Wow! I feel drained.
Archie | Ottawa ON Canada | 02/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the problems with listening to sung music on the radio or on CD is that unless one knows the language and can understand the words one loses out on the total experience. The composer has spent much time and effort trying to marry the music to the words; and that is often lost.
That is certainly not a problem with this DVD, "The Full Monteverdi". Not only are there subtitles, but the acting by the whole ensemble leaves one in no doubt as to what is going on: the breaking-up of a relationship can be hell.
The language of the sixteenth century Italian poetry is admittedly flowery and florid, but when married to the music of Monteverdi it becomes a very intense emotional experience. There are six couples (one singer and one actor) in a restaurant, in the throes of disintegrating relationships. The couples do not interact with each other -- they have enough to contend with, but the singing is as an ensemble. The camerawork and editing, along with the occasional flashback and outside scene add considerably to the excellent singing and acting.
I had the mistaken impression that madrigals were about fun and frolic. Not so here. The emotion is raw and intense. But it feels true and it can be cathartic. Who knows, it might also help hold a relationship together.
This is well worth experiencing. Very highly recommended"
Steven Guy | Croydon, South Australia | 02/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD should come with a warning: Dangerously raw emotional material inside! I felt so emotional after watching five minutes of this DVD I had to have a break. Yes, it is that powerful.
The DVD contains the enture 4th book of madrigal by Claudio Monteverdi, presented in a staged way. Sceptical? Have a look, my friend, and prepare to be astonished.
An intense, emotionally raw and uncompromising look at madrigals - how they work, what they're about, how they might be presented and how important the best are when we want to examine our emotions, motives and well being.
The Full Monteverdi is a film, as the editorial has suggested, and it depicts some very emotional moments between six couples in a modern restaurant. The film was directed by John La Bouchardière and Robert Hollingworth is the musical director of I Fagiolini.
Each member of I Fagiolini is paired with a non-singing actor:
Anna Crookes [soprano] + Pano Masti [actor]
Carys Lane [soprano] + Alan Mooney [actor]
Clare Wilkinson [mezzo-soprano] + Mark Denham [actor]
Nicholas Mulroy [tenor] + Katharine Peachey [actress]
Matthew Brook [baritone] + Anna Skye [actress]
Giles Underwood [bass] + Gina Peach [actress]
The film is based upon stage performances and this really shows - both the singers and actors bring a great depth of experience to each of the madrigals. Monteverdi almost certainly didn't intend the Quarto Libro to be performed as a cycle, but it works remarkably well and it is immensely satisfying to behold and hear. The near silence between each madrigal further charges the emotional atmosphere of this production. The whole thing is a triumph and a brilliant conception. I hope I Fagiolini is tempted to do something similar with other High Renaissance and Early Baroque works. I believe a DVD of the Balli from the Libro ottavo dei madrigali of Monteverdi is under consideration.
Buy, buy, buy!
You should, you know!
PS: I forgot to mention that there are no 'extras' [i.e. cast interviews or scenes behind the making of the film] on the DVD - just the film and some chapter, audio & subtitle options. However, the DVD booklet does contain a generous amount of information."
Three Stars to Denote Ambiguity
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 09/08/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I could go either way on this staged version of Monteverdi's Fourth Book of Madrigals. I could say, sure, watch it once, just for the concept, especially if you've never quite captured the "affect" of late Renaissance poetry and music about love. Or I could say, avoid it at all costs, since the music is oddly truncated - polyphony stripped to one voice! - and the singing scarcely competes with what's available on CD from ensembles like La Venexiana and the Consort of Musicke. And the acting by the singers... either very impressive sincerity from people who really look like you and me, less than mannequin-perfect; or else unleavened dumpiness, cinema so close to verite that it's as false as reality TV.
In any case, I doubt that I'll watch it twice. Let that stand as my advice to rent it, not buy it, if you have an urge to see/hear an interesting experiment."