A gem from Massenet
Richard | Minneapolis, Mongolia | 04/02/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"We are unlikely to see a live performance of this opera. While understandable - it is a shame. For it is Massenet's last masterpiece. How can you take a 900 page novel and compress it into an hour and a half opera? Massenet does. He strips it down to essentials while giving Dulcinea a greater part. The music is suffused with Spanish flavor - a kind of companion piece to Carmen. Fortunately Teatro Verdi, Trieste has given us a consolation in this beautiful production. The singing is at least adequate and often more than. The production is spare but imaginative - yes the windmills are there. Like the original this is an homage to the vanished age of chivalry and Massenet brings the Don to affecting operatic life."
Welcome DVD, but comes with flaws
libriarsque | Texas | 04/27/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, it is nice to to see and hear this rarity; though not Massenet's best score, it certainly has its marvelous moments. Of course, the title role is a great vehicle for any fine bass (one thinks of Sam Ramey, who is now the right age for it), and the other two principals, Dulcinee and Sancho are given ample opportunities to shine.
All three singers give a competent perfomance in what is at times a rather static (and sometimes cryptic) staging. Alessandro Corbelli's Sancho livens things up considerably when the going gets slow and, as usual, gives his character dimension and depth, particularly in the final scenes of both acts. In the title role, Giacomo Prestia displays dignified, if somewhat wooly, tone. Laura Polverelli is a dusky Dulcinee, not the most beautiful mezzo voice, but perhaps the audio has something to do with it.
The audio quality is somewhat disappointing: I found myself turning up the volume one minute to better hear the singers, and the next minute frantically turning it back down when my ears were suddenly assaulted by piercing piccolos and pounding percussion. This happened more times than was comfortable for enjoyable listening. It might have been my equipment, but other opera DVDs sound fine, so I assume it was the fault of poor mic placement and subpar sound engineering.
All in all, it's a nice addition to a truly avid opera devotee's comprehensive DVD collection, but perhaps not for those just starting theirs."
Interesting and nice but not amazing
A. Lupu | Rochester, MN USA | 05/25/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"An interesting opera from a master composer. regrettably, the audio is disappointing. A recording done in 2006 shouldn't be so flat as this one. The singers are not exceptional but good enough. Corbelli is a very good Sancho and brings lot's of life to the performance.
Still, it is the only DVD recording I know of and a good way to know this opera."