It's the singing
Mr John Haueisen | WORTHINGTON, OHIO United States | 12/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This production of Mozart's Abduction from the Seraglio is sung in German with subtitles in English, German, Italian, French, Spanish, and Chinese. Karl Bohm conducts the Bavarian State Opera Orchestra. Edita Gruberova and Francisco Araiza do full justice to Mozart's beautiful music. Araiza's voice is simply sweet and flawless. Gruberova shows herself to be a master singer, a true prima donna, in the best sense of the term. Her "Marten alle Arten" aria captures a beautiful Mozart moment in time, as if it were a dazzling little snow-globe you want to hold in your hands, and cherish forever. Although the story line is basically a boyfriend breaking into a harem to free his girlfriend, the greater message is what all the characters learn from the Pasha: Wise is the person who realizes that you cannot force someone to love you. This is a classic performance of the incredibly beautiful Mozart melodies. Some other productions have more colorful costuming and stage sets; this one has a more traditional approach, with the emphasis on classic bel canto, where you listen more for the beautiful art of singing. If you prefer the SINGING to the set and costumes, this is the one for you."
Enjoyable performance of less popular opera
Mrs. Sunar Tjahjono | Jakarta, Indonesia | 05/27/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Although this opera of Mozart is not on the same popularity as Don Giovanni and Le Nozze de Figaro, however it is still Mozart's enchanting melodious,cheerful and spirited music. It is also enhanced by the divine singing of Edita Gruberova as Constanze with her clear coloratura voice performing with mafnificent passion in this opera. Regretfully the tenor Francisco Araiza as Belmonte, although his singing is quite good apparently has no matching voice to Gruberova. His solo singing is as superb as ever, but all duets with Gruberova sounds rather unharmonized.However, by adding Reri Grist as Blonde and Norbert Orth as Pedrillo, together made all the unharominized sounds better in the next following quartets, which is really beautiful and overlay any imperfections. The entire performance itself is presented magnificently due to the background sets and the costumes which are so splendid and give the right imagination of the place of the story itself.
Last but not least, the performance in its entirety is enjoyable, especially the divine solo arias sung by Edita Gruberova, which can be regarded as one in the height of her successful performances."
Live performance and Video from late in Bohm's career
Alan Majeska | Bad Axe, MI, USA | 11/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Whether or not you purchase this video will depend largely on how much you admire Karl Bohm (1894-1981), the Austrian conductor who made hundreds of recordings (many of them for DG) with the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Dresden State Orchestra, and Bavarian State orchestra. I for one am such an admirer of Bohm-I would get almost any recording he made if the price is within reason in a month that's not too tight budget-wise. For this Mozart "Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail", I bought the DVD in 2003, and have enjoyed it from time to time ever since.
The singers: Edita Gruberova, Francisco Araiza, Reri Grist, Martti Talvela, and Norbert Orth, are all very fine, even if Araiza doesn't compete with Fritz Wunderlich in his celebrated 1965 DG recording, with Eugen Jochum and the Bavarian State Opera. Some opera fans may be more picky about sets, staging, or tempos than I am, but I found all this most enjoyable. One caveat: there are ensemble imperfections between Grist and Talvela in their duet about 1/3 way through the opera, and the 6/8 tempo in one section is too slow: it should really move. Compare this with the same duet in the Wunderlich/Jochum recording, and see what I mean.
DG has re-released this video, perhaps in better sound and picture quality, for about $25.00. I haven't seen the newer edition, but am guessing it is superior to this earlier DVD release. For this DVD, the picture is full screen and quite clear, and the camera work is very good: each soloist is shown in context when alone, or with the group on stage in ensembles.
Balances between soloists and orchestra are fine, which is more difficult in live opera productions than in the studio where conditions are more conducive to capturing a good recording.
I don't know another DVD recording of "Die Entfuhrung" for comparison, but would recommend either the Bohm/Dresden Staatskapelle (DG CD), Beecham/Royal Philharmonic (EMI, mono) or Jochum/Bavarian State Opera (DG CD, with Fritz Wunderlich as Belmonte!) as alternatives: the Jochum/Wunderlich above all others."
Probably The Last Video of Karl Bohm Conducting
BLee | HK | 05/26/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I watched this opera side by side with "Don Giovani" conducted by Furtwangler, another Mozart opera produced by DG. The orchestra here is Bayeriscshen conducted by Karl Bohm, a favourite conductor of mine. With Bohm, we have perhaps a little more lyricism but we don't have the sort excellent support to the singers as we have from Furtwangler. Nor is here Furtwangler's full sense of drama or power. The orchestra was nearly as good as Vienna Philharmonic, but the singers are remarkably weaker. One supposes that got nothing to do with the language in which it was sung, for it intended by Mozart to be sung in German. So, despite the recording was made some twenty years later, technology doesn't help much, even though photography is much and settings are marginally better. Nonetheless, this one is all fun to watch. In my own list, this would have to come next to Furtwangler's Don Giovani if one has to choose just one."