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Thread: French Touch - Patricia Petibon in recital on DVD + documentary

          
   
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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    French Touch - Patricia Petibon in recital on DVD + documentary



    This is another one of my finds in Paris at the FNAC Gare St-Lazare on the occasion of my recent trip to France. It is available on Amazon for $11 new and $10 used, and it cost me 7 euros in Paris. Again, just like my recent review of the DVD L'Affaire Tailleferre, it is PAL system and requires a French DVD player to be watched (I fortunately do have one). It will play on a laptop if it is changed to Region 2 (some people keep an old laptop for this purpose since region changes can be only done 5 times before the ability to switch gets locked).

    This product is from 13 years ago. Patricia is very pretty in it, and in the first half of the concert she wears a blue gown with a plunging neckline that is quite sexy. The second half, her white outfit is less revealing. Her striking red hair is done in the somewhat crazy fashion that is on the cover.

    Patricia puts together a program of French songs that is quite extensive (90 minutes). Several are from Poulenc (generally very beautiful) and she also does Massenet, André Messager, several extracts from Chabrier's operetta L'Étoile (a piece I very much like), Reynaldo Hahn, a number of art songs from Erik Satie, a piece by Délibes, all the way to 20th century and living composers (Henri Collet, Isabelle Aboulker). Offenbach is rendered with one of her signature roles, the puppet Olympia. She is accompanied by piano, cello, and percussion.

    Unfortunately I can't say that I'm crazy about this recital. While the songs are mostly beautiful, at one point they start to become repetitious and a bit boring.

    Patricia employs her usual "fofolle" antics but frankly I'm a bit tired of it. She seems in various points to be more interested in comedy than in music, and I just don't find it that funny, to tell you the truth. At a couple of points the instrumentalists join in regarding the comedic parts. Some stuff is funny. Most of it made me want to fast forward.

    After a few years following her career, I must say that her current and much more serious phase when for example she performs to great dramatic effect in her recent DVD of Dialogue des Carmélites, agrees a lot more with me and tickles more my respect and admiration for her than this "gamine" act. Also, I think that Patricia's voice as she ages has evolved for the better and is now deeper and larger. In this DVD she does sound like having a small voice.

    After the program, there is a short documentary of 15 minutes in which she talks about her childhood and her beginnings with William Christie and Les Arts Florissants. The documentary is charming, but again she seems to be trying too hard to portray herself as a grown child, even blowing soap bubbles, and dressing in an infantile way. Interestingly, the musical bits in the documentary are more compelling than in the recital, and she actually displays her considerable vocal talent more here than there. This is followed by another much shorter documentary, 4 minutes long, of her rehearsals with French pop singer Florent Pagny for some sort of crossover show. Details are not given. This is also interesting. The bottom line is that I liked better the two short documentaries than the recital.

    The Universal 2004 release on DVD (first documentary 2003, second one 2005) is technically primitive. No subtitles. It's all spoken in French only. The image is 4:3 and PAL system (like I said, it won't play in American NTSC DVD players). The image is of lowish definition and over-saturated at times. The sound is actually better, and tracks are provided in PCM 2.0, DD 5.1, and DTS 5.1. Still, at times there is variation in volume depending on microphone placement. The insert is just two pages with two color pictures of Mme. Petibon, a list of musical numbers, and credits; nothing else.

    Overall I believe that this product is only recommended to big fans of Patricia Petibon or those who really love French art songs. Grade B.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Festat's Avatar
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    Isn't there an option to alternate between NTSC and PAL on American players? Here it can be done easily. I'd be very upset if I had to buy another player to watch PAL stuff.

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Folks in the U.S. can download it from Presto Classical, but it's not available in either DVD or Blu-ray version. (Presto has become my go-to source for DVDs in the NTSC format . . . and a whole lot of other recordings besides.)

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Festat View Post
    Isn't there an option to alternate between NTSC and PAL on American players? Here it can be done easily. I'd be very upset if I had to buy another player to watch PAL stuff.
    Yes, certainly there are dual-system DVD players on sale in the American market although most are NTSC only. Mine isn't one of the dual ones, and at the time I thought it was cheaper to just add this PAL-only one that I have in addition to my regular one (it was a bargain at the time).

    These days it certainly would be cheaper to just get a dual one since prices have fallen. For example, this one goes for $53: [clicky]
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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