Donizetti - La Fille du Regiment / Devia, Kelly, Podles, Pratico, Borioli, Rivenq, Renzetti, La Scala
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Top Customer Reviews
While tenor Paul Austin Kelly does not hit those 8 high Cs with quite the brilliance that the young Pavarotti was once able to toss off, he is comfortable in the role both musically and dramatically. Bruno Pratico makes a likable Sulpice (very important in this opera), while Ewa Podles hams it up but sings marvelously as the comical Marquise. Soprano Mariella Devia might be the most petite Marie ever, but her clarion notes when she imitates the regiment's trumpets are stunning.
The program notes mention how Zeffirelli designed the costumes and scenery to tone down the jingoism and pro-military sentiment of the original; but during the introductory titles, drawings of battlefield slaughter are shown on the screen and one wonders if those responsible for the video consulted with those responsible for the stage production.
At least there is not too much clowning in the comic scenes and the serious sequences are taken--well, seriously and without camping. I honestly doubt if a better version will appear on video and this is a very good choice for your next opera-video purchase.
The picture is in "full screen" ratio (4:3), and if you wish to use subtitles, they are available in English, French, Spanish and Italian.
First, the music: it is a hugely melodic work, with one great melody following another. The plot is somewhat trivial by today's standards, but it still holds together well. The video is full screen and well defined, and the sound allows for DTS as a menu choice. In that mode, the sound is stunning.
The singers are all quite good. No, Paul Austin Kelly is not Pavarotti, but he is an attractive, believeable Tonio, and he can act. He hits all the notes , even the high ones woth clarity and presicion. Bruno Pratico is a competant Sulpice and Ewa Podles is a funny yet well sung Marquise. It is Mariella Devia who steals the show, though. She has a big lyrical soprano voice for such a petite woman, with supple runs and a brilliant top.
I have said repeatedly that the DVD medium is the next best thing to a live perdormance, and this disc is further proof of that. It is also an excellent "first opera" for anyone (including the kids) who is curious about why so many of us love the stuff.
I found both the garish Zeffirelli production and the singing wonderful with one exception; Mariella Devia whom I found phenomenal. I lost count of the number of high notes she hits in this performance and the last one is longer and more radiant than the previous ones. Although one can easily get distracted by these perfect top notes, the middle range where most singing lies is never less impressive. Even in louder passages, her intoxicating voice never spreads and she shades it beautifully. Moreover her petite figure and cute stage presence make her a totally convinving Marie even if she was 45 at the time of this production.
Podles is great, showing off her impressive vocal range and strong instrument. I also liked her on stage. The lesson scene with Devia is sparkling. Pratico could perhaps have done more with the character but he is absolutely fine and his baritone is most pleasant. Kelly has a beautiful lyric voice and if the top is not Pavarotti-like secure, it certainly has a ring.
The dvd is nicely tracked and well prepared. For some reason I didn't expect much from this performance but it turned out to be one of the most exciting things I've seen. Worth e v e r y penny!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There has been a little shadow of a heretical thought bouncing around in my head for years, but not until now has it coagulated itself tangibly into words. That is ... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Brent Peterson
Well, nowadays the classical world loves 'star' singers, and thankfully we have a bunch of them to hold up the operatic banner, and even to grace the '100 most influential people'... Read morePublished on October 30, 2012 by Abert
I got this opera in July , 2003, when it was on the TDK label. I reviewed it then and reiterate what I said back then: "it is a hugely melodic work, with one great melody following... Read morePublished on January 13, 2012 by John G. Gleeson Sr.
This is the worst Regiment I have ever seen. It's a characature, a stupid cartoon with painted outdoor scenery and painted indoor furniture. Read morePublished on July 13, 2011 by Joe Hart
I must begin by explaining that "La Fille du Regiment" is my favorite opera, so that I am pre-disposed to be pleased by Donizetti's music and prepared to spend just the right... Read morePublished on March 7, 2011 by Cy Reese
As a Fillenatic I can recommend this highly. Very funny production with the marvelous Ewa Podles being a wonderful comedienne and treats us to some of her extreme notes from bass... Read morePublished on July 30, 2009 by Operafilly
This was a very good traditional production of La Fille du Regiment with great music, glorious singing, colorful scenery and costumes but rather dull acting. Read morePublished on September 16, 2007 by P. Sutherland
Well, nowadays the classical world loves 'star' singers, and thankfully we have a bunch of them to hold up the operatic banner, and even to grace the '100 most influential people'... Read morePublished on May 13, 2007 by Abert
I think that this production of La Fille du Regiment is very pleasing to both sight and sound. The props are very bright and vivid, the costumes are eye-catching, and the vocals... Read morePublished on March 7, 2006 by Matthew S. Baggarly
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