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Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro - Franz Welser-Most
Mozart Le Nozze di Figaro - Franz Welser-Most
Actors: Michael Volle, Martin Zysset, Martina Jankova, Carlos Chausson, Malin Hartelius
Director: Felix Breisach
Genres: Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2009     3hr 12min

This production of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro caused a sensation when it first came out, stunning critics and audiences alike with its perfect balance of joyous humor, improvisatory brilliance, and always subtle music-mak...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Michael Volle, Martin Zysset, Martina Jankova, Carlos Chausson, Malin Hartelius
Director: Felix Breisach
Genres: Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Classical
Studio: EMI Classics
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 02/24/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/2009
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 3hr 12min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: German

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Movie Reviews

Schrott: the Go-To Figaro
David D. Dollinger | Pasadena, CA | 03/04/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is Schrott's second Figaro in a less than twelve month period, the earlier being the ROH production. The two productions have vast differences as well as similarities. The ROH production as been set in the equivalent of the Regency period--Spanish version. The Zurich is set in what appears to be the 1950's. For those who note such things, Schrott can appear sans shirt, but in an undershirt in the Zurich house. Vocally there is no difference between the two performances. The man has a glorious multi-hued voice over which he has complete command. Not only is he good looking he can act. He should have a great career. Indeed, the virile sound he produces would lead one to wonder if the great Verdi baritone roles are within his ability.

The other main vocalist is Malin Hartelius, the Countessa. She has developed from a Pamina lyric to a patrician lyric who one day will make a superb Marschallin. In fact Ms. Hartelius is the only countessa who is able to make the class distinction between Susanna and Rosina--not since Schwarzkopf has there been a singer who understands this social division.

The remaining singers, Martina Jovanka (Susanna) Michael Volle (Count) and Judith Schmid (Cherubino) are good if not quite comparable to their counterparts at ROH. My main complaint with this production is the variable sonics: the harpsichord accompanying the recits is barely audible for much of the time. This is most annoying since this is a problem which surely could have been corrected before the DVD was released.

Which Figaro to choose? This new Zurich prodcution will win no plaudits from me. Sven-Eric Bechtolf is responsible for some bizarre productions at Zurich, notably the Rosenkavalier and Pelleas. The Figaro is almost a model of conservatism but not of imagination--budgetary constraints? The ROH production is far more opulent. The most beautiful production is the Rene Jacobs' performance. The weakness in that set is the Countessa, Annette Dasch, more of a Susanna than a Rosina. The John Eliot Gardiner boasts the same weakness. These two performances are HIP if that is a consideration. Because it is so reasonbly priced the first Glyndebourne performance should be in everyone's collection, if only for the great performance of Von Stade's early Cherubino, a role she owned for many years. The second Glyndebourne is very good, but Renee Fleming lacks the magic that she can be capable of. Bottom line: no one performance has all the virtues that one looks for, but then that is true of most DVD's."
Jesse Knight | woburn ma usa | 03/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is the first Figaro I have heard, starting with the 1934 Glyndebourne recording, where the Countess, with all her conflicted emotions, gets a perfect rendition. I have come to expect great insights from Malin Hartelius, but this performance exceeded my expectations. Her dramatic performace in no way compromised her musical accuracy,at any time. She has given every phrase her full attention, in the best tradition of lieder singing. The audience responded with long applause.

Michael Volle, as the Count, also pleased. He is a good bit more dramatic than Rodney Gilfry on the Gardiner DVD. Hillevi Martinpelto, the countess on the Gardiner DVD, is very reserved in the solos, but comes alive in the ensembles.

The remaining singers are about equal on both these DVDs, which brings me to the conductors. Welser-Most offers a beautiful subjective interpretation with flexible tempi that never drag or race. Gardiner gives an ideal performance according to HIP standards. I enjoy both.

Staging is another matter. The Gardiner is staged by Jean Louis Thamin, minimalist but traditional. This new production staged by Sven-Eric Bechtolf is sexually highly charged, although I did not spot any nudity. Every possible Freudian reference is fully exploited. At first I rebelled, but watching this a second time, I began to see some value in this. Unlike Bechtolf's Rosenkavalier and Don Giovanni, the added action is more focussed. In other words, this action while a bit hyper, does add to the comprehension of the story. As I write this, Cleveland Ohio critics are giving the, very similar, Severance Hall performances great reviews. If you don't accept Mozart's "potty mouth" childish side, you may want to avoid this DVD and get the Gardiner one.