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Donizetti - La Fille du Regiment / Devia, Kelly, Podles, Pratico, Borioli, Rivenq, Renzetti, La Scala

4.1 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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(May 20, 2003)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Austin Kelly, Nicolas Rivenq, Mariella Devia, Ernesto Gavazzi, Bruno Pratic
  • Directors: Tina Protasoni
  • Format: Classical, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • 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: Alliance
  • DVD Release Date: May 20, 2003
  • Run Time: 135 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000094Q4K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #326,310 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By F. Behrens HALL OF FAME on May 21, 2003
Format: DVD
Once available only on recordings in Italian (with an exception on the London label), Donizetti's "La Fille du Regiment" now has several sound recordings in the original French. An old video with Beverly Sills is in English and not very well done, and one from Australia boasts Joan Sutherland (who in no way looks the part but has few vocal problems with it). Now we have a really excellent DVD version put out by TDK (DVUS LFDR) from La Scala under the musical direction of Donato Renzetti and stage direction of Filippo Crivelli.
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.
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Format: DVD
Donizetti was a composer of over 70 operas. Some are outstanding; others less than so. Three of his comic operas, Don Paquale, L'Elsir D'Amore and La fille du Regiment are in the former category. I first saw this work when the Met toured, featuring Joan Sutherland and the young Pavarotti. It was a fantastic performance, and remains the benchmark for me. So how to evaluate this disc?
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.
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Format: DVD
This is a lovely production with a beautiful fairy-book setting by Zefferelli that enhances the storybook nature of the opera. It is very playful and funny as well. Devia steals the show by her glorious singing but she has chosen not to ham it up in the first act. This pays off nicely in the second act when her considerable comedic talents finally come into play. This is a strategy which complements the action very well. In my opinion, the performance is considerably more nuanced than Beverly Sills embarassing effort to emulate Carol Burnett in the Wolf Trap version. The supporting cast (especially Ewa Podles) contributes strongly to the success of this delightful work.
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Format: DVD
It must have been quite a challenge to mount this French Fille production in the heart of Italy, La Scala. It's like selling Italian olive oil to Greeks and probably the reason the audience didn't seem to enjoy it as much as I did.

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!
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