In its first video recording, the unfamiliar opera that follows the ultra-familiar overture is presented uncut--four hours of music, which seem shorter thanks to powerful conducting, virtuoso singing, and imaginative stagi... more »ng that often suggests more than it actually shows. Instead of scenery, a sense of time and place is evoked by projections of Swiss scenes on three large screens, and well-used props and costumes (of Rossini's era, not the Middle Ages where the action is usually set). The music is uneven but always effective and often splendid. The solo singers are good--particularly Chris Merritt in a very challenging role--and the orchestra and chorus are superb. --Joe McLellan« less
"Finally, to be able to see a full-length production of Rossini's final opera is a must for any full-fledged operaphile. The principals are equally wonderful and sing with a true dedication to the work. The production is modern and traditional at the same time using, as it does, motion pictures of the Swiss countryside rather than painted scenery. Even the ballets are included and they are charming, especially the one in the First Act. As with all La Scala DVDs, we get the quality of the original videotape with its somewhat fuzzy focus, yet the sound is much improved."
Stunning production, superbly conducted
Dennis M. Clark | Oakland, CA United States | 07/18/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This video is a wonderful document of a beautifully conceived production of this monumental opera. The use of enormous screens to project scenes from the mountains of Switzerland is superbly handled, frequently breathtaking, and the visuals always complement the mood of what is taking place on stage. (I am contrasting this to a dreadfully silly production at the San Francisco Opera that put the performers on a spinning turntable for no discernible reason at the end of the opera.) Musically the performance is very exciting, and competes well with the variously available studio recordings for overall quality, especially due to Muti's sensational conducting. All the singing is good, but the complex choral passages are particularly thrilling, and obviously thoroughly rehearsed. You'll finish this one hoping you can get a chance to see the same production on stage someday."
Released under a differnt lable in the UK
MICHAEL D DIXON | FLORENCE, KY United States | 05/06/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are a serious Rossini fan, then this UNcut Gugliemo Tell broadcast is a must have. Although this DVD has been out of print for at least a year... and very hard to find... (and yet not worth the $239 or such price tag I saw here on amazon) well simply go to amazon.co.uk and see that Opus Arte is releasing old LaScala broadcasts. I bought it and to my suprise.. they had gone back to the original source from RAI so its actually a nicer quality then the old Image DVDs. It is NTSC not the PAL as listed so it will play in the US. Hope that you enjoy its a great performance."
Great singing but dreadful production.
John P. O'leary | 02/19/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is widely available at a very cheap price, and I thoroughly recommend it to fans of Rossini. The production, however, is virtually a costumed concert performance, with the chorus on stands at the back and the soloists standing at the front. Singers move around as needed, but there is pretty much no attempt at acting the roles. They all just stand and deliver. Certainly, what they deliver is pretty good. The multi-screen idea is often effective, but all those images of running water must have been problematic for some audience members stuck in their seats for a whole long act at a time! But by all means buy this for some wonderful music beautifully performed."
Very good and now available in less expensive edition
C. Harbison | Montague, MA United States | 07/26/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This classic opera is now available in a DVD that costs about $20--an excellent buy for a complete and exciting performance of this important work. It is listed under Guglielmo Tell"