wvmcl | Washington, D.C. | 02/25/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This opera is known as 'The Thieving Magpie' in English, and they probably should have used that title for this edition, since 'La Gazza Ladra' sounds to English speakers like a stomach ailment. The brilliant, rousing overture is well-known; Kubrick used it to great effect in one of the fight scenes in 'A Clockwork Orange.' The opera itself, however, is little-known and rarely-performed, which is why this German television production from the eighties may be the only chance you'll get to see it in full staging. It's a picaresque tale of village life, not unlike Massenet's 'Werther' or Verdi's 'Luisa Miller.' The plot concerns a young woman accused of capital theft by a Scarpio-like villain, her situation complicated by the fact that she is hiding her father, a deserter from Napoleon's army. Despite this dark plotline, the opera has many comic moments and is described as an opera "semiseria."The production is at a level one would expect from a provincial German opera company - quite good, in other words. The main negative is that the video transfer leaves a lot to be desired. The picture quality is OK, but the soundtrack has background noise and hiss which Kultur either couldn't, or didn't bother to, clean up. It will sound OK on a good stereo system, but don't expect that clean DVD sound, and don't try to listen to this one with headphones. Also, the English subtitles are not switchable. Nevertheless, this disk makes for an entertaining three hours and will be worth its modest price to those who like to delve into the farther corners of the operatic repertoire."
I have only watched this tape once
mackiemesser | Morehead, KY United States | 09/19/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This is a pretty good looking production of one of Rossini's non-comic operas. The visual quality has an old fashioned look like a 60's film which is a little crude but quite acceptable. The music seems to be played reasonably well. The real problem to my ear is the heroine's (Ninetta-Ileana Cortrubas) wide vibrato, usually just below pitch, and the truly abysmal wobbly inaccurate singing of the two baritone principal singers. Unless you already know the score, you will not know what the vocal lines are for these baritone arias and recitatives. I actually liked the synopsis done during the overture, the scenery and costumes and the singing on one or two of the minor roles. While the format is basically just relatively long arias joined by short sung dialogs as in other Rossini serious operas, the tunes seemed a little better than usual and the length more reasonable and generally more successful than the usual Rossini standard. So I can recommend that you see this tape if you want to know about the general structure of this opera plot is and what some of the arias sound like. On the other hand, I believe you will probably not want to see this performance more than just this once. Borrow it from a library?"
Best Cotrubas singing actress video document
simon | Montreal , Quebec | 11/13/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I am a Cotrubas fan and I have seen all her commercially available videos. This one is the best example of how good a singing actress she has been. Two years before retiring her voice is still beautiful with a large but controlled vibrato. However, I cannot put more than 3 stars on this DVD because, from a technical point of view, the singing of Cotrubas, Ellis and Kubler is too uniform to be Rossinian (lack of dynamic range and nuances). Rinaldi is more Rossinian but has an unstable vibrato. This is a very plesant production to look at. All singers are good actors and the set is bright and colorful. Overall the comic/dramatic aspect of this opera can easily be felt. In my heart this production has 5 stars."