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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Nice two hours again with Nemorino and AdinaApril 13 2011
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There are a lot of things going for this production and many that can be criticized.
The biggest minus point here seems to be the recorded music.
1. It is too soft when the soloists sing and blasts when the choruses come into their own. One has to sit with the remote in hand, toning down the volume when the chorus sings and upping it when the soloists do their thing.
2. Mauritzio Benini seems to have taken the music and himself for granted. NOPE. It does not work for me. Ever so many nuances and stuff have not been attended to, and the whole conducting lacks any bite. It sounds akin to a routine performance of a work like Schubert's 8th or Beethoven's 5th on a Sunday afternoon with players indented from the whole countryside. Sorry. Luckily the music is so famous and so well known that the Donizetti lover's brain adjusts itself to what it should actually hear, from what there actually is.
Having said that, Let me come to what goes so beautifully for this production
1. Great Video. Blacks are not grainy and the lack of lighting overall does not for one moment make it into a grainy production like ever so many other blu rays.
2. Excellent Casting. All the soloists as well as the ensemble has been chosen excellently.
3. Staging and direction: Top class with the exception of the fact that Nemorino is just too harshly treated and so badly regarded at the beginning that it takes a bit of convincing oneself that Adina can actually fall in love (or is in love) with him. A little too physical as far as his torments go. The role given to James Bellorini as Dulcamara's assistant is just out of this world. He fills in the gaps many a times when the rendition gets a little routine. A masterstroke incorporating such a role for the assistant.
4. Singing is Superb. Peter Auty has one of the most expressive renditions... one of the most lyric interpretations of Nemorino that I have ever heard. An unusually soft tenor voice that he deploys for this role, which although may not be as expressive as Villazon (in the production with Maria Bayo), still does give Nemorino a very soft and soothing yet sensitive quality to the role. Thankfully he is not as piercing and powerful as say, Alagna who totally spoils the character of Nemorino thus. Ekatrina Siurina, whose voice is not too big, but beautifully refined, complements that of Peter Auty and they do make a very effective pair in this rendition. Luciano Pasquale is almost as good a Dr.Dulcamara as they come. Nothing fantastic, but quite adequate. The rest of the cast do their bit competently, although they have been treated unfairly by the audio engineers whose editing as I mentioned before, leave a little to be desired.
All in all, I would really recommend this production. Given my reservations to begin with, I award it only 4 stars. Writing a review or commenting about rendition of an opera like L'Elisir is an impossible task. The work is so popular, and to most long time lovers of Opera, is like asking to choose between a particular performance of a popular Symphony of Mozart among a bevy of many conductors and orchestras, each of which have their merits and otherwise that differ from rendition to rendition.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A fine traditional version to contrast with the enjoyable Villazon/NetrebkoJuly 19 2012
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I have read the detailed review of this issue by Satish Kamath whom I much admire as a knowledgeable reviewer and to a large degree I am in agreement with him. As a result I will mostly concentrate on his few reservations as it is there that I mostly part company and these may well not prove to be crucial for purchasers.
Firstly the sound: I have listened to this in DTS 5.1 surround sound, but not stereo, and have found the sound to be very good indeed - well up to the level to be found on Opus Arte generally and at this venue and not giving me the cause for complaint that he mentions. Maybe the home reproduced sound is more a matter of equipment used for reproduction rather than that used for the recording therefore.
Performance considerations: This is an updated performance and, as such, it is probable that the main characters would not be so naive or gullible. However, this was something I was able to accept as poetic licence. One could apply the same thoughts of naivety and gullibility to almost any period including the correct one! I found the performance as led by the conductor to be refreshingly fresh and alert. A matter of taste here. I agree with all his comments about the high quality of the singing. It might also be worth while noting the superiority of the Glyndebourne chorus in this respect too. Peter Auty has a softer toned voice than is often the case (Florez for example) which initially seems to be a little under-powered but as the performance progresses it rises to the challenge of being heard clearly and matches the brighter, but warm sound of Adina very well. They make a good couple (voices!). I thought the treatment of Nemorino at the start to be essentially good humoured rather than cruel. I agree that the part played by Dr Dulcamera's assistant (an excellent Dulcamera by the way) was a stroke of near genius! Belcore was as insufferable as intended and equally well sung!
I like this every bit as much as the contrasting earlier smaller-scaled theatre performance with Villazon/Netrebko and prefer it to the Alagna/Gheorghiu performance even though that remains very well liked by many viewers including myself. I like this version very much too, and I am sure that this will give most purchasers plenty of pleasure and satisfaction. Final choice therefore may well be a matter of personal taste rather than differences of quality.