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  • Rossini - Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) / Dario Fo, Zedda, Larmore, Croft, Netherlands Opera
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Rossini - Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) / Dario Fo, Zedda, Larmore, Croft, Netherlands Opera


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Rossini - Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) / Dario Fo, Zedda, Larmore, Croft, Netherlands Opera + Mozart - The Magic Flute / Ostman, Biel, Dahlberg, Drottningholm Court Theatre
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Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Croft, Renato Capecchi, Jennifer Larmore, David Malis, Simone Alaimo
  • Directors: Hans Hulscher
  • Writers: Alberto Zedda, Beaumarchais, Cesare Sterbini
  • Format: Classical, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Italian (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 26, 1999
  • Run Time: 153 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00001O2G9
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,840 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Rossini - Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) / Dario Fo, Zedda, Larmore, Croft, Netherlands Opera" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

In an audio recording, the distinctive quality of this Netherlands Opera production would go unnoticed, and a lot of people might like it better without pictures. The singing is first-class, with a pert, smart, visually appealing Rosina (Jennifer Larmore), a Count Almaviva who can spin out bel canto melodies and also do a good drunk scene (Richard Croft), a Figaro with lots of personality (David Malis). And conductor Alberto Zedda is an expert in the music of Rossini. But video brings out the fact that, for better or for worse, this Barber of Seville differs radically from other treatments of Rossini's comic masterpiece.

Usually The Barber of Seville is an intimate little comedy with a half-dozen solo roles and a small, all-male chorus. Except for a few ensemble numbers, there are usually only two or three people on stage at any given moment, often conversing in stage whispers. Sometimes, in a plot full of secrets and deceptions, supernumeraries are out of place.

Dario Fo's staging ignores this stylistic tradition. He gives the solo singers a crowd of artfully choreographed silent partners (including acrobats, dancers, and two men rigged to imitate a donkey), who scamper around the stage carrying ladders and sheets, pushing platforms, waving banners, and making sure that there is always something to amuse the eyes as well as the ears. This staging gives a solid visual embodiment to the comic spirit of the words and music, but it wipes out any pretense of dramatic realism. The Barber of Seville does not pretend to be "a slice of life" and many patrons will find that the energy of these added participants is its own justification. But those who treasure traditional staging and the conventions of realism should be ready for a lively but unconventional production. Perhaps they can listen with their eyes closed and enjoy a first-class sound recording. --Joe McLellan

From the Back Cover

For his first opera production, Dario Fo, the theater director known for his brilliant wit, chose to stage Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia for the Netherlands Opera. First mounted in 1987, it was a huge success, and a live recording of its revival in May 1992, the 200th anniversary of Rossini's birth, has been made.

Fo has said that "Rossini is the musician of eating and love. He composes music rich in herbs and aromas, in which you find olives, tomatoes, fish, grapes, roses and rosemary, sheets and tablecloths, dry wine and the laughter of girls." His Barbiere is a joyful carnival. During the overture, he fills the stage with carnival revellers, and immediately the commedia dell'arte origins of opera buffa are restored. Visual theatrics abound, never at the expense of the music, but highlighting it, engaging the eye as well as the ear. Fo addresses the heart more than the intellect, and Rossini's comedy comes up dazzling and vital. The Italian conductor Alberto Zedda is a Rossini specialist par excellence, and his scintillating interpretation of the music (which is performed in his own critical edition), together with his unflagging energy, draws a magnificent display of playing from The Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. The cast includes Richard Croft as Count Almaviva, David Malis as Figaro, Renato Carecchi as Bartolo and the acclaimed Rossini virtuoso Jennifer Larmore as Rosina. Italian with English subtitles, 153 minutes.

Count Almaviva: Richard Croft
Figaro: David Malis
Bartolo: Renato Carecchi
Rosina: Jennifer Larmore
The Netherlands Opera, Alberto Zedda, conductor; Darius Fo, stage director and designer; Hans Hulscher, video director

Customer Reviews

The recording is loud and clear --excellent !
Adam L. Molella
Don't buy this performance unless you enjoy people who have nothing to do with the story running around waving sheets.
Charles S. Lipson MD
Highly recommendable for all the lovers of this opera.
OSCAR BASES

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Frederick on August 8, 2000
Format: DVD
It saddens me to see that so many people have written negative reviews of this performance, which I consider to be one of the best opera videos currently available. It's not a traditional production -- indeed, we're probably never going to see anything like this again -- but isn't that the whole point? This production is unique, maybe even infuriating at times, but it never stops being interesting. I also happened to find it incredibly entertaining.
It helps that there is some amazing singing by Jennifer Larmore, who has a rich mezzo voice with ringing top notes, and who handles the difficult vocal writing with ease. She even looks like the ideal Rosina -- youthful but alluring. The rest of the singers are less amazing, although Richard Croft does a good job with the part of Almaviva, and the late, great Renato Capecchi (who in his prime sang Figaro, but here, just a few years before he died, sings Bartolo) is very characterful.
It also helps that this performance is conducted by Alberto Zedda, THE living Rossini scholar, who coaxes the orchestra into providing energetic playing that alternates easily between the vigorous and the gentle, just as Rossini ordered.
The sound is actually quite fine, notwithstanding some other reviewers' (inconsistent) complaints about overmiking or undermiking. Yes, it's true that you can often hear the shuffling of feet on stage, but I've never been to a opera performance where there isn't a noticeable amount of stage noise -- it's part of the live opera experience! Perhaps the "Professor" and others below who found this stage noise problematic are used to hearing (or seeing) only souped-up studio recordings of opera. If so, then that is very unfortunate.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By MMO Man on October 30, 1999
Format: DVD
Wow! I have over 100 recordings of opera on commercial vhs, but this was the first opera I have ever bought on DVD and boy am I glad that this was the choice. The picture is stunning in quality and the sound brilliant in clarity, crispness, and warmth. The score is performed brilliantly at the hands of Zedda, a Rossini expert, and I was left with nothing but tears of happiness after listening to this recording! A great value for those looking for operatic pleasure at its finest!!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By dwlayman@earthlink.net on March 25, 2003
Format: DVD
The first video Barber of Seville I saw was a VHS with Cecilia Bartoli. So I was scared off by some of the reviews below. Having watched it, I agree with another review: the negative reviews are unfair.
True, early on the movements are distracting and there are moments where the crowd noise is a problem. But like any good drama, this staging draws you in. After the first scene or so, the extra action really adds to the production. If you like a static production where the singers just stand around and sing, then, no, you won't like this one. But if you like action that creates a grand spectacle, than you will experience this production more positively. On the whole, it works. I'm no expert in operatic historiography, but this production FEELS right for the genre.
I'm also no expert in singing, but the music in this production sounds fine to me.
As with "sinyung" I'm giving this 5 stars since it is "so much fun." I burst out laughing numerous times. Isn't that what a great comedy is to do? Yes, there are occasional flaws, but they are more than outweighed by the positive aspects.
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52 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Glen Kelly on March 7, 2000
Format: DVD
I had high hopes for this DVD, as several people had posted favorable reviews of it. Indeed, it is well sung, and the orchestra sounds great. However, this is simply the most irritating staging of an opera that I've seen in my life. There is never a moment, and I mean NEVER, when there aren't hundreds of extras flitting about like idiots. It becomes impossible to listen to the opera.One would be tempted to listen to the DVD with the picture off, but all those people running around make a great deal of noise, and their stomping frequently drowns out the music.It is an incredible display of directorial self-indulgence! Dario Fo is the director, and If I ever meet him, I'm going to slap him as hard as I can.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "singyung" on April 7, 2002
Format: DVD
I wouldn't say this production of "the Barber" was perfect, but I give 5 stars anyway because it was SO MUCH FUN! I've seen a convention production of "the Barber" live which was very well-sung and well-staged-- but the fact is, my attention always wavered after the second or third da capo of each verse or coloratura....
So even with the vibrant and often stunning vocal performances from Larmore, Croft, Malis and the rest of the cast (right down to Bertha the maid), what really sealed the COMIC SPIRIT of Rossini in this productions is the "frivolous" direction by Dario Fo. Count Almaviva is no longer stuck under Rosina's balcony when serenading Rosina, Rosina and Figaro are really "playing around" with each other in their duets, and everyone is just having fun with the opera.
Yes, watching this production finally made me appreciate Rossini's genius in creating the consistently over-the-top comedy in "the Barber". So THREE CHEERS to Dario Fo for coming up with the imaginative mimes to supplement Rossini' wonderful music! In particular, I thought the "subtitling" of the arias was a wonderful tip of the hat to the karaoke culture of today.
Of course, I must admit that unlike some opera-lovers, I DON'T have a problem with "stylised" as opposed to realistic staging of operas. Instead getting annoyed with an unusual way of staging an opera, I would try to see the "point" in such a staging. SO SIT BACK AND RELAX! The way to enjoy this production is to try to catch all the jokes and humour in the staging!
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