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'Translucence, transparency – warmth’ are the qualities identified by Bernard Haitink as necessary for an ideal sound performance of Beethoven's only opera, and all are present in this fantastic recording of Katharina Thalbach's 2008 production for Opernhaus Zurich. Haitink conducts the Zurich Opera Orchestra in a magnificent performance in which Leonore Overture No. 3 provides an interlude between the two scenes of the second act, following a tradition started by Gustav Mahler. German soprano Melanie Diener, in the role of Leonore, leads a brilliant cast including Alfred Muff as Rocco, Roberto Saccà as Florestan, Sandra Trattnigg as Marzelline and Christoph Strehl as Jaquino. This High Definition recording with true surround sound marks the start of the exciting collaboration between Opus Arte and Opernhaus Zurich.Cast
Melanie Diener (Leonore)
Roberto Saccà (Florestan)
Sandra Trattnigg (Marzelline)
Alfred Muff (Rocco)
Lucio Gallo (Don Pizarro)
Zurich Opera Chorus & Orchestra; Bernard Haitink
Company: Opernhaus Zurich
Stage Director: Katherina Thalbach
Catalogue Number: OA1023D
Date of Performance: 2008
Running Time: 149 minutes
Sound: 2.0 PCM & 5.0 DTS
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Anamorphic
Subtitles: EN, FR, E, ES
Label: Opus Arte
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The singing cast is generally undistinguished; the eloquent Florestan is an exception. Some of the scenography is effective -- the opening of the prison scene, for example -- but a lot of it is just plain silly. The cartoonish portrayal of the evil Pizarro is almost embarassing to watch. Were I the producer, and had I control independent of financial/contractual issues, I would not have chosen to release it.
The Amazon streaming version, which costs $2 to rent, dispenses with subtitles, alas. So it helps to know the story ahead of time.
This was performed in Zurich in 2009. I like it because it has a little more dialog than the old 1978 Vienna with Janowitz, which made me realize Otto Schenk had made some cuts. However, when comparing the two, I would prefer the older one. Because this staging is too minimal, and it is in modern dress. Otherwise the two are almost identical in music.