Antonio Vivaldi's opera takes place on the sorceress Alcina's enchanted island. Although old and ugly, Alcina has the magical power to make herself appear beautiful and to bewitch courtiers who set foot in her realm. Sh... more »e has tried to make her power eternal by gaining possession of the invincible guard Arontes under the statue of the wizard in the Temple of Infernal Hecate. Brought to the island by fate, the other main characters of the opera, namely the beautiful Angelica, her young Saracen lover, Medoro, and the jealous Orlando--a Christian knight and Charlemagne's nephew, who is in love with Angelica--are entwined in an intriguing love story of furious passion and despair. This San Francisco Opera production of Orlando Furioso boasts a stellar cast, headed by the American mezzo soprano, Marilyn Horne, whose undisputed mastery of the bel canto school of singing makes her one of today's finest performers. 140 minutes. Orlando: Marilyn Horne
Angelica: Susan Patterson
Alcina: Kathleen Kuhlmann
Bradamante: Sandra Walker
Ruggiero: Jeffrey Gall
Medoro: William Matteuzzi
Astolfo: Kevin Langan
Orchestra and Chorus of the San Francisco Opera, Randall Behr, conductor
Production by Pier Luigi Pizzi; directed for video by Brian Large« less
Byron Drachman | East Lansing, MI USA | 09/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a glorious work by Vivaldi. It is a live, high-energy production. Of course, you have to accept the usual blemishes and imperfections of a live production. The only other production I know is an earlier (1977) recording, also with Marilyn Horne. I was expecting to hear a baritone as Ruggiero. This production has a counter-tenor or something like that: Jeffrey Gall. Normally I find counter-tenors annoying, but Jeffrey Gall quickly won me over. In fact, all the singers are wonderful. The staging, costumes, etc. are excellent. If you like Vivaldi, you definitely want this DVD. Watch for the moments when Alcina (Kathleen Kuhlmann) flirts. You will enjoy the statues. What fun! The only disappointment is not in the production, but that no synopsis is included. There is a hint at the plot included in a few sentences on the back of the case. You will need to get the synopsis somewhere else. Just reading the back of the case and following the subtitles won't be enough to know what is happening. Why do the people who make DVD's have to be so stingy? How hard would it be to include a synopsis?"
A stunning performance of a Baroque masterwork
Luiz Abreu | California | 12/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a beautiful rare performance of one of many often- neglected Baroque masterworks. I found the production lively, faithful to the spirit of the piece. The costumes are stunningly beautiful and the arias are very well sung. Much has been said in praise of Marilyn Horne's performance so I will concentrate on Kathleen Kuhlmann's excellent performance as Alcina. Alcina's arias are among the most inspired in this work of so many inspired, moving arias and Kathleen Kuhlmann never fails to make of each a separate treat. She has great stage presence and is able to convey the idea that Alcina is in fact a very complex character: evil and selfish, yes, but also lonely and in desperate need of affection and therefore very vulnerable. Kuhlmann is also a very attractive woman, which is essential to the role. "Orlando Furioso" is a strong reminder of what many of us have known all along: Baroque opera is a treasure house of extraordinary masterpieces which modern audiences still have to discover, from the great operas of Handel to the works of the very talented Italian composers, Vivaldi being the greatest of them."
Definitely a Baroque Masterpiece
Federico Lonardi | 12/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Before I saw this work I didn't really care for Baroque opera. But since then I thought this was one of the best operas ever written. If you could compare it with food it would be dark chocolate. Vivaldi had good taste when it came to writing violin concerti but when it came to opera he was AWESOME!!! The other thing I like about this production is the performers. Marilyn Horne's voice is perfect for that sort of role. The other character that I like is Bradamante sung by Sandra Walker. I love her deep alto voice. Its definitely strong and flowing at the same time. I also like the stage set-up. The way that it transforms after each aria is awesome. I would definitely recommend this opera to any Baroque opera lover"
"This video production from S.Francisco Opera revives the first modern performance of this magnificent opera given in 1982 at the Teatro Filarmonico, Verona (Italy), with I Solisti Veneti playing and the wonderful costumes and scenes by Pier Luigi Pizzi (I was there). This production does full justice to the concept of "opera barocca" in terms of stage production, whereas on the vocal side Marilyn Horne here proves herself to have been the greatest vocalist and interpreter of the baroque opera of our times. Everyone who wants to know how a baroque opera should be performed and sung is urged to get this video. Other singers and performers are not at the same level, except William Matteuzzi (tenor). Audio transfer is good, video transfer not so good. On the whole, this is an historic (not minor) performance of the Vivaldi masterpiece (not a minor piece). Buy it!"
A Treasure Not to Miss!!
L. Jeffries Binford Jr. | Tuscaloosa, AL | 11/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is a treasure in my collection of operatic productions. Compact disc recordings are fine, but being able to "look" as well as "listen" is always better, giving one the sense of actually being there in the hall during the performance. Admittedly, Vivaldi opera can be a little less than exciting to many people, but the wonderful production and unusually fine singing should make this DVD a part of every serious opera lover's collection. Marilyn Horne is exceptionally fine in the title role, and her well-known musicality and rich voice are superb; this is exactly what one expects from Horne, and she is never disappointing. However, Miss Horne is equalled--if not surpassed--by the stunning performance by fellow mezzo-soprano Sandra Walker. Miss Walker delivers a masterful vocal technique, impeccable vocal agility, and fine acting ability in her flawless performance. When Miss Walker and counter-tenor Jeffrey Gall are paired together, sheer magic happens on the screen. This production from the San Francisco opera is a gem from top to bottom. The set design is creative, the costumes are gorgeous, the orchestra is outstanding, and the world-renowned singers are thrilling. Witnessing the musicality of Sandra Walker is worth the price of the DVD. I highly recommend this to all serious opera lovers."