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Thread: Opera by Beethoven on DVD, blue ray, or CD

          
   
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  1. #16
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    I agree that Flimm's staging can be strange. I don't like the way he turned Jaquino into a gun-toting opportunist, either. (Did you notice that he shoots Pizarro in the final scene?) And I also agree that the business with the two pistols is superfluous. The costumes look to me generally early 19th century, especially the empire-waisted dresses the women wear. But I love Nylund's and Kaufmann's singing so much that I'm willing to overlook some oddities in the staging (and in Harnoncourt's conducting).

    I remember watching the Vienna State Opera Fidelio when it was televised in 1978 or '79, and Janowitz really was wonderful. In fact, she probably gets the blame for my Fidelio obsession. Unfortunately, Kollo is one of those singers who I realize from an objective standpoint is great (and many people like him), but I just can't warm up to his voice.

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  3. #17
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    I agree that Flimm's staging can be strange. I don't like the way he turned Jaquino into a gun-toting opportunist, either. (Did you notice that he shoots Pizarro in the final scene?) And I also agree that the business with the two pistols is superfluous. The costumes look to me generally early 19th century, especially the empire-waisted dresses the women wear. But I love Nylund's and Kaufmann's singing so much that I'm willing to overlook some oddities in the staging (and in Harnoncourt's conducting).

    I remember watching the Vienna State Opera Fidelio when it was televised in 1978 or '79, and Janowitz really was wonderful. In fact, she probably gets the blame for my Fidelio obsession. Unfortunately, Kollo is one of those singers who I realize from an objective standpoint is great (and many people like him), but I just can't warm up to his voice.
    I agree with you 100% on both the high points of the Harnoncourt DVD and Kollo. As good as Kollo is, he is the weak point in that Fidelio. I expecially thought it very artificial where he kept pawing Leonore during the dungeon confrontation scene. Yes I saw Jaquino shoot Pizarro in the finale. Weird. Sounded like a cap gun. Pizarro went down. Also Marzellene was going to shoot heself in the head, which was really weird. I am sure LvB would not approve.
    Necessities of life: food, water, air, shelter, and opera.

  4. #18
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florestan View Post
    Also Marzellene was going to shoot heself in the head, which was really weird. I am sure LvB would not approve.
    Actually I think that it's quite believable that Marzelline would want to do something drastic. She must be feeling a terrible combination of shame (her great love is a woman not a man), despair (only fallback is Jaquino, ugh) and rejection, and what's worse is that everyone else is happy and rejoicing. LvB could have given her some thought, instead he leaves her hanging.
    Natalie

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  6. #19
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    You have a point about Marzelline and the pistol. Some of the stuff in the Harnoncourt Fidelio DVD really bugs me but the singing is wonderful, so much so that I can't leave it alone. I am hooked in spite of the weirdness.
    Necessities of life: food, water, air, shelter, and opera.

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  8. #20
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    I think you would have to join this guy to get rid of your Anna obsession. Which seems a little drastic.
    Yeah, or this guy. Just as drastic.


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  10. #21
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    I guess J. N. Bouilly, author of the original source material for Fidelio, gets at least some of the blame for the treatment of Marzelline at the end. The situation is the same in Paer's Leonora -- the girl is just expected to get over the shock and be happy that Giacchino is making himself available (and Leonora is offering to provide her with a dowry). There's no Jaquino figure in Mayr's L'Amor Coniugale, but Floreska (the Marzelline figure) gets the same treatment. In fact, she doesn't even appear in the final scene when the hero's brother (instead of a government minister) shows up. It's as though she's just a secondary character who is there to fulfill a dramaturgical purpose, and once she's fulfilled it, neither librettists nor composers give her much thought.

  11. #22
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    I guess J. N. Bouilly, author of the original source material for Fidelio, gets at least some of the blame for the treatment of Marzelline at the end. The situation is the same in Paer's Leonora -- the girl is just expected to get over the shock and be happy that Giacchino is making himself available (and Leonora is offering to provide her with a dowry). There's no Jaquino figure in Mayr's L'Amor Coniugale, but Floreska (the Marzelline figure) gets the same treatment. In fact, she doesn't even appear in the final scene when the hero's brother (instead of a government minister) shows up. It's as though she's just a secondary character who is there to fulfill a dramaturgical purpose, and once she's fulfilled it, neither librettists nor composers give her much thought.
    So good for Flimm for redressing the balance.
    Natalie

  12. #23
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Another thing about the Harnoncourt Fidelio DVD. When Don Fernando hands the knife to Leonore to free Florestan, he hands it to her point at her face. Then when Leonore cuts the rope (what happened to chains they sing about?) she pulls the knife towards her face. These people obviously do not know the most basic knife safety information. Ha, but as much as the rope is weird, it apparently was done so that cleverly, the instrument intended for Florestans death turns into the instrument for Florestans release from his chains (rope). And was that a switchblade that Pizarro wielded? Did they have switchblades back then.

    By the way, besides two Fidelio DVDS I own, and two I watched/am watching on You Tube (and will buy if I can find at the right price used), I have two more in the mail to me, and a burning desire to buy a couple more after that.

    I won't be getting the one starring Melanie Diener (Haitink) though, after seeing this in a couple of reviews:

    There are some curiously token moments as well, as when Leonore, announcing to Pizarro that she is a woman, does so not by letting down her hair but instead yanking both sides of her shirt open a la Demi Moore in Striptease, revealing her naked breasts.
    http://audaud.com/2010/05/beethoven-...-blu-ray-2010/

    A tall woman, she acts convincingly, except learning how to walk like a man, and reveals herself as a woman to Pizarro by tearing open her tunic to reveal naked female breasts; soft porn reaches opera!
    http://www.musicweb-international.co...lio_OA1023.htm
    Necessities of life: food, water, air, shelter, and opera.

  13. #24
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tip! I've ordered it to add to my soft porn opera collection.

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  15. #25
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amfortas View Post
    Thanks for the tip! I've ordered it to add to my soft porn opera collection.
    Better get this too. Everyone is starkers for the whole of the prologue.

    Natalie

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  17. #26
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amfortas View Post
    Thanks for the tip! I've ordered it to add to my soft porn opera collection.
    A 2 hour opera for 2 seconds of soft porn? Hardly worth adding to your collection.

    BTW, Beethoven surely would not have approved of this little twist to the opera.
    Necessities of life: food, water, air, shelter, and opera.

  18. #27
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    It just sounds silly. The men may initially be astonished when she reveals that she's Florestan's wife, but I don't think they question her word or would need such graphic proof.

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  20. #28
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    It just sounds silly. The men may initially be astonished when she reveals that she's Florestan's wife, but I don't think they question her word or would need such graphic proof.
    Some of us can be *very* demanding.

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  22. #29
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Just finished this one and really liked it a lot:

    This one is worth it for Gwyneth Jones alone--her performance was excellent.


    Jones is an excellent Leonore, showing much emotion as she plays out the role and with a great voice.

    Rocco was good, but not exceptional in my opinion. Marzelline, Jaquino, and Florestan were fine. The 70s haircuts weren't the greatest but can be overlooked.

    I did not care for Pizarro much, finding him rather comical, kind of like a B-movie Dracula.


    The set was excellent, realistic and traditional. The biggest failing was that the camera man was obsessed with extreme close-ups that were detracting, but even worse did a lot of fades in and out of faces, particularly during the quartet. Nonetheless, this one is second only to the Bernstein Fidelio with Janowitz.
    Necessities of life: food, water, air, shelter, and opera.

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  24. #30
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Just finished another Fidelio (#5, with 4 more to go):

    If you can get this on CD, go for it. The music and vocals are wonderful. Ben Heppner, in particular, sings a great Florestan. I'll add that Karita Mattila did not show near the emotion that Gundula Janowitz (Bernstein) or Gwyneth Jones (Bohm) showed, but has a very nice voice.

    Visually, everything in this is wrong, including the Rocco who is not old enough to be Marzelline's father. It also has many similarities to the Harnoncourt Fidelio DVD, including a rope instead of chains for Florestan, Leonore not knowing how to handle a knife and pulling it up and towards her face to cut the rope, a big slab/metal cover propped up from a hole in the floor at the cistern, tossing of money during the gold aria and Marzelline and Leonore scampering after it. Now which of these operas is the first? The stage director of the second one must have liked the other very much to copy it so much.

    But frankly, this was in my opinion more of a farcical production and I will be getting rid of the DVD. I am strongly oriented towards the traditional productions, and this one is not.
    Necessities of life: food, water, air, shelter, and opera.

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