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Le Nozze Di Figaro [DVD] [Import]
|価格:||￥ 4,225 通常配送無料 詳細|
Mozart's Marriage of Figaro is a comedy whose dark undertones explore the blurred boundaries between dying feudalism and emerging Enlightenment. Among dozens of fine Figaros on CD and DVD, few are as finely sung as this one, filmed in 1976 to a soundtrack recorded the previous year.
Herman Prey's Figaro is admirably sung in a firm baritone and aptly characterized. So too, is his antagonist, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau as the Count perpetually frustrated by the scheming wiles of Figaro and Susanna, here the perky Mirella Freni, who sings and acts like a dream. The Countess is creamy-voiced Kiri Te Kanawa, and the Cherubino, Maria Ewing, looks just like the horny, teenaged page she's supposed to be. The all-star leads are complemented by worthy supporting singers, the Vienna Philharmonic at the top of its form, and the experienced Mozartian, Karl Bm conducting a stylishly fleet performance.
The problematic visuals though, don't match the musical attributes of this Figaro. Director Jean-Pierre Ponnelle says film techniques of editing and special effects permit added musical and interpretive components. So we get nervously irrelevant camera movements, distorted close-ups, jump-cuts that place singers in impossible places during arias, and--most distracting of all--arias on the soundtrack while the "singer" stares close-mouthed at walls, ceilings, and furnishings. Try Te Kanawa's beautifully sung "Porgi amor" to see how this distracting technique subverts the music, rather than "complementing" it. Of course, this may not bother many but others will prefer to listen to the glorious soundtrack and give Ponnelle's directorial hubris a pass. --Dan Davis
It should be obvious from the description, but perhaps it won't hurt to re-iterate that this is a movie. If one is looking for the feeling of attending opera in a live performance in an opera house, this isn't it. And while the singers and characters seen on the screen are one and the same, they lip-sync to a soundtrack that they recorded in a studio--standard practice for any movie musical, resulting in better sound than would otherwise be possible, and the overall result is quite good (with one exception noted below). Being a movie simultaneously confines and liberates: one can't quite escape the knowledge in the back of his/her head that what we see did not happen in real time in front of a live audience but rather was something manufactured and put into a film can. I don't mean to suggest that anything about this superb production seems disjoint, but I am simply acknowledging that in our hearts we know that this is a package quite different from the reality of the opera house. But what we lose in one kind of verisimilitude we gain in another: this is opera set free from the limitations of the stage and turned loose into a whole outside world as real as the considerable talent of director Jean-Pierre Ponnelle can imagine. I found opera in this format to be absolutely beautiful and completely satisfying.
Any casual resemblance to a stage production vanishes when Ponnelle chooses to have the singers not move their lips when they are merely thinking their words rather than singing them out loud. It's sort of a cute idea, but I found it a bit weird & jarring. Even as a film, this is opera; and the whole artifice of having people going around singing rather than speaking is inherent to the form; so I think it would have been better if the film had stuck with that convention rather than having the viewer hear words come from closed lips. If the opera had permitted these inner thoughts to have been delivered sotto voce, it might have worked; but thankfully, the producers did not distort the music to suit this device.
This DVD satisfies what is for me the essential prerequisite for a successful opera video: audio that is decent enough not to detract from the experience. It doesn't have to be state-of-the art sound; this one isn't quite; but it is plenty good enough, which is more than I can say for one of the other top-rated DVDs listed on this site, which I found to be all but unlistenable; I refer to the star-studded 1973 Glyndebourne Festival Opera production, which I review later below.
Visually this DVD has the softness and warmth associated with film itself, as opposed to the more clinical look of the straight-to-video reproduction used for most (but not all) opera-house productions on DVD. The picture approaches the limit of what DVDs are capable of, leading me to wonder if it could look still better on Blu-ray; but given that the film is not wide-screen and that the soundtrack's surround sound is simulated, it is not thought to be up to the standard expected of the high-def format. Still, any time the source is 35mm film, there is more detail available than can be presented in standard definition; so I hope that some day it isn't felt that everything has to be in up-to-the-minute twenty-first century technology to justify its release on Blu-ray.
As to specifics of the performance, I leave most of that to the other reviewers on these pages, with whose consensus I agree: this is a marvelous cast in great form, and we have the great Mozart conductor Karl Böhm at the podium of the Vienna Philharmonic. The only other assemblage on video that I know of that is as well suited to the channeling of Mozart directly into our hearts is that of the Met's 1985 production, also designed by Ponnelle, but this time as a stage production. Although not available for purchase, it is available to stream from the Met's Website for a fee.
Although I have taken care to point out the DVD's few deficiencies lest they take someone unawares, my advice is to overlook them. The only possibly good reason not to acquire this DVD is if you are limited in your opera library to no more than one performance each; then you have a terrible dilemma between buying this gem and buying a stage version; and that is not a decision I can make for you; but if you can allow yourself the luxury of two versions of the Marriage of Figaro, this should be one of them!
It seems that Amazon's computers assume all DVDs of a given opera are essentially the same product; so I am not allowed to review another version of Le Nozze independently. I am adding it here for the record because I seriously disagree with the consensus regarding Mozart - Le Nozze di Figaro / Te Kanawa, Cotrubas, von Stade, Luxon, Skram, Fryatt; Pritchard, Glyndebourne Opera and would have given it only 2 stars:
Summary: Splendid singing, sabotaged by the audio
As one of the top-rated "Figaros" on these pages, it should be better than this. Yes, the singing is wonderful; and almost everything about the production as seen in the theater was top-notch, although the orchestral playing was not of the same quality as the singing. The orchestra may, however, have been better than can be heard through the poor audio quality, which makes it sound as if they're all playing on cheap starter instruments. The sound from the orchestra pit is dead, while the sound from the stage is as if from a gym heard through a tunnel and then trapped in a honky old loudspeaker. Live pickup was still an underdeveloped technology at the time of this recording in 1973. There is no stereo separation and almost no sense of space; so it might as well have been mono. At first I couldn't stand it and turned it off, but then I gritted my teeth and ventured back in for about half of it. I am surprised that so many of the reviewers here have ignored or dismissed this deficiency as irrelevant. What could be more important than the sound?
Fortunately, there are alternatives, one being this delicious film by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, which I have been reviewing above. More directly comparable is a much more recent Covent Garden production, stunningly beautiful on Blu-ray Le Nozze di Figaro [Blu-ray], but a little lacking in the vocal department on the women's side. To find a stage production on video that did full justice to this miraculous score, I had to return to the 1985 Met performance with Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Stade. Alas, it is not available for sale; but one can stream it for a modest price from the Met's Website. The picture quality is comparable to that on this release (not very good, but bearable), and the audio is better.
Back to the performance at hand (the 1973 Glyndebourne, that is), it is wonderful to see Te Kanawa and von Stade in their younger days, and this would make a good one-time rental, but is definitely not for the opera library if one cares about the sound. As far as the video is concerned, I did not find it particularly objectionable; unlike the audio, it is not critical to the enjoyment of the music; and it is quite serviceable in terms of showing the costumes, action, and sets. Its quality is slightly better than standard-broadcast TV, though well short of the best available on DVD.
The singing is about as close to perfection as it gets; but the ensemble between the singers and orchestra is just OK, suffering from the lapses that are all but unavoidable in live performance. If this production were available on a DVD that was of at least average quality, or if the performance itself were so miraculous as to brush aside any technical objections, it would be worth owning; unfortunately, neither is the case.
The film was staged, directed and designed by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, the master director who created scores of opera films like this for Unitel in the 70's and 80's. I have enjoyed most of them, but this is one of the best of the lot, one could argue, mostly because the singing is so strong. The stage direction can seem a bit odd and funny in 2009, but very clever nonetheless, such as the scenes in first act from Cherubino's "Non so piú" through to the trio "Cosa sento!" They show the cinematic perspectives that one cannot enjoy on stage, or even films of stage productions, and convincingly delineate the musical and psychological details of the score and the libretto. The acting is, if a bit overdone (after all, one sees the remnant of stage acting from these veteran singers), very convincing, in that it really does the job of bringing out the musical intentions of the composer.
In sum, there isn't much to dislike about this production. The strongest element is the singing, which is just about perfect. This, combined with a very strong production musical direction, makes for an indispensable part of anyone's opera collection.