- Sorry, this item is not available in
- Image not available
- To view this video download Flash Player
The production is traditional in many respects, but inventive in finding means to delineate character. Stage Director Guido de Monticelli, long known for his work with actors, here gets some very fine performances from Marianelli, Taddia, and Concetti in particular. There's a great deal of byplay among them, and even Vinco--who seems less comfortable with physical expressiveness--does a fine turn in his act II duet with Concetti, "A proposito, amico." The chorus of sea-faring Gypsies moves about and engages in seemingly varied, specific, and always convincing business when on stage. Very occasionally, the comic business spills over into excess, as whenever the chorus of Fiorilla's suitors appears. Each is given something to do--but should we really be watching a swimmer, another pantomiming shaking water off his newspaper, a third lighting a cigar with great enjoyment, while the soprano is singing her first aria? I suspect this is a case of de Montecelli not trusting the aria's content or Marianelli's art to sustain the piece.
He really should have given her more credit. She makes a wonderfully convincing hellcat in the skin of a Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood sex kitten. Her singing is its match: secure and effortless, with a fine mezzo-ish lower range soaring free and clear as it goes higher. Her coloratura, too, is immaculate, and well matched by that of Vinco. He gives us a rare opportunity to hear a fine coloratura bass in something other than Baroque opera; and hear him we do, to great advantage, as Vinco's dark timbre and easy production make certain he's properly heard, without stentorian effort, in every one of his concerted numbers. Concetti, a graduate of Pesaro's Rossini Conservatory, seldom gets a chance really to shine in this work. His best moment is that same duet mentioned above, when he traces a thread of coloratura softly, swiftly, with a refinement like lace. Taddia's is the moment when a bit of metal rings out sweetly towards the end of act I. Adami gets the expected aria for the lyrical tenor, however, and acquits himself attractively in "Tu seconda il mio disegno," if with some slight tremulousness. Finally, Belfiore sounds fine when singing loudly, but can't tamp down her over-emphatic vibrato for the rest of her part.
The blocking is excellent, and Paolo Bregni's clever use of space certainly helps matters. I especially enjoyed the opulently decorated apartment of Fiorilla in act I, built in a tight subsection of the stage, and made to feel even smaller by the addition of oversized furniture. The effect with the flirt, the ruler, the husband, and the suitor all in the small area was not unlike the wonderfully claustrophobic stateroom scene in the Marx Brothers' Night at the Opera. The costuming by Santuzza Cali (great name for someone involved with opera, isn't it?) shows an awareness of style and an acute eye for color. Camerawork is excellent, with shots chosen for the entire width of action rather than whoever is singing at the moment. I only take exception to the repetitive and unnecessary cutaway sequences during the Overture, showing us the fountains and groups of strolling visitors at the Festival.
I'm not sure where the musicians of the Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano e Trento regularly work, singly or as a group, when not performing at this yearly event, but they have none of the discipline issues sometimes associated with Italian ensembles (and the fortepiano for the recitatives is a nice touch too). Allemandi presses ahead too hard at times, without regard for the flexible musical line or his singers, but generates a good deal of cumulative energy.
Sound is available in Dolby stereo 2.0 and Dolby surround 5.0. The aspect ratio is 16:9; subtitles are in English and Italian, only. What we've got here is not a big-name Il turco, but one that amply justifies its frequent audience applause. -- Barry Brenesal, Fanfare, Jan-Feb 2010