(2020/Opus Arte/Beethoven/Royal Opera House/Pappano)/L'Enigma
Nozze In Villa
(2020/Donizetti/Montanari/Dynamic/all Naxos Blu-rays)/White
Womack/Film Movement DVD)
C+) Sound: B/B-/B/B-/B-/B/C Extras: C/C/C+/C+/C/C/C Main
for more Classical releases...
(2013) has the title market gardener (Julie Fuchs) living her usual
life when she visits a fortune teller and goes wild after believing
her reading to do all kinds of things with her life with the
'promise' of fortune and better future. This does not go as told or
read, until maybe, she falls for someone who might lead to a greater
life than anything she could have imagined.
Opera Comique and Opera Theatre de Saint-Etienne is full and lavish,
but runs 145 minutes, so this might not work for everyone and be as
effective or consistent as one might want, but I thought it worked
more often than not and is worth a good look for those interested.
The singing is also solid.
we look at the second production of Henry Purcell's Dido
and Aeneas (2006) only
runs 66 minutes and is a decent version of the romance melodrama, but
I may have liked the production from this earlier release more:
Deborah Warner's stage direction is not bad and unlike the other one,
this is available as a stand-alone production, though the other big
difference is this is an opera and that was a ballet with Malena
Ernman, Christopher Maltman, Judith Van Wanroij, Hilary Summers and
Lina Markeby. The Opera Comique and Dutch National Opera
(2020) is a classic work of identity politics, actual politics and
much more and we previously covered it performed from an alternate
1806 version at this link:
on the more commonly known version from The Royal Opera House, this
version runs 133 minutes, is directed by Oliver Mears, screen
directed by Rhodri Huw, conducted by Anthony Pappano and stage
directed by Tobias Kratzer. This is worthy of the other version we
covered, though I think the sound here is better, yet I wonder if
either is definitive and not just because there are two different
versions they are based on. As I felt after seeing the older
version, it still seems something is not being said or completed, but
I cannot figure out what.
this is one of the best releases on this decent list of them and the
fine singing and acting is led by Lise Davidsen, Robin Tritschler,
Amanda Forsythe, Georg Zeppenfeld and Simon Neal. Those interested
should get and watch both versions back to back.
Casablancas' L'Enigma Di
Lea (2019) has the title
character (Allison Cook) traveling through time (et al) in this opera
about love, existence and secrets. All this traveling eventually
gets her trapped in various places, but the production gets very
post-modern with all kinds of electronic objects (some obsolete) and
other items that try to update it or the like, but overdo those
aspects a little too much.
the Liceu Opera Barcelona produced this show, lasting two hours and
conducted by Josep Pons, all trying to make this meld and work. Some
parts are not bad, but it did not quite add up when all was said and
done. Now you can see for yourself.
(2018) is one of his works we never got to cover, a tale of 'a
curious misunderstanding' was the legends first opera, penned when he
was only 19! This comedy about a man trying to skip military service
by pretending temporarily to be a female was censored at the time and
may still be a subversive to many now. Running 141 minutes, it again
has more good moments than flat ones, but has some off moments here
and there too.
originally in Bulgaria and glad this is not a lost or destroyed work,
this version was performed over two nights at the Konigliches
Kurtheater in Bad Wildbad, Germany conducted by Jose Miguel
Perez-Sierra and stage directed by Philippe Ohl. They give it their
all to their credit and it is well done enough. Strange we have not
heard more about this one sooner, but here it is.
Le Nozze In Villa
(2020) is another comedy/drama opera about romance, this time
offering Sabina (Gaia Petrone) mutually in love with Claudio (Giorgio
Misseri) but NOT by her family, though they want to stick her with
boring schoolmaster Trifoglio (Fabio Capitanucci) who she wants to
avoid at all costs... especially permanently.
of this is obvious, but still well done and sung, nicely produced by
the Fondazione Teatro Donizelli shot during a 2020 Donizelli Festival
with Conductor Stefano Montanari. This runs about two hours and has
some nice production design and costumes, but again, there are a few
moments that were more than expected. Otherwise, nicely done.
finally, we have Dina Burlis and Sergey Gavrilov's Joy
Womack: The White Swan
(2021) ballet biographical documentary about the title dancer in yet
another film that is part of a cycle of occasional backstage ballet
glimpses that does not even include featurettes on actual full-length
ballet releases like the hundreds we have covered over the years.
91 minutes, Womack was 15 when she left her United States home to
join the Bolshoi Ballet and there are some good moments here, but it
still cannot avoid what are becoming cliches about such tales and I
did not think this was always as interesting or as rich as it could
have been. Maybe there was nothing much to add from what we see, but
it is worth a look for hardcore ballet fans.
for playback performance. The 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition
image transfers on all six Blu-rays have good color, but some are not
as clear as others, but Ciboulette
is easily the best visual performer here with the most stable, and
clear image throughout. All six discs also offer PCM 2.0 Stereo
sound, but only four of the six add DTS-HD
MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes, leaving Lea
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Swan is as good as
it is going to get for the old DVD format with some softness and
motion blur, but the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound is on the
weak side, so be careful of high volume playback or volume switching.
Ciboulette, Fidelio and Villa are the best sounding
shows and best sonic performers of the bunch.
include the usual, somewhat illustrated, multi-lingual booklets on
all six classical releases by Naxos, with Fidelio adding a
Cast Gallery and Making Of featurette, plus Lea adding Bonus
Interviews. Swan adds both a Making Of featurette and Bonus