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Monteverdi: L'Orfeo (Teatro alla Scala 2009)


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Editorial Reviews

Roberta Invernizzi, Georg Nigl, Sara Mingardo, Luigi De Donato, and Raffaella Milanesi star in this La Scala production of the Monteverdi opera with Rinaldo Alessandrini conducting and Robert Wilson directing. This opera was filmed in high definition with

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Rinardo Alessandrini, Georg Nigl, Roberta Invernizzi, Sara Mingardo, Raffaella Milanesi
  • Directors: Robert Wilson, Emanuele Garofalo
  • Writers: Claudio Monteverdi, Alessandro Striggio
  • Producers: Teatro alla Scala
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: Italian (DTS 5.1), Italian (PCM2 .0)
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Opus Arte
  • DVD Release Date: March 29, 2011
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004H6P2S8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,019 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Keris Nine TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 24, 2011
Format: DVD
The minimalist staging of Robert Wilson's opera productions is not something that is to everyone's taste, but it is certainly unique and idiosyncratic, and no matter how familiar you are with a particular opera, you can be sure that Wilson's stage direction will provide a new way of looking at a piece and bring out elements or propose ideas that you might never have considered before. It is however not suited to every kind of opera. His production for Aida several years ago at the Royal Opera House was visually striking in its beauty and in the wondrous and carefully considered colour-coded light schemes, but the static nature of the production simply sucked the life out of one particular opera that merits a slightly more vibrant approach, if not necessarily always quite as flamboyant as Zeffirelli's.

On the other hand, the stripped-down staging works better, it seems to me, when applied to more abstract subjects or at least the more archetypal matters of Greek mythology in opera seria and Baroque opera. Wilson's work for the Paris Châtelet productions of Alceste and Orphée et Eurydice, for example, is appropriate and perfectly in accordance with Gluck's reforming of over-elaborate and long-winded opera. The same should apply, one would think, to Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, the work that is considered the first opera proper - first performed in Mantua in 1607 - and, for many, the model to which opera should aspire.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Giordano Bruno on September 30, 2011
Format: DVD
... with this production of Monteverdi's "Orfeo". The stage is too big for it, or at least for the blue-light stasis of this version of it. Everything in the mythic drama becomes diffuse and bland, like a Wagner opera seen through heavy fog. And the La Scala orchestra, even with the support of the best continuo in town, doesn't have a clue of early Baroque performance practices, even with the masterful Rinaldo Alessandrini conducting. Against the whooshy colors of a modern 'symphonic' pit, the singers can't commit themselves to Monteverdi's "affect". You'd think that conservatory-trained instrumentalists employed by a major opera house, with a Baroque specialist conducting them, could adapt to suitable Baroque style, but perhaps you really can't teach "old dogs new tricks."

This is the next-to-least satisfactory of the six productions of Orfeo available on DVD. The least satisfactory is the oldest, the flamboyantly costumed Zurich production by Harnoncourt/Ponelle; that was a heroic door-opener in its time, but the musical values are very weak. The best, to my ears and mind, is the Netherlands Opera production, directed by Pierre Audi and conducted by Stephen Stubbs. The recent production from Madrid, conducted by William Christie, is a delight to my ears but a perplexity to my mind.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By This-and-That on July 14, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
To be irresponsibly brief, let me say that doing Monteverdi's chamber opera Orfeo--performed in 1607 in a room in the ducal palace in Mantua--on the scale of the La Scala stage poses challenges to any director in terms of movement within volume. When Robert Wilson staged Puccini's Butterfly and Wagner's Parsifal, his iconic style could work against huge surging, attention-dominating orchestral forces that spilled over bar-lines and through the souls of the singers on stage. Monteverdi's score has lively dances and text-connected solos in recitar cantando--speaking in a singing voice. Wilson adapted his usual glacial movement meant to represent congealed inner feeling, but the 1607 opera is all about verbal ex-pression, not repression. (The signature 90-degree head snap from Einstein on the Beach is here, too.) The result of Wilson's familiar stylization here is, oddly enough, not "modern" or "moderne" at all, but an external, early 20th-century, monumentalizing of the work that only fills it with cold air and slow, symmetrical friezes that no amount of energy pumped in by Alessandrini can animate. Think of Emily Dickinson stretched horizontally to Whitmanesque size.
The chorus does not really dance. And don't ask about the chimp or the white rabbits.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paul Pelkonen on January 4, 2012
Format: Blu-ray
Theatrical styles clash across a 400-year gulf in this Opus Arte DVD of Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, shot at La Scala. American director/designer Robert Wilson applies his trademark minimalist style to this opera, the oldest work from the Italian renaissance to remain in the repertory today. But fear not. If you can't stand the visuals, turn off the TV and run your player through the stereo. This is a beautiful performance.

Monteverdi's setting of the Orpheus myth is the oldest work in the repertory--a stark retelling of the story that combined dance, solo singing and skilled choral writing in a way that would prove enduring for the next four centuries. First performed in Mantua at the court of the Duke of Gonzaga in 1607, L'Orfeo proved instantly popular. Conceived as an entertainment for the nobility, it was soon discovered to resonate with the common man, sowing the seed for the entire operatic genre.

L'Orfeo takes place on the fields of Thrace and in the underworld below. Mr. Wilson chose a painting by Titian (well actually, a small bit of the background from Venus and Music) to create a Greek grove that, by his standards, qualifies as an actual set. the second act takes place mostly in the dark.There is not much action, but by the standards set by this director's Wagner productions or his work with Philip Glass, this staging is positively hyperactive.

If you've ever seen a Wilson show, you know what to expect. The cast moves about the stage in the trademark "Wilson pose" (one arm extended and one elbow bent, the feet paced slowly and evenly.) They turn slowly, their hands rigid under colored lights and their faces corpse-like under greasepaint.
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Monteverdi: L'Orfeo (Teatro alla Scala 2009)
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