Alfonso und Estrella

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					Video Reviews                                                                                623

published by the Rossini Foundation in              Foppa, inventively displays delightful use of
Pesaro, incorporating an autograph discov-          double-entendre and effectively demon-
ered in Sweden, making this production a            strates Rossini’s fully developed and outra-
landmark in Rossini videography.                    geous opera-buffa style. This work is the di-
   Next, L’occasione fa il ladro was Rossini’s      rect conduit to L’italiana in Algeri. Michael
fifth opera premiere in 1812 and although            Hampe stages the opera at the time and lo-
legend implies that it was written in eleven        cation of its original setting, culminating in
days, this production reveals the opera’s           an appealing, lively production. Amelia
outstanding construction, expressive                Felle and David Kuebler deliver the best
melodic language and subtle character de-           singing, exhibiting excellent coloratura.
lineation. This is a striking production. The          This unique collection of one-act come-
attractive sets and costumes are consistent         dies from Rossini’s early output fills a sig-
with the locale and period. Michael                 nificant void in the sparse video collection
Hampe’s direction is sensible and straight-         of composer’s works. The performance
forward and is the perfect vehicle for the          quality is exquisitely consistent within the
fine cast that has been assembled. The pro-          collection and the pricing is attractive,
duction, a collaboration between the Oper           thereby making it an excellent acquisition.
der Stadt Köln and the Opéra de Mont-
pellier, displays the fruit of the collabora-
tive musical labors of Hampe and Gelmetti.
   Finally, Il signor Bruschino, the last Rossini                           Eldonna L. May
farsa and his third collaboration with                                      Wayne State University

Franz Schubert. Alfonso und Estrella. DVD. Nikolaus Harnoncourt /
Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Arnold Schoenberg Choir. With Luba
Orgonasova, Thomas Hampson, Endrik Wottrich, Olaf Bär, Alfred Muff.
Stage direction by Jürgen Flimm. Canada: Naxos, 2009, 1997. 2.110260.
  It is one of my favorite questions to ask         a “miserable, still-born, bungling piece of
when I teach a course on the history of             work that even so great a genius as Schu-
opera: name one composer of German                  bert was not able to bring it to life”
opera between Weber and Wagner. I can’t             (Elizabeth Norman McKay, Franz Schubert:
remember a single time when a student               A Biography [Oxford: Oxford University
came up with a correct answer—probably              Press, 1996], 118). The plot, which McKay
because the names of Spohr, Lortzing, and           has related to Shakespeare’s As You Like It,
Marschner do not lie in the core of the             involves a number of conventional charac-
operatic canon. When Schubert’s name    
Description: In a similarly predictable manner, the music is replete with hunting and battle choruses, pastoral and romantic evocations of love, a chorus of conspirators, an obligatory farewell duet, and even a ballad sung by Froila on the legend of the "Cloud Maiden," a trope on the Lorelei myth. Redoubtable director Jrgen Flimm (who will assume the position of artistic director of the Deutsche Staatsoper in Berlin, after his recent resignation from the Salzburg Festival) undertook the extremely challenging task of extracting every bit of dramatic nuance out of this otherwise static libretto.
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