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Soave_Fanciulla
January 2nd, 2012, 06:38 AM
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41pmdvFVryL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Took this version of L'Orfeo to work tonight, to listen to again and watch with half an eye (I have the office to myself on Thursdays nights). Bad idea, every time Mr Delectable Keenlyside appeared on stage I got totally distracted with his beauty and lovely singing and graceful dancing.

This production would not be to everyone's taste, no set to speak of, lots of dancing and stylised gestures, and the chorus in some truly atrocious loose-fitting white suits that look like a cross between Miami Vice and Pierrot costumes.

Despite the latter I found it quite mesmerising, the movements aptly illustrating the beautiful music and the singing faultless (better in my view than on the Savall version which I also love).

Soave_Fanciulla
January 2nd, 2012, 06:41 AM
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/514ZY2FJCSL._SL500_AA240_.jpg

Monteverdi is a genius - the way the music reflects so accurately the characters' emotions is unsurpassed. The cast is very fine, good singing and acting. I am particularly struck by the extraordinary deep contralto of Marina Mijanovic as the long-suffering Penelope. The reunion scene between Ulisse and his son Telemaco was so tender and beautiful it moved me to tears. William Christie shows himself to be a real singer's conductor and the orchestra and singers are perfectly coordinated and balanced.

The production is simple but appropriate - a plain sand-covered stage with some large earthenware jars in a corner, and the costumes look have a slight touch of generic oriental which works well with the theme.

I believe the prologue is rather controversial as it shows the singer playing Human Frailty nude - following Monteverdi's instructions to have him "ignudo". To me it just emphasised his vulnerability as Time, Fortune and Love torment him.

Here's a rather inadequate taster:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnLrsZXJG6E

HarpsichordConcerto
January 2nd, 2012, 09:22 PM
Monteverdi's operas deserve multiple interpretations visually. There will never ever be a "right" one owing to their historical significance when the modern concept of "opera" was not in use at their premieres. Original singers were not what we would know today; instead those who performed in the original productions were actors who could sing, not necessarily singers who could act (i.e. modern idea of "opera singer" broadly speaking where the talent for singing comes first). That's why I think it's always fascinating to see how modern interpretations of these "stage productions" with significant amounts of singing today for modern audiences are done.

Aksel
May 29th, 2012, 12:33 AM
I've just seen the Oslo L'incoronazione di Poppea, recently released on DVD. Please notice that I have not watched the DVD, but streamed the opera from the web site of the Norwegian Broadcasting Company. But the two are the same, I would think. Just thought you should know.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41inUYPgYIL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Cast (at least some of it):
Birgitte Christensen (Poppea)
Jacek Laszczkowski (Nerone)
Tim Mead (Ottone)
Patricia Bardon (Ottavia)
Ina Kringlebotn (Fortuna)
Giovanni Battista Parodi (Seneca)
Marita Solberg (Virt¨/Drusilla)
Amelie Aldenheim (Amor/Pallide/Damigella)
Emiliano Gonzales Toro (Arnalta)


The prologue was not of the most well-sung, the singers often on the shrill side. That said, it was still thoroughly enjoyable, with some rather enjoyable acting and dancing.
Marita S°lberg, who sang Virt˙ in the prologue, did improve a lot during the opera, singing the role of Drusilla. Amelie Aldenheim's Amore/Pallade/Damigella was somewhat of a disappointment, especially the role of Amore, which proved much too high for her, resulting in a very shrill tone.
I would like to add that what I've seen of these singers recently (this was done way back in 2009) has been a lot better, especially Marita S°lberg as MimÝ in everyone's new favourite staging of La BohÚme.

Tim Mead's Ottone was a pleasure to watch. He has a very pleasant sound, and sang wonderfully. He's also totally adorable, which, you know, is a rather huge plus. One of the better singers of the evening.

Birgitte Christensen's Poppea (who, incidentally, is from a place an hours drive from where I live. Thought you should know that) was also very good. She managed Poppea's florid lines with ease and has a very good lower register as well. Her Poppea was sultry, in want of power, and showed little remorse for the (after a while) countless deaths she was responsible for.

Bringing the total cray-cray was Polish countertenor Jacek Laszczkowski. Man, he can sing high! He doesn't have the most pleasant sound and is often on the shrill side of things. On the plus side, his low tones sound like Cecilia Bartoli. His Nerone is a textbook example of a totally deranged, spoiled, deliciously vulgar (this will be a recurring expression in this review), and downright vicious emperor. He was incredible to watch. His performance bordered on hammy (there are only so many things one can hump before it gets kind of old), but it was amazing nevertheless.

Perhaps the greatest performance of the evening was Patricia Bardon's Ottavia. She has been one of my favourite singers ever since her totally amazeballs Cornelia in the Glyndebourne Giulio Cesare, and she doesn't disappoint here either. Her first act lament was just incredible, and the performance just got better and better as the evening progressed. Her 'A dio, Roma' was nothing short of incredible, especially as it was followed by one of the most effective suicides I have ever seen on stage (and this production does not come up short in the suicide department).

Giovanni Battista Parodi's Seneca was also rather good, especially in the suicide scene, a scene so touching I actually found it uncomfortable to watch.

Emiliano Gonzales Toro's Arnalta was fabulously camp, with some pretty solid singing thrown in.

The Nutrice (who I have not been able to find a name for) was also really great. A contralto of the matronly school, she was great fun on stage, especially in the first act, telling Ottavia to get a lover. It involved cucumbers.

Other noteworthy singers included tenor Magnus Staveland, who had something like five parts during the evening. His Lucano was esecially great.


The production is certainly one of the bloodiest I've ever seen, with murders being comitted left and right, especially in the third act, but somehow it all worked. From Seneca's suicide, blood started pooling at the bottom of the curved marble-like stage, getting bigger and bigger as heads started to roll. As previously mentioned, there is rather a lot of death in this opera, most of which aren't really in the libretto. After Ottone dressed as Drusilla has been captured by Nero's men, he is told that he can live after all, but is shot in the back anyway, dying on a wreck of a Drusilla. After 'A dio, Roma', Ottavia first kills Nutrice, then proceeding to slit her own throat before uttering a final 'addio'. All very effective.
Perhaps the most controversial of these killing sprees is that of Poppea and Nerone during their final duet. As they sing 'Pur ti miro', they start killing everyone around them; Nero's guards, Arnalta, no one escapes the Bonnie and Clyde of Ancient Rome.

This has been advertised as a "TV-opera", something that is very evident in the camera work. Special effects have been added (the goddesses are all sort of blurry, replays and slow motion are both used liberally), and it has been filmed in glorious black and white, save the colour red. It does work, in a way, although some of it seems rather gimmicky, but it is still effective. The use of black and white, with only occasional streaks of red (usually blood), works remarkably well, although one does wonder why it was done, as the production is perfectly monochrome as-is.

In short, this is a fairly good Poppea, although I'd advice against this being your only one. But do get it.


Tl;dr: Long, rambling and somewhat incoherent review is long, rambling and somewhat incoherent. Also, there was plenty of blood.

Oh, and trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYz322ejKBU

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
May 29th, 2012, 01:55 AM
Yikes. A cucumber doubling as a penis and being chopped off? Someone stabbing himself in his crotch and bleeding to death? Thanks, but no, thanks. I believe this production is what we'd call Eurotrash. Sorry, Aksel. One can convey all the violence of the story without getting gross.

Aksel
May 29th, 2012, 06:42 AM
Yikes. A cucumber doubling as a penis and being chopped off? Someone stabbing himself in his crotch and bleeding to death? Thanks, but no, thanks. I believe this production is what we'd call Eurotrash. Sorry, Aksel. One can convey all the violence of the story without getting gross.

It's great! It does work, actually, within the context of what they're saying. It's a vulgar production, yes, but it's a damn vulgar opera as well.

Isolating individual happenings in a production just to point at them and say 'Look at this ridiculousness! This simply MUST be eurotrash!' is just silly. The cucumber sliced in half was perfectly reasonable.

Soave_Fanciulla
May 29th, 2012, 07:35 AM
It's great! It does work, actually, within the context of what they're saying. It's a vulgar production, yes, but it's a damn vulgar opera as well.

Isolating individual happenings in a production just to point at them and say 'Look at this ridiculousness! This simply MUST be eurotrash!' is just silly. The cucumber sliced in half was perfectly reasonable.

I would say it is the most convincing production of this opera I have seen. Nerone is basicall a very unpleasant individual, and the production just brings that out. The only reason it would not be my Poppea of choice is that there are some much better-sung ones out there. But love that Jacek Laszczkowski, he does ADHD sex crazed loony really well.

HarpsichordConcerto
May 29th, 2012, 12:04 PM
Staged by Ole Anders Tandberg, adapted and filmed by Anja Stabell and Stein-Roger Bull in 2010 at the Norwegian National Opera.

Looks horrible. It's no longer about Monteverdi but those three folks I quoted above. It's about their assertion of what they wish to do with all the resources allocated to them, and Monteverdi's music just happens to part of it. It could have been Verdi instead. But if this production brings Monteverdi to a wider audience for the posterity of Monteverdi's music, then who the hell am I to criticise? (Though I doubt I will be buying the DVD).

HarpsichordConcerto
May 29th, 2012, 12:08 PM
Did anyone mention this version under William Christie? I think this now completes Christie's set of the Monteverdi operas.

Philippe Jaroussky (Nerone), Danielle de Niese (Poppea), Anna Bonitatibus (Ottavia), Max Emanuel Cencic (Ottone), Les Arts Florissants, William Christie.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_isL0E-4TsQ

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51nVcYZkzmL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Aksel
May 29th, 2012, 12:55 PM
Staged by Ole Anders Tandberg, adapted and filmed by Anja Stabell and Stein-Roger Bull in 2010 at the Norwegian National Opera.

Looks horrible. It's no longer about Monteverdi but those three folks I quoted above. It's about their assertion of what they wish to do with all the resources allocated to them, and Monteverdi's music just happens to part of it. It could have been Verdi instead. But if this production brings Monteverdi to a wider audience for the posterity of Monteverdi's music, then who the hell am I to criticise? (Though I doubt I will be buying the DVD).

What? How on earth can you draw such a conclusion from a five minute trailer?
This was most certainly a production of Poppea, not some whitewashed Ballo in maschera set in some indeterminate present.

Aramis
May 29th, 2012, 02:22 PM
What? How on earth can you draw such a conclusion from a five minute trailer?

YOU CLEARLY HAVE PROBLEMS WITH ACCEPTING THE FACT THAT PEOPLE LIKE ME AND HC CAN GAIN INSIGHT INTO AUTHOR'S INTENTIONS AND QUALITY OF WHOLE THING BY WATCHING SUCH SMALL PORTIONS OF IT

Aksel
May 29th, 2012, 03:07 PM
YOU CLEARLY HAVE PROBLEMS WITH ACCEPTING THE FACT THAT PEOPLE LIKE ME AND HC CAN GAIN INSIGHT INTO AUTHOR'S INTENTIONS AND QUALITY OF WHOLE THING BY WATCHING SUCH SMALL PORTIONS OF IT

Yes. Yes I do.

Amfortas
May 29th, 2012, 04:41 PM
Looks fun. Bloody as all get out, but so is the opera. Like Aksel says, it probably shouldn't be your only Poppea, but I'd be interested in seeing more than just the clip.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
May 29th, 2012, 05:05 PM
Yes. Yes I do.

Aksel, you very enthusiastically defend the productions that you like, and this in itself is admirable. But not everybody likes the same thing. Sometimes you sound quite outraged at other people's criticism of the stuff that you like (e.g., using the word "silly") - but you know, people dislike what they do and like what they do and there isn't anything inherently silly in it. We're all different, with different sensibilities and different lines that we won't cross. If you like this production, good for you, but others are not silly because they dislike it.

As for selecting something to point to, well, actually the ones doing the selection are the members of the production team. This is no random clip. This is a trailer, and *they* have picked these parts to highlight, which must indicate that these parts are dear to their concept. A trailer *is* supposed to give an idea of the production values, so, there is nothing wrong with making some assessments based on it.

And also, you come and post a trailer for your fellow OL members' appreciation. Then it sounds a little off when you blame your fellow members for reaching conclusions based on the trailer *you've* submitted. What if they liked wildly the trailer, would you also say that their opinion was silly and misguided because they shouldn't base their likes on a 4-minute trailer? If it is so, then why did you post it? You know, when we put something out there for appreciation, we need to take what comes out of it, the good but also the bad.

But I can rephrase it, if you will. I'll say, instead, that I *believe*, given the material that I was shown which is limited in scope (but is nevertheless significant given that it was selected by the production team for the trailer), that there is a good chance that this production is what we'd call Eurotrash. Given more extensive material, I might change my mind.

I have generally nothing against edgy productions especially of those operas that have as subject matter topics like sex and violence, like Salome, Lulu, and Poppea. I do think that certain solutions when they are adopted more for shock value than for artistic sense are detrimental to the enjoyment of a production.

Because see, these days, Regie is starting to get predictable as well, and cliche, when you have the obligatory anachronism, the obligatory nudity, and the obligatory obscene moment. While I did revise my views on Regie after the illuminating interview with Thaddeus Strassberger, I'd still question whether or not the cucumber=penis-chopping-off scene is there for artistic necessity or merely to provide the obligatory shock value that some directors feel they must provide. I have serious doubts that a penis-like cucumber being chopped off is essential to the rendition of Monteverdi's music, just as much as I don't think that a huge masturbating bunny is really essential to Der FreischŘtz.

So, given the limitations of a trailer, let's say this is the only such moment in the entire production. I might still label it as Eurotrash based on that one scene - it's an Eurotrashy scene, in my humble opinion. Vulgar, like you said. It's likely there more for shock value than anything else, even if the text might indicate some attempt at emasculation - which *can* be rendered without bringing in the vegetables.

Just my opinion and feel free to disagree, but also, take it easy on the people who see it differently than you do, buddy.:kiss.1:

Aramis
May 29th, 2012, 07:01 PM
Aksel, you very enthusiastically defend the productions that you like, and this in itself is admirable. But not everybody likes the same thing. Sometimes you sound quite outraged at other people's criticism of the stuff that you like (e.g., using the word "silly") - but you know, people dislike what they do and like what they do and there isn't anything inherently silly in it. We're all different, with different sensibilities and different lines that we won't cross. If you like this production, good for you, but others are not silly because they dislike it.

As for selecting something to point to, well, actually the ones doing the selection are the members of the production team. This is no random clip. This is a trailer, and *they* have picked these parts to highlight, which must indicate that these parts are dear to their concept. A trailer *is* supposed to give an idea of the production values, so, there is nothing wrong with making some assessments based on it.

And also, you come and post a trailer for your fellow OL members' appreciation. Then it sounds a little off when you blame your fellow members for reaching conclusions based on the trailer *you've* submitted. What if they liked wildly the trailer, would you also say that their opinion was silly and misguided because they shouldn't base their likes on a 4-minute trailer? If it is so, then why did you post it? You know, when we put something out there for appreciation, we need to take what comes out of it, the good but also the bad.

But I can rephrase it, if you will. I'll say, instead, that I *believe*, given the material that I was shown which is limited in scope (but is nevertheless significant given that it was selected by the production team for the trailer), that there is a good chance that this production is what we'd call Eurotrash. Given more extensive material, I might change my mind.

I have generally nothing against edgy productions especially of those operas that have as subject matter topics like sex and violence, like Salome, Lulu, and Poppea. I do think that certain solutions when they are adopted more for shock value than for artistic sense are detrimental to the enjoyment of a production.

Because see, these days, Regie is starting to get predictable as well, and cliche, when you have the obligatory anachronism, the obligatory nudity, and the obligatory obscene moment. While I did revise my views on Regie after the illuminating interview with Thaddeus Strassberger, I'd still question whether or not the cucumber=penis-chopping-off scene is there for artistic necessity or merely to provide the obligatory shock value that some directors feel they must provide. I have serious doubts that a penis-like cucumber being chopped off is essential to the rendition of Monteverdi's music, just as much as I don't think that a huge masturbating bunny is really essential to Der FreischŘtz.

So, given the limitations of a trailer, let's say this is the only such moment in the entire production. I might still label it as Eurotrash based on that one scene - its an Eurotrashy scene, in my humble opinion. Vulgar, like you said. It's likely there more for shock value than anything else, even if the text might indicate some attempt at demasculation - which *can* be rendered without bringing in the vegetables.

Just my opinion and feel free to disagree, but also, take it easy on the people who see it differently than you do, buddy.:kiss.1:

ok

Soave_Fanciulla
May 29th, 2012, 07:07 PM
I agree that in many Regie productions there is a lot of predictable nudity and violence where not appropriate. The difference between Poppea, and in say, Der Freischutz, is that Poppea is ABOUT sex (Pur ti Miro celebrates lust, not love), cruelty, violence and the desire for power. It also has some very funny moments, especially with Arnalta, so the cucumber chopping worked.

After seeing this, every other Poppea is anodyne as hell, including the Jaroussky one which I watched last night.

Dark_Angel
May 29th, 2012, 09:08 PM
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41inUYPgYIL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

The blood and violence (large body count) are not really bothersome to me especially with this tragic storyline, and the light humor and sexual parodies seem to be all the rage now with modern Poppeas so some fun is good.......

I am not really thrilled with the extreme minimalist staging and B&W/sepia color presentation.......except for red blood letting making some nice visuals, just going by the trailer

I can't think of any other newer opera that was released in black and white, I really like the symbolism and striking visual appeal of scences from the soon to be released Miah Persson Poppea, the gods moving humans around like a giant game of chess, love it!

http://i.ytimg.com/vi/q4ON9ZwJrbU/0.jpg

HarpsichordConcerto
May 29th, 2012, 09:22 PM
What? How on earth can you draw such a conclusion from a five minute trailer?
This was most certainly a production of Poppea, not some whitewashed Ballo in maschera set in some indeterminate present.

I see. I might give it a viewing one day. I do take advice from fellow Handelians into account. :kiss.1:

Dark_Angel
May 29th, 2012, 11:44 PM
I see. I might give it a viewing one day. I do take advice from fellow Handelians into account. :kiss.1:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=mSAe_ThZIWM

HC

The new Miah Persson Poppea although basically minimalist staging uses lots of rich colors for striking visuals, playful interesting costumes etc, doesn't Miah look so sexy no wonder Nero cannot resist

And how can Soave Fanciulla resist with her Sarah Conolly doing a great job as Nero.......resistence is quite futile

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
May 30th, 2012, 01:44 AM
doesn't Miah look so sexy no wonder Nero cannot resist



Well, see, now, I love *this* one!!!:love8:
Hey, nice Catalan subtitles!

Soave_Fanciulla
May 30th, 2012, 04:00 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=mSAe_ThZIWM

HC

The new Miah Persson Poppea although basically minimalist staging uses lots of rich colors for striking visuals, playful interesting costumes etc, doesn't Miah look so sexy no wonder Nero cannot resist

And how can Soave Fanciulla resist with her Sarah Conolly doing a great job as Nero.......resistence is quite futile

Yes, I saw this one, but again I'm not convinced, although the singing is lovely.

Amfortas
May 30th, 2012, 02:58 PM
Darn it all. I wish you guys would reach a consensus on these dueling Poppeas.

My wallet can't stand the indecision.

Soave_Fanciulla
May 30th, 2012, 06:58 PM
Darn it all. I wish you guys would reach a consensus on these dueling Poppeas.

My wallet can't stand the indecision.

Oh for goodness sake Amfortas, it's obvious, buy them all and watch them in your cardboard box under the bridge.

That's where you'll find us.

Dark_Angel
May 30th, 2012, 07:07 PM
Oh for goodness sake Amfortas, it's obvious, buy them all and watch them in your cardboard box under the bridge.
That's where you'll find us.

Yes a shame these things cost money heh heh.......for me blu ray format is a big plus so another reason to look closely at Miah Persson

Soave_Fanciulla
May 30th, 2012, 08:35 PM
Don't forget that the Sarah Connolly/Miah Persson version is available in its entirety on YouTube, starting here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5GkbIORaNs&feature=related

Vesteralen
August 23rd, 2012, 06:46 PM
Well, thanks to this thread I now have two Poppea's to try and one to avoid.

What about L'Orfeo? Any particular version stand out to anyone?

Soave_Fanciulla
August 23rd, 2012, 06:58 PM
I have two versions and love them both:

This one from Jordi Savall captures the pastoral essence of the opera, it's beautiful but I find it personally slightly dull - my favourite bit is when Savall walks in in period costume looking for all the world like Monteverdi himself.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513k6AD4loL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

This is choreographed by Tricia Brown and has the wonderful Simon Keenlyside, it's full of beauty and movement and I love everything about it except the Miami Vice loose suits a lot of the cast wear.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5147xJRHrhL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

HarpsichordConcerto
August 23rd, 2012, 09:03 PM
I agree with Soave_Fanciulla's observations above about those two L'Orfeo productions.

This other newer version under William Christie and Les Arts Florissants is good, too with a little more modern flavour on the stage but not avant-garde, and quite beautiful.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/512sZzV5xjL._SL500_AA300_.jpg


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQrAcPMuCS0

HarpsichordConcerto
September 29th, 2012, 01:41 AM
L'incoronazione di Poppea

990

Philippe Jaroussky (Nerone), Danielle de Niese (Poppea), Anna Bonitatibus (Ottavia), Max Emanuel Cencic (Ottone); Les Arts Florissants, William Christie.

The cover says it all! I enjoyed the singing by all, and of course the stars, and the perfect interpretation under Christie's direction from a single manual Italian harpsichord. A small band was used drawing intimacy in an otherwise large opera theatre. Staging was modern-ish, and more or less minimal without major distractions. Main reservation only included a few weird costumes essentially men in drag that looked silly on the stage. The thin booklet included did not provide much information other than a summary of the performers. Overall, a nice one to add to your collection!

Tardis
February 17th, 2013, 04:02 PM
I have been watching the Ponnelle version of Poppea.
1658
I am leaning towards getting the Sarah Connolly/Miah Persson DVD.
If I get it, I will post the review here.

Dark_Angel
February 17th, 2013, 04:33 PM
I have been watching the Ponnelle version of Poppea.
1658
I am leaning towards getting the Sarah Connolly/Miah Persson DVD.
If I get it, I will post the review here.

Tardis do you like the Ponnelle versions.....

I used to have a boxset of the Ponnelle Monteverdi operas with Harnoncort that I eventually sold. The staging is so period ornate and strangely gaudy that I sometimes felt it crossed over into unintended satire like a Flash Gordon over the top style set. I think a "slightly" more abstract modern hybrid style works best with these operas......

The Miah Persson Poppea is completely different bordering on reggie with cheeky scences and setting especially dealing with poppea's flaming maid, on the other hand great visual imagary and bold bright colors plus Persson and Conolly sing and act wonderfully. Depends on if this style is appealing to you

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51c7tzy1eyL._SY300_.jpg http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51oNY23%2BHxL._SY300_.jpg

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
August 18th, 2013, 03:01 AM
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51nVcYZkzmL._SY300_.jpg

L'Incoronazione di Poppea
Dramma musicale in one prologue and three acts
Music by Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)
Libretto by Giovanni Francesco Busenetto

Teatro Real, Madrid
Les Arts Florissants conducted by William Christie, over a new edition of the score by Jonathan Cable
Director, Set, and Costume Designer - Pier Luigi Pizzi
A 2010 co-production Dynamic, Teatro Real, and La Fenice, recorded live at the Teatro Real in May of 2010
Video Direction Matteo Ricchetti

Poppea - Danielle de Niese
Nerone - Philippe Jaroussky
Ottavia - Anna Bonitatibus
Ottone - Max Emanuel Cencic
Seneca - Antonio Abete
Drusilla - Anna Quintans
Lucano - Mathias Vidal
Venere - Claire Debono
Plus, 10 comprimarios I won't list

2 DVDs, 180 minutes of running time, no extras
16:9 NTSC with excellent image definition
Linear PCM 2.0 and Dolby 5.1 sound tracks - I tested the LPCM, it has excellent clarity and balance
Sung in Italian, with Italian, English, French, German, and Spanish subtitles
All regions
No insert beyond a list of credits and four production pictures
Released in 2012 by EMI Records / Virgin Classics
Available on Amazon for $34.18, and in the Amazon marketplace new starting at $14.25 and used at $13.75, plus shipping. [clicky (http://www.amazon.com/Monteverdi-Linconorazione-Poppea-Danielle-Niese/dp/B007ATHNJA/)]

--------

OK, let's see what this recipe gives us. Start with the music of one of the greatest composers of all time, Claudio Monteverdi. Then, hire a small, intimate period ensemble of the highest possible quality, Les Arts Florissants, with 18 musicians plus the brilliant conductor William Christie at the harpsichord, who deliver as usual simply spectacular sounds. Having Christie and Les Arts Florissants is a seal of excellence for any performance of early operas. Add to this someone I consider to arguably be the best male singer currently in activity, Philippe Jaroussky, who commands exceptional phrasing and color, and get as his leading lady one of the most thrilling specialists in this repertory, Danielle de Niese, with her beautiful voice, sultry looks and great acting... put in the mix one of the most talented stage directors in Europe, Pier Luigi Pizzi, whose signature marble-ladden, stark but visually stunning scenery is so pleasing, elegant, and unobtrusive; package it all in very high quality image and sound, film it with no shenanigans... and you have what almost gets to be pure bliss.

But not entirely. As much as there are these strong, and I mean, really, really strong assets, the production is not perfect like some other Les Arts Florissants / William Christie projects. For one thing, Pizzi is much better at scenery than he is at costumes, and while some are beautiful (I like, for instance, a simple white gown with some cleavage, for Poppea), others verge on the ridiculous, including Nerone's – and there is costume anachronism for no good reason. Second, in an opera with such a large cast, it is hard to get good singers in all roles, and there is some uneven singing here. Anna Bonitatibus's Ottavia didn't sink the ship but I've seen better. Some smaller roles weren't that well cast (Valetto, Nutrice), and our Seneca here (Antonio Abete) was definitely a weak link, to disturbing proportions, often incapable of singing on pitch and of sustaining his notes in spite of some better stretches, not to forget that he is a rather lousy actor. On the other hand, Cencic, Quintans, Debono, and Vidal were very good. The former, especially, was a very good surprise - a darker-voiced countertenor with a very pleasant timbre. Danielle is not the only eye candy in this production. Some of the other singing actresses are also very pretty (e.g., a very sexy Drusilla with Ana Quintans – and she can sing!).

2408

What is it, with these sopranos called Ana, or Anna? ;) Two other comprimario women were good singers and good-looking as well: Hanna Bayodi-Hirt as Amore, and Katherina Watson as Virt¨.

Acting in general wasn't this cast's strongest skill, with of course the exception of phenomenal Danielle de Niese (Jaroussky was good too). Also, and this must have been a choice but I don't necessarily have to like it, this production is rather on the static side, at times feeling semi-staged. One also laments the absence of a proper insert, something incomprehensible in this otherwise so polished product.

Regardless of these weaker aspects, what we have here is the Philippe Jaroussky show. I'm crazy about this singer, from recordings, YouTubes, and recitals, including one I attended in person, and sat on the front row center, a couple of yards from him - an unforgettable experience of an evening packed with incredibly beautiful Handel and Vivaldi arias, performed like nobody else can. So, watching one of my favorite singers doing a full opera (something he doesn't do that frequently, unfortunately, as he seems to privilege much more the recital/concert circuit and the recording studio, in his career) is an immense pleasure. It is nice to see that he doesn't just sing divinely, but acts well too. You know, we get used to seeing him looking angelical, formally dressed, discreet, and singing a repertory that is equally angelical. Then, here he is fierce and intense, portraying this far-from-angelical, deranged and evil character dressed like a bird of prey, and he pulls it off perfectly - since I root for him as a very cherished favorite, it is very pleasant to see him succeed in the realms of acting and strong stage presence, as well.

This product is a bit hard to rate. The ups are really high, but some of the downs are really low. I think all things considered I’ll have to give it a B+, while underlining that Philippe, Danielle, some other singers, the orchestra and the conductor, the scenery, and the technical quality of sound, image, and filming, are all A+ (and I won't complain of the eye candy), but the weaker parts such as some disastrous singers, generally lousy acting (with exceptions), static staging, and some ridiculous costumes with distracting and unnecessary anachronisms, do drag down the overall rating. As long as one can get passed the cons to enjoy the many exquisite pros, this product could still be “highly recommended” – but if we do consider everything, than it is only “recommended.”

Dark_Angel
August 18th, 2013, 04:43 PM
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51nVcYZkzmL._SY300_.jpg

L'Incoronazione di Poppea
Dramma musicale in one prologue and three acts
Music by Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)
Libretto by Giovanni Francesco Busenetto

Teatro Real, Madrid
Les Arts Florissants conducted by William Christie, over a new edition of the score by Jonathan Cable
Director, Set, and Costume Designer - Pier Luigi Pizzi
A 2010 co-production Dynamic, Teatro Real, and La Fenice, recorded live at the Teatro Real in May of 2010
Video Direction Matteo Ricchetti

Poppea - Danielle de Niese
Nerone - Philippe Jaroussky
Ottavia - Anna Bonitatibus
Ottone - Max Emanuel Cencic
Seneca - Antonio Abete
Drusilla - Anna Quintans
Lucano - Mathias Vidal
Venere - Claire Debono
Plus, 10 comprimarios I won't list

2 DVDs, 180 minutes of running time, no extras
16:9 NTSC with excellent image definition
Linear PCM 2.0 and Dolby 5.1 sound tracks - I tested the LPCM, it has excellent clarity and balance
Sung in Italian, with Italian, English, French, German, and Spanish subtitles
All regions
No insert beyond a list of credits and four production pictures
Released in 2012 by EMI Records / Virgin Classics
Available on Amazon for $34.18, and in the Amazon marketplace new starting at $14.25 and used at $13.75, plus shipping. [clicky (http://www.amazon.com/Monteverdi-Linconorazione-Poppea-Danielle-Niese/dp/B007ATHNJA/)]


I can't believe how many Poppea's have been released in last 3-4 years.......

Was hoping Pizzi would be more creative in the prolog with gods arguing who is most influential, pretty standard take that could have been more visually dramatic

Jaroussky version does have many positives and I like it much better than Danni's other recent Poppea below which I have since sold off, a bit puzzled by the rave reviews at Amazon

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41AQpkMp%2BuL._SY300_.jpg

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
August 18th, 2013, 05:25 PM
I can't believe how many Poppea's have been released in last 3-4 years.......

Was hoping Pizzi would be more creative in the prolog with gods arguing who is most influential, pretty standard take that could have been more visually dramatic

Jaroussky version does have many positives and I like it much better than Danni's other recent Poppea below which I have since sold off, a bit puzzled by the rave reviews at Amazon

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41AQpkMp%2BuL._SY300_.jpg

Hey, great. Another very well informed opera lover who likes Jaroussky's version better than Alice Coote's. Here is to tyroneslothrop: :laugh3:

(OK, kidding, of course; tyrone is a good friend and I very much enjoyed our Jaroussky discussion)

Soave_Fanciulla
August 18th, 2013, 07:02 PM
Hey, great. Another very well informed opera lover who likes Jaroussky's version better than Alice Coote's. Here is to tyroneslothrop: :laugh3:

(OK, kidding, of course; tyrone is a good friend and I very much enjoyed our Jaroussky discussion)


I love Alice Coote in this. I don't buy Jaroussky as a very sexual being.

My personal favourite is the one with Cencic and Yoncheva. Cenci does unhinged so well, and Yoncheva would seduce anyone and anything.

tyroneslothrop
August 18th, 2013, 07:30 PM
OK, everyone take note, I'm LIKING Soave's note here! ;)

Soave_Fanciulla
August 18th, 2013, 10:26 PM
OK, everyone take note, I'm LIKING Soave's note here! ;)

aaarggghhhhh