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Mozart;Wolfgang Amadeus La Cle [Import]

 NR (Not Rated)   DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 35.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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This stylish 1991 production of Mozart's final opera is another triumph from England's Glyndebourne Festival. "Odd man out" among Mozart's stage works, Tito clashes with such subtle masterpieces as Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro due to its remote subject matter (assassination plot against Roman emperor Titus) and serious tone. But when done right--as here--Tito emerges, through Mozart's sublime music, as a classic character study. Director Nicholas Hytner couches the story in an immediacy often missing from stagings of Mozart's operas. Led by Philip Langridge's forgiving Titus and Ashley Putnam's conspiratorial Vitellia, the cast sings with the skillful brio of the best Mozarteans; Andrew Davis fluidly conducts the London Philharmonic. The opera is sung in Italian with optional English subtitles, and the Dolby 5.1 mix places the voices out front, as they should be in Mozart. This Tito is a welcome addition to anyone's Mozart collection. --Kevin Filipski

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars An object of unjust neglect March 30 2004
Format:DVD
This is a beautiful opera, one that lovely melodies and a concise story line make easy to appreciate. To be fair, there are signs that Mozart was rushed. Some of the secondary arias are shorter than what's found in the great comedies. Many numbers lack the musical variety found in even lesser pieces from Figaro, Don Giovanni and such. This isn't to say those works are without baggage-they aren't. Masetto's aria (for instance) is a second rate song at best. Mostly though, more attention seems to have given to the supporting roles in the larger works. The original secco recitatives for this opera are a sore point as well. Mozart assigned the work to a pupil, probably Franz Anton Süssmayr. They're a string of duds, and that's being nice. John Eliot Gardiner recorded Tito around the same time this production was filmed and trimmed most of them. The people in charge here found somebody who cared about what he was doing and paid to have a new set written.
The result was well worth the effort. Stephen Oliver's recitatives provide this opera with something that compliments it and carries the action well. Having something like this done was long overdue. Tito contains some of the most beautiful music Mozart wrote. Yes, many numbers are shorter than usual. That's fine as they fill the psychological needs of their characters while also preventing their musical phrases from being overplayed. There isn't a weak link in the cast. Yes, Titus is a one dimensional paragon of goodness. Yet, when you watch Philip Langridge perform "his music" it's easy to believe a man can be like that. Diana Montague and Martine Mahé are superb as Sextus and Annio. There's one complaint and it's a minor one. These ladies look too feminine to forget that they're a pair of (very) attractive women.
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Format:DVD
Sets and costumes are minimal, little more than limbo sets enhanced with lighting. Andrew Davis's conducting is slow paced, dry, lacking in nuance or excitement. Technical quality of picture and sound, however, are excellent. If you must have a DVD version of this opera, go ahead and purchase. Otherwise, better to wait for the filmed version, with the Wiener Philharmoniker, James Levine conducting, directed by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. So much more exciting visually and musically, with principals Tatiana Troyanos, Carol Neblett, Catherine Malfitano, Anne Howels, Eric Tappy and Kurt Rydl. Hopefully this version will be released on DVD soon, and worth waiting for. Otherwise, try and get a used copy on LD or simply order on VHS!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A well sung and colorful production Aug. 23 2001
By David
Format:DVD
It's nice to see that Mozart's operas are showing up more on DVD, especially such lesser known works as Clemenza di Tito--Mozart's last opera. This is an enjoyable and well sung production, with lots of bright colors that are very eye catching. The sound and picture are excellent, and as this was the first time I have ever SEEN this opera, it made me appreciate it all the more. The singers, while not all household names, are well chosen; they not only sing well but they act well and have excellent stage presence. This is a quality production that deserves to be seen.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An object of unjust neglect March 30 2004
By Brian J Hay - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful opera, one that lovely melodies and a concise story line make easy to appreciate. To be fair, there are signs that Mozart was rushed. Some of the secondary arias are shorter than what's found in the great comedies. Many numbers lack the musical variety found in even lesser pieces from Figaro, Don Giovanni and such. This isn't to say those works are without baggage-they aren't. Masetto's aria (for instance) is a second rate song at best. Mostly though, more attention seems to have given to the supporting roles in the larger works. The original secco recitatives for this opera are a sore point as well. Mozart assigned the work to a pupil, probably Franz Anton Süssmayr. They're a string of duds, and that's being nice. John Eliot Gardiner recorded Tito around the same time this production was filmed and trimmed most of them. The people in charge here found somebody who cared about what he was doing and paid to have a new set written.
The result was well worth the effort. Stephen Oliver's recitatives provide this opera with something that compliments it and carries the action well. Having something like this done was long overdue. Tito contains some of the most beautiful music Mozart wrote. Yes, many numbers are shorter than usual. That's fine as they fill the psychological needs of their characters while also preventing their musical phrases from being overplayed. There isn't a weak link in the cast. Yes, Titus is a one dimensional paragon of goodness. Yet, when you watch Philip Langridge perform "his music" it's easy to believe a man can be like that. Diana Montague and Martine Mahé are superb as Sextus and Annio. There's one complaint and it's a minor one. These ladies look too feminine to forget that they're a pair of (very) attractive women. Peter Rose does well in the role of Publius. Elzbieta Szymytka is ravishing as Servilla. Her voice has that lovely crystalline quality so well suited to Mozart's work. Ashley Putnam is great! The role of Vitellia contains an emotional kaleidoscope and she delivers one. She is jealous and passionate, loving and ruthless, proud and then humbled all at once. Her music, particularly "Non Piu di Fiori, is fiendishly difficult. Some passages almost call for a soprano with mezzo-soprano's lower range. There are two instances where the music finds her limit but in both instances she recovers quickly. The sets are odd as are some of the camera angles. They suit the action though, and better yet, don't interfere with it. The subtitles are clear (though sometimes off centre) and contain a few typos ("epress"?) but give far more detail than what's found in most productions. New viewers will appreciate that.
This is an excellent production, one that's great for lovers of opera and for those new to opera.
Ah, Perdona Al Primo Affetto
This duet deserves mention on its own merits. It is one of the most perfect and beautiful gems imaginable. The first recording I heard was sung by Frederica von Stade and Lucia Popp under the baton of Sir Colin Davis. The emotional reaction it set off then was uncontrollable. To this day it usually has that effect. This is one of those pieces where beauty doesn't fade or wither with familiarity. Each time you listen there's a new detail to appreciate. The vocal lines are sublimely gentle, each note a caressing touch. The scoring is a miracle of transparent clarity. When performed as it is here, this is a model for what music can be. It touches the heart, caresses the emotions and makes you think about the beauty man can aspire to. To have it performed the way Martine Mahé (Annio), Elzbieta Szymytka and Andrew Davis have done it is worth the price of the entire disc.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of an opera. A gem of a production April 26 2006
By Toni Bernhard - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
My understanding is that Mozart began composing La Clemenza di Tito after he'd started The Magic Flute but finished Clemenza first, and that this is why there's disagreement over whether Clemenza or Flute is his last opera. No matter, we're just so fortunate that Mozart squeezed in this little opera seria gem before he died. Lean, with sublime vocal and instrumental music, and with forgiveness as its theme, Clemenza is very moving.

This production has a superb cast. Philip Langridge is touching as the troubled Tito, who naively wants to rule with love, not power, but at least in the end can use that power to grant forgiveness all around. Ashley Putnam has a strong stage presence as the cunning Vitellia. Her aria, "Non piu di fiori," where she duets with the basset horn, is stunning. Diana Montague is excellent as Sesto. The beautiful wind accompaniment in Sesto's aria "Parto, ma tu ben mio," is one of the highlights of the production.

And then we have the love duet, "Ah perdona al primo affetto," beautifully performed by Elzbieta Szmytka and Martine Mahe. It is sweet and tender and understated and, typically Mozart, is not even written for the lead characters. Ending with "Banish from life, all that is not love," it may be the last love duet he left for us.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well sung and colorful production Aug. 23 2001
By David - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
It's nice to see that Mozart's operas are showing up more on DVD, especially such lesser known works as Clemenza di Tito--Mozart's last opera. This is an enjoyable and well sung production, with lots of bright colors that are very eye catching. The sound and picture are excellent, and as this was the first time I have ever SEEN this opera, it made me appreciate it all the more. The singers, while not all household names, are well chosen; they not only sing well but they act well and have excellent stage presence. This is a quality production that deserves to be seen.
23 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Minimilist production pales in comparison with others. Nov. 7 2001
By Thomas E. Ascher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Sets and costumes are minimal, little more than limbo sets enhanced with lighting. Andrew Davis's conducting is slow paced, dry, lacking in nuance or excitement. Technical quality of picture and sound, however, are excellent. If you must have a DVD version of this opera, go ahead and purchase. Otherwise, better to wait for the filmed version, with the Wiener Philharmoniker, James Levine conducting, directed by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. So much more exciting visually and musically, with principals Tatiana Troyanos, Carol Neblett, Catherine Malfitano, Anne Howels, Eric Tappy and Kurt Rydl. Hopefully this version will be released on DVD soon, and worth waiting for. Otherwise, try and get a used copy on LD or simply order on VHS!

Update: I see that the Ponnelle filmed version is in fact now available so I recommend that as the better option!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Maybe the English just don't do opera all that well? May 2 2014
By Samuel C Godwin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I am a newcomer to opera and while I have loved every other Mozart opera that I have seen, this was my first disappointment. Since watching Tito I have watched another English performance of a different Mozart work and was similarly unimpressed. I don't have enough experience to tell if this is going to be a pattern. The sopranos just did not connect with me the way they have done in other presentations. It was fun to see so many male roles played by women but it was also somewhat disconcerting making me believe that the opera company was short on talent. I am just initiated to the wonder of Mozart's works and I want to give it all 5 stars because of the composer. This particular performance just missed the mark. I do intend to check out other Titos by other opera companies.
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