson, played by Claudio Nicolai, who wants to marry Carolina instead. Carlos Feller, the father who wants his daughters to marry into the nobility, is brilliant in the role. His sister, Fidalma, played by Marta Szirmay, adds to the fun by proposing marriage to Paolino. There are no weak links in this cast.
As others have pointed out, the music is similar to Mozart and Rossini. I don't think you'll walk away whistling any tunes, but there is some great ensemble singing here.
The whole thing is excellent and you will definitely be laughing. I recommend this production highly."