Your rating(Clear)Rate this item
Share your thoughts with other customers

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: VHS TapeVerified Purchase
I believe that the filming of this video was done only to preserve the performance for archival purposes since the camera angle seems to be fixed and offers few close-up shots. The production is almost lively enough to counteract the wooden camera, and the singing is elegant and witty. I would recommend this version to true Rossini fans, just for the pleasure of listening to Michele Pertusi's polished handling of Mustafà's fioritura. It is also a delight to watch Anna Maria Di Mico's Isabella vamping all the men on stage in her slinky, jazz-age haute couture.

Bruno Praticò is a pleasant surprise as Isabella's companion, Taddeo. He is not the usual funny-uncle buffo, but actually sings his role with agility as Isabella's jaded, world-weary lover. He is also a Desi Arnez look-alike, even after he loses his hair in the Kaimakan scene so it is hard not to think of Isabella as a seductive, domineering, patent-leather Lucy.

Those of us who listen to the Saturday afternoon Met broadcasts have been spoiled by Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez, singing the role of Lindoro. He 'is' Lindoro. Nevertheless, William Matteuzzi sings a credible, ingratiating lover, pining over his lost Isabella even while mopping out the Turkish bath of the first scene. He gallops musically through his requirements for 'una donna singolar' while shaving a fidgety Mustafà, then sparkles as he and Taddeo conspire to turn the Algerian Bey into a sleepy Italian 'Pappataci.'

Rossini's youthful, high-spirited, 1813 opera is treated with wit and reverence in this Italian production, issued by the Bel Canto Society in 1998. A jaunty piano improvises ahead of, and sometimes overwhelms the secco recitatives but somehow it seems to fit right in with this jazzy production. It is my favorite, after two separate (unofficial) video versions with Marilyn Horne's spunky, glorious Isabella.

There is a long intermission 'feature' which makes me wonder if the Bel Canto Society taped over an Italian film about marital infidelity when recording this opera. Just fast-forward through it, and the opera's second act will eventually appear.

NOTE: no subtitles. I wish this Italian girl would come out on DVD.
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: VHS TapeVerified Purchase
This 1957 made-for-Italian-TV video has the jolliest group of eunuchs, the worst lip-synching, and the biggest, baddest Mustafá of any of my four video versions of "L'Italiana in Algeri." You'll take one look at Bass-Baritone Mario Petri while he's rolling his eyes and baring his teeth, and think 'Bluto.' He does a decent job of singing 'Mustafa', but must have recognized that his true strength lay in acting. Petri is best known for appearing in such sword-and-sandal epics as "Rampage of Evil (1965)," "The Conqueror and the Empress (1964)," "Sandokan against the Leopard of Sarawak (1964)," and "Hercules and the Captive Women (1963)."
Alvinio Misciano, the tenor who sings Lindoro also changed careers and made his claim to lasting fame by teaching voice to Luciano Pavarotti.
The video quality and sound track of this 'Italian Girl' are poor and it was filmed in black-and-white with no subtitles. There is also an annoying little 'RAI' symbol that skips from corner to corner of the screen throughout the whole tape.
However the role of Isabella is sung by a young Teresa Berganza at the beginning of her career and she is quite wonderful to watch. Her mezzo is rich and alluring, her acting pert and self-assured. Her prissy, middle-aged suitor is sung by Sesto Bruscantini, one of the best buffos of the post-war era. He is dead-on as Taddeo. In fact, he and Bluto--I mean Petri--almost but not quite steal the show from Berganza, especially in the 'Pappataci' scene.
Lots of hilarious slapstick, miming, and mugging take place on the Disney-Moorish sets, even while the principals are singing. This is a very jolly 'Italian Girl.' In spite of the poor visuals and audio, I recommend it to true Rossini and Marx Brothers fans everywhere.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2004
Format: VHS TapeVerified Purchase
First of all, be aware that this video does not have subtitles. The filming is amateurish. Mustafa is singing and the camera is on Isabela. The singing is OK, but the production is almost ridiculous at times. I had just seen this opera at the Met when I bought the video and was very disappointed. Some of the blocking is embarassing as well.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.