Lots of Feathers, But Never Takes Wing
Randy Buck | Brooklyn, NY USA | 12/23/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Great to see the more obscure Donizetti repertoire getting attention, but this production lacks the sparkle, wit and sense of fun that really makes comic opera fly. Recorded at Bergamo at the Donizetti festival, the musical values on display are fine; Italian musicians have this style in their veins. The theatrical end, though, is another matter. The set, massive and battleship-grey, is more suited to opera seria than romantic farce. The director's moved the action to the 20's, for no discernable reason (could we please have a moratorium on the 20's through the 60's for opera updates, lasting at least the next decade or so?), and provided the cast with lots of singularly unfunny "comic" business, much of it featuring enough maribou for ten productions of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES. While watching the singers totter in high heels or blow stray feathers from their mouths, the unhappy viewer has plenty of time to reflect on what an elusive quality charm is -- and how it can't be taught, even to the most willing pupil. There's not a jot on display here, merely loads of self-satisfaction, and the opera suffers sorely from the lack. As usual with Dynamic dvds, the technical quality's high. Recommended for checking out the opera only, not the production."
All opinions are good
Recchia Roberto Teodoro | Milano, Mi Italy | 12/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Just to re-estabilish a balance, and in the greatest respect of anybody's opinion, here is a review (and not the most enthusiastic one) of this production, originally staged at Wexford Festival Opera:
George Hall (Financial Times and The stage):
Indeed the wit and charm of the piece are very ably presented in Roberto Recchia's lively production and Ferdia Murphy's 1920s designs, while Donizetti's top-class score is expertly revealed under the baton of Michele Mariotti. The second act is nothing short of hilarious.
At the centre of proceedings is the immaculately judged Don Gregorio of Paolo Bordogna, very much a star account of the embarrassed tutor of Donizetti's original title. An evening of delight and another worthwhile Wexford rediscovery.
This is just one amongst the dozens of reviews, and none of them badly received the show, neither in Ireland, nor in the three revivals in Italy (Bergamo, Fano and Catania). Not to mention the general response of the audience.
Now, judge for yourself who was right...
Dr. John W. Rippon | Florida | 03/11/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"That Donizetti had a genius for serious opera is well decumented in Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarta, Marino Faliero, Lucia, Lucrezia Borgia, La Favorita (a favorite) and dozens more. That he had a genius and flare for comic opera shines in such operas as La Fille du Regiment, Don Pasquale, L' elisir d'amore and many more. Donizelli was a opera composer by profession. He wrote not so much for deathless art but for money. And he wrote and wrote; some seventy operas, many quickly and of varying quality. Don Gregorio has many fine points and certainly some of the musical numbers sparkle and the orchstration is in parts right on and delightful. But the parts do not a whole make. I think I could enjoy it more as a CD recording and not watch that excessively silly production. Just what is the point of drag business? Why 20's costumes? Donizetti does not need slap-stick to be funny. There are many many good Donizettis out there waiting to be revived as Maria Padilla, Gabriella di Vergy, L'assedio di Calais, Gemma di Vergy etc. With gems out there why bother with this feather weight? (and forget the feathers!)"