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Rossini: Le Comte Ory
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Le Comte Ory tells the story of a libidinous and cunning nobleman who disguises himself first as a hermit and then as a nun ("Sister Colette") in order to gain access to the virtuous Countess Adele, whose brother is away at the Crusades. The 2011 Met production was directed by the Tony Award-winning Broadway director Bartlett Sher, who in recent years has also staged Il barbiere di Siviglia and Les Contes d'Hoffman for the Met. Sher presented the action as an opera within an opera, updated the action by a few centuries and giving the costume designer, Catherine Zuber, the opportunity to create some particularly extravagant headgear. Juan Diego Florez starred as the title role while Diana Damrau plays his love interest, Countess Adele, and Joyce DiDonato was in breeches as his pageboy Isolier. The trio had appeared in Sher's production of Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia.
The New York Times praised "the terrific cast", citing Damrau's "lustrous, agile coloratura soprano voice, and charisma galore" and describing how DiDonato, "who sang with plush sound and impeccable passagework, sent top notes soaring and conveyed all the swagger of a smitten page."
The Financial Times named Florez, "a bel-canto paragon virtually without peer. He attacks and/or floats top tones with laughing ease, phrases with slender grace and exudes charm even when impersonating a singing nun". The Wall Street Journal said: "It was a treat to hear Mr. Florez navigate the vocal extremes of the role, popping out high C's while adopting a rascally but winning demeanor."
Conducted with verve and finesse by Rossini specialist Maurizio Benini, the production also features the stylish French baritone Stephane Degout as Ory's bibulous conspirator Raimbaud (quite a change from his previous Met role - Debussy's gentle Pelleas), charismatic Italian bass Michele Pertusi as the Count's long-suffering Tutor, and, formidable as Adele's housekeeper Ragonde, the Swedish dramatic mezzo Susanne Resmark.
Top Customer Reviews
This performance was a Met HD simulcast last spring, just about one year ago. It has been available on Metplayer and YouTube (in its entirety, with subtitles) for some time, and that is where I became addicted to it. I have watched that little screen for months and am eagerly awaiting its "debut" here on the big screen TV, in surround sound. Here's why:
IT'S WELL SUNG. While every member of the cast sings well, the three principle singers, Juan Diego Florez (JDF), Diana Damrau and Joyce DiDonato are simply superb. This is an opera that requires true coloratura singing from its leads, and it is difficult to assess which of the three turns in the most ... agile performance, although I think it is Ms Damrau "by a nose". The three are known for their "bel canto technique" (Ms. DiDonato sang at the most recent Grammy a short while ago, the first opera singer ever to do so), and Le Comte gives them all ample opportunities to display their talents and skills, which are prodigious.
IT IS WELL STAGED. In fact, the staging is exquisitely well done. At the risk of provoking a debate, I will note that there appear to be some folks who enjoy simply listening to the music, with less interest in the visual aspects of opera. I do this myself. But opera is a form of drama; it exists on the stage. Where I live, live performances are not; we attend the Met simulcasts when we see something we like, and have accumulated a nice selection of opera on DVD.Read more ›
The basic concept, which I thought might be somewhat gimmicky, is a stage within a stage where the audience is seeing the prompter and various stagehands manipulating the various stage effects and scenery as would have been done in 1828, the year of the opera's composition. While such a conception could ultimately prove to be overly distracting, the overall effect proves to be quite successful... and especially so in the storm scene in the second act... where stagehands operate a wind machine, produce thunder from a sheet of metal, and even attempt a primitive attempt at producing lightening. Similarly the costumes have the aura of a Nineteenth Century viewpoint of the Middle Ages and as such are an effective component of the staging.
Still, however inventive the production, in a Bel Canto opera it is the singing that counts and here the MET delivers in spades. In the title role as the lecherous Count Ory, who disguises himself as both a holy man and ultimately as a nun to have his way with the Countess Adele, Juan Diego Florèz is in his element.Read more ›
Equally impressive is the dts 5.1 sound track...................it is so clear and well balanced.............the bass is very well defined and pronounced as it should be when playing and reproducing Rossini's music. Great job by the sound engineers on this disc.
The staging was OK, but not nearly as fluid as the 2005 Glyndebourne dvd of this opera.............the small stage on a stage cramped it........that was really evident in the banquet scene which I thought looked very clunky.
All that aside, this may be the best bel canto singing I have heard in a long time.......all three leads were simply magnificent..they sang well and acted with great comic energy. They did this Rossini masterpiece proud.
The interviews conducted by hostess Rene Flemming were interesting to me as always. Most interesting was a question to Joyce DiDonato about the relative difficulty of singing coloratura in Rossini vs Handel...she said Handel was harder........I never would have guessed that.
This a great opera sung by bel canto singers of the highest level.......highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this opera a lot when it was shown on PBS. I decided at that moment that I was going to buy the DVD. Read more
There have been many instances in the past history of operatic performances where some conductor, producer, stage manager or impresario has discovered that a particular and special... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Jorge
It was delivered on time and since then I have seen it many times. Excellent!Published 9 months ago by P. Paredes
Florez seems to elevate everything he does, even though no tenor is trained to sing as they did in the composer's time...Published 11 months ago by Donald W. Honan
This dvd is pure delight, presenting an excellent Met production of a fine comic opera. Although the score does not equal The Barber of Seville or La Cenerentola in overall... Read morePublished 16 months ago by jlh
Fabulous Rossini - as always. This is truly a comic opera full of action, wonderful voices and, above all, choruses. Juan Diego Florez is my favorite. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Helga Powell
Sorry, see my review of "The Tales of Hoffman,: which I thought was this one.Published 17 months ago by Robert M. Nied
I had forgotten to put in a review for this despite having watched it many times- but others have covered the ground! Read morePublished 18 months ago by Sonofhector