In January 2007, superstar soprano Natalie Dessay, joined on stage by acclaimed tenor Juan Diego Florez dazzled British audiences in Laurent Pelly's new production of Donizetti's "LA FILLE DU REGIMENT". The perfectly staged & cast production became the operatic event of the year, receiving rave press reviews & rapturous audience ovations.
This DVD version of Donizettis comic opera zooms right to the top of any list of essential videos for opera fans. It may not be the composers best work, but given a top-notch production with world class singing actors, it brings vocal thrills and an abundance of laughs, a combination thats hard to beat. The stars are Juan Diego Flórez and Natalie Dessay, both unbeatable in bel canto
roles, and both in top form here. Flórezs mellifluous tenor is flexible enough to make child's play of the terrifying (to other tenors) nine high Cs in Ah! mes amis
," and supple enough to make his tender love arias moving. Dessay is equally comfortable in the stratospheric coloratura passages and poignant in such heart-tugging set-pieces as her farewell to her regimental "fathers" and her misery as the victim of the Marquises well-meaning attempts to teach her to be an aristocratic lady. Shes also a terrific comic actress. In her first appearance shes doing the regiments laundry, and her antics with the iron and the ironing board while singing elaborately difficult coloratura passages induce belly laughs. But then, so do her comic acting in many other scenes, such as her Act II entry in a silk dress and full petticoat, her walk a wonderful parody of a "ladys" heel-to-toe gait. That moment alone is worth the price of admission. Lesser roles too, are done to perfection. Felicity Palmer, a long-time Covent Garden favorite, is a delicious Marquise de Berkenfield, and Donald Maxwell, is her apt partner as Hortensius, her servant. Sergeant Sulpice, the heroines protector, is well-sung and acted by Alessandro Corbelli, and Dawn French almost steals the show as the overbearing Duchess. Conductor Bruno Campanella leads a spirited performance, enhanced by the fine playing by the Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House. Laurent Pellys stage direction is wonderful for its comic touches and Chantal Thomas simple but effective sets add to the delights. The video direction efficiently serves the staging, focusing on the action and the singers without adding extraneous shots that detract from the musical flow. All of which makes this DVD a can't-miss for opera fans. --Dan Davis La Fille du regiment
is in 16:9 ratio. Sound options include PCM Stereo, Dolby 5.1 Surround and DTS 5.1 Surround. Subtitles include English, French, German, Spanish, and Italian.