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Thread: Rossini on DVD and Blu-ray

  1. #91
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    I picked up the old Met production of Il Barbiere on DVD recently. It stars the wonderful Enzo Dara as Dr Bartolo and Rockwell Blake as Almaviva. Coupled with Kathleen Battle and leo Nucci i thought i was onto a winner. Now, i love Enzo Dara and actually i quite like Kathleen Battle-yes, she is a prima donna and looks it but she has a very pleasant tone. Leo Nucci i have enjoyed his Macbeth and Nabucco but here he just seems to shout. The worst (and i was suprised) is Rockwell Blake who just seems to be trying too hard and singing too loud. For me he really messes up '"Ecco, ridente in cielo" .....i think Florez just about gets away with it these days but Blake murders it and the opera just loses its 'flow' for me from that moment on.

    So i return to the old but my favourite production -the Glyndebourne DVD with - John Rawnsley, Maria Ewing and the fabulous and stylish Max-Rene Cosotti as Almaviva. I don't care much for Maria Ewings Doe eyes and huge lips but John Rawnsley gives a masterful lesson in this role and i love Cosotti's humour and elegance as almaviva.

    I have the early Florez DVD from Madrid (i think) with Maria Bayo is Rosina- and i don't care for her insipid portrayal.

  2. #92
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    Default Il Barbiere di Siviglia

    I own three DVDs with Il Barbiere. My favorite is the one from Glyndebourne festival with Maria Ewing, John Rownsley, Max-Rene Cossotti, Claudio Desderi, Ferruccio Furlanetto and Catherine McCord.



    This production is awesome. I love Maria Ewing as Rosina. She is young, beautiful, ingenuous, very much like my ideal Rosina. I enjoyed her singing, with beautiful coloratura, and a crisp/creamy voice that made her almost perfect in this role. But the best is, in fact, John Rownsley as Figaro. He is by far, the best Figaro I own on DVD. I loved both his voice and acting. I didn't like Cossotti's singing, and that's the only weak link, for me. I had problems with his aspirating type of coloratura...otherwise, great acting. Desderi is ideal for Bartolo. His powerful, agile voice and his acting abilities perfectly expressed the malicious character of his role. Furlanetto, in his basso-buffo role, again, wonderful, like all this beautiful classical production.
    The image is 4:3, not bad, for a 1987 recording.

    The other beautiful Barbiere is this one:



    This recording comes from Schwetzingen Festival in 1988. Rosina is sung by young Cecilia Bartolli that shows her great voice agility that creates a perfect coloratura. The only not so nice thing is her wonderful voice is not powerful enough, and it gets lost in many duets/chorus instances. Still she is so amazingly good.
    David Kuebler's Almaviva is beautifully sung and his comic acting as the drunken soldier or false Don Alonso, is expertly done. We have here one of the tallest, handsome Almaviva ever...on a DVD.
    Figaro, again is lucky to be played by an amazingly talented, charming, energetic singer, Gino Quillico.
    Also, deserving praise, is Robert Lloyd's wryly sinister Don Basilio. He gets huge ovation after his La calunnia aria. Carlos Feller's Don Bartolo is not really flawless. He plays it well, but his voice is a bit hollow...maybe due to his age. I loved him overall, but he was far from Desderi rendition on the other DVD.

    My third DVD is the worst:
    51tprsjzH0L._SL500_AA300_.jpg

    I did not like almost anything in this production. I didn't enjoy Maria Bayo as Rosina. She looked OK, but a bit old, but that wouldn't have been a problem, but she skipped all the high notes, even though she sings the role as a soprano. Pietro Spagnoli, must have had a bad day, as his Largo al factotum, is weak and without enough energy. The costumes/settings didn't help either. As Bartolo, Bruno Pratico plays up the buffo parts of his role to terrific effect.
    As you know, Juan Diego Florez just stole the show. He is AMAZING. He was also lucky to be among the few for whom the costumes worked for the role they played.
    The concept behind this settings is interesting, but the result did not fit my taste. Maybe with a better singing, this would look nice. But with all the flaws, the weird scenography is the cherry on a stale cake.
    I don't recommend this DVD, in spite of JDF greatness, and the crisp image and sound.

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  4. #93
    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    I have the J-Flo but don't like it. Don't know the other two, I'm waiting for the 2007 one from The Met which according to Opera Video Collector is going to be released eventually.
    Ann

  5. #94
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    Default La Cenerentola

    I have 2 DVDs with Cenerentola. Both are very good.



    Angelina (Cenerentola); Ruxandra Donose
    Clorinda; Raquela Sheeran
    Tisbe; Lucia Cirillo
    Alidoro; Nathan Berg
    Don Magnifico: Luciano Di Pasquale
    Don Ramiro: Maxim Mironov
    Dandini: Simone Alberghini
    London Philharmonic Orchestra and The Glyndebourne Chorus
    Conductor: Vladimir Jurowski
    Director: Sir Peter Hall

    My favorite is again the Glyndebourne 2005 production, with a fine cast led by Ruxandra Donose in the title role. She has beautiful voice and presence that helped a lot in the story of Cinderella. Her rich dark mezzo voice, almost within the contralto range, is supple and lyrical. I loved her in this Angelina role.
    I also liked her prince, Maxim Mironov. He has a light, but powerful enough, agile lyric voice. The step sisters are deliciously wicked, and in great voice.
    Simone Alberghini, true dark bass-baritone, is ideal for the role in looks and gesture, and he brings depth to the role. In a way he looked like the real prince, as Maxim was more on the boyish type.
    The London Philharmonic is nicely conducted by the youthful Vladimir Jurowski.
    This is just a wonderful DVD with excellent singing, acting, costumes, and sets.

    The other take on Cinderella is actually a film from Director Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, and is beautiful both in its settings and singing.



    The youthful Von Stade is a lovely Angelina. Her singing is wonderful and her voice is lighter than Ruxandra Donose’s dark mezzo found on the other DVD of Cenerentola.
    Francisco Araiza plays Don Ramiro and Claudio Desderi plays Dandini. Their singing/acting is almost flawless.
    Paulo Montarsolo sings the role of Don Magnifico, with great success. The Sisters (Maria Guglielmi and Laura Zannani) both sing well and are very funny, though they tend to squeal too much.
    Claudio Abbado conducts the orchestra, sticking to the lyrical Rossinian style.
    As I said, this is a movie, so the sound was recorded before the filming. I tend to prefer the live recordings, but I liked this movie, and I try to ignore it is not live.
    Last edited by sabrina; Oct-21-2012 at 21:52. Reason: removing a mistake

  6. #95
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    Default La Gazzetta

    I recently bought La Gazzetta DVD.



    This is the only production that was burn on a DVD up to now. So there is no competition. As Alma said in his review, this is a gem. I wonder why it is not more popular. I think one reason might be the fact that some parts are refurbished from Il Turco in Italia and La Cenerentola.
    I had no problem with this practice.
    This production is wonderful. In the beginning I struggled a little, mostly during the rap sequence reminding Rossini's La Danza, but in a rap take. I swallowed it as it was, and it did not taste as bad as I previously thought. I liked the ballet part. The singing was also very good.
    Cinzia Forte is a gorgeous Lisetta. She looks almost better than the ballerinas. Her voice is clear, flexible and with flawless coloratura. I also loved Charles Workman as Alberto. This another very tall, but light, lyric tenor. He had a wonderful Rossinian voice.
    I specially payed attention to Pietro Spagnoli, as I didn't like his Figaro from Il Barbiere, but he is much better in Filippo's role. He is a wonderful baritone, but I just think Figaro was a role that did not fit his voice...
    Bruno Pratico is again very funny! He almost seemed to struggle to the physicality of the production. I would say, his singing was just OK.
    Simon Orfila is a wonderful bass/baritone, but his part was quite small. All the other singers are wonderful.
    This is the only opera where I laughed like crazy, at some of their gags. I don't know how far did they go from Rossini's indications. They definitely took some liberties in the text and music.
    All around, this is a beautiful Gazzetta and I recommend it to everybody liking Rossini.
    I bought the DVD, not the Bluray, due to the big difference in price. Mine was less than 10 bucks. My expensive receiver upgrades itself the image, so I don't know, but the image looked crisp on my big LCD. Sound is either stereo or DTS Surround. I used the DTS and it sounded very good. It comes with 2 double layer DVDs, which could be a hassle, but if you go to a live opera, you still get up when there is the break between acts...
    So a little gym is good for everybody

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    Senior Member Aksel's Avatar
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    La gazzetta is really funny, although it's been a while since I saw it. But I remember enjoying it immensely. Especially the chickens. And all the Neapolitan. And the man in the dress. It seems like you can't stage a Neapolitan farsa without a baritone in drag these days.

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  10. #97
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    It seems that this thread needs revitalizing, since there have been some stellar Rossini DVD and Blu ray releases since the last post.

    1. There is now a Blu ray of the Met's splendid La Cenerentola with Mme Garanca and aa excellent cast.
    2. There is the Zelmira from the ROH with JDF and Kate Aldrich, where the singing is amazing and the staging ain't.
    3. There is the phenomenal Matilde di Shabran with JDF and Olga Peretyatko.
    4. There is the scintillating Le Comte Ory with JDF, DiDonato and Damrau
    5. Rumor has it that both the ROH La Donna del Lago and the ROF Guillaume Tell, both with JDF will issue before the end of days.

    Considering how recently Rossini's opera seria came to be properly regarded as fine operas, it is gratifying to see the increase of really high level performances of these works.

  11. #98
    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elgarian View Post
    She is simply wonderful, isn't she? I'm not at all fond of the opera itself, and I'm very resistant to the 'panto' production aspects of this movie - but she keeps me watching, just hanging on for her next appearance. (Her recording of Massenet's Cendrillon, with Ruth Welting's astounding Fairy Godmother is a similar must-have. It's not a DVD of course - audio only - though I feel as if I have vivid visual memories of it.)
    You inspired me to purchase a CD of Massenet's Cendrillon with Frederica Von Stade. Her voice is amazing on that CD.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Note on previous post: I got rid of Cendrillon. It just irritated me.


    Quote Originally Posted by Aksel View Post
    This production has been discussed at least at some length in this thread, though there is no detailed review of it. Also, it's late, I'm not tired, and I figured I should have at least something to do.

    The opera in question is La cenerentola by Rossini (who'da thunk it?). This is the 1981 film directed by Jean-Pierre Ponelle and conducted by Claudio Abbado.



    ...The singers are actually lip-synching, ...
    Lip-synching! Bummer! Now I will probably find some place where it is off a bit and evermore be bothered. Ah well, if that is what it took to make such a magnificent production, so be it, but I will certainly appreciate live operas all the more.
    Last edited by Fritz Kobus; May-16-2015 at 04:25.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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