Benvenuto Cellini [Blu-ray]
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Top Customer Reviews
Where to start? Updating frequently can add interest and make the auditor rethink his/her ideas about the work in question. In this particular case it is simply silly. Cellini makes his appearance in Act I via a helicopter! The setting is a rooftop (in Rome?) and Balducci has two robots as servants. Oh yes, Ascanio is also a robot. An hommage to Star Wars? Don't ask. If the updating were witty, imaginative, artistic and relevant I would probably sound less churlish. As it stands, however, there is nothing about the staging that I find engaging or likeable. Salzburg became (under Mortier) a showcase for outrageous staging. Sometimes it worked and sometimes not.
All of this would be academic if the singing were world class. According to the notes, Burkhard Fritz has sung Cellini before. I understand that he sings frequently at Bayreuth; no matter, as the voice is not a beautiful one nor one that is used artistically.Read more ›
This deliberately outrageous Salzburg Festival production, with its helicopter, robots & a tattooed, rockstarrish Cellini in leather jacket, black T-shirt & jeans, renders the entire onstage enterprise a meaningless melange, with no relevance whatsoever to the historical time, place & characters the opera is about.
That said, the soloists, chorus, conductor & orchestra are all outstanding, performing with brilliance, high spirits & unflagging energy. They, as well as Berlioz & his librettists, the premium-paying Salzburg audience &, of course, we, the DVD-buying opera-loving public, all deserved better than this mindless Eurogarbage.
According to the notes ,the opera concerns Cellini's wooing of Teresa, the daughter of the papal treasurer,Balducci,who would prefer Teresa to marry Cellini's rival, the cowardly Fieramosca. When Cellini attempts to abduct Teresa at Carnival time, a fight ensues in which Cellini kills Fieramosca's hired assassin. Cellini disappears,returns under the cover of a monks procession, is arrested, and is pardoned by the Pope only on the hurried completion of commissioned statue of Perseus. You may think how can Berlioz make a opera out of these ideas, and make it funny in parts. He does.
The notes also state" a mix of futurism a la Metropolis, fantasy,a la Batman,juxtaposed in the form of photo montages,also a helicopter, a shark and the winged vechile of the Pope." Metropolis was a German film directed by Fritz Lang in 1927. The first Sci-fi film.Read more ›
The production is another matter. At its best it is irrelevant: at its worst downright silly. To start with the first act seems to take place on the roof of a building looking out at a city skyscape - maybe New York. Who knows? But then we meet Mr and Mrs 3CPR as Teresa's servants. And as Anna Russell used to say, "You know I'm not making this up." Plus during the show there are various distractions projected on the back wall. Fireworks. And who knows what else.
Then we meet Cellini's apprentice Ascanio. He is R2D2 although much more feminine since this is a trouser role. Toward the end of the opera R2D2 literally loses his head. He has to sing his big aria with his head pushing up from the stage floor and his abandoned body running around desperately trying to reconnect. God knows why. Certainly there is enough action in Cellini for any director to have a ball without going out for the truly ghastly and stupid.
The pope has a role in this opera and here he appears as a lavender wearing drag queen surrounded by his foppish lackeys. Duh! Why! Is the director anti catholic. Is there some idea behind all this trash beyond the desire to be outrageous. And wait till you see the pope mobile.
At the least Regie directors should provide some game plan for their productions so that we have a slight chance of getting their message. That is provided there is one.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The production is impossibly Eurotrash--Berlioz by way of Star Wars. I wept when i remembered the epic Met production of a few years ago, which was unfortunately not recorded for... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Alfredo R. Villanueva
This production is completely offensive and ridiculous. Unfortunately there seems to be no alternative production. However, do NOT buy this one. Read morePublished on May 11, 2013 by T. Weaver
Maija Kovalevska makes an heroic effort here but her efforts are
swamped by the overall "eurotrash" character of the production. Read more
I am from South Korea and I am a fourteen-year-old student. I saw Benvenuto Cellini for the first time ever in my life and it's perfect. Read morePublished on February 27, 2012 by rinaldo
How could they do this to Hector Berlioz? He was one of the greatest composers of his time. Les Troyens is arguable the greatest opera of it's time. Read morePublished on May 4, 2011 by Dr. John W. Rippon
I'm in two minds about Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini but I don't think it has anything to do with Philipp Stölzl's extravagant and somewhat eccentric direction of the composer's... Read morePublished on April 22, 2011 by Keris Nine
I cannot stand so-called Euro-trash productions, but people like to grab hold of that term, and apply it to any modernized opera. Read morePublished on January 13, 2011
This production definitely gives you a sense of awe and spectacle. There is never a dull moment. I was truly impressed with the sheer production value of this opera. Read morePublished on January 25, 2010 by C. Briley
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