The Full Monteverdi
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Top Customer Reviews
That is certainly not a problem with this DVD, "The Full Monteverdi". Not only are there subtitles, but the acting by the whole ensemble leaves one in no doubt as to what is going on: the breaking-up of a relationship can be hell.
The language of the sixteenth century Italian poetry is admittedly flowery and florid, but when married to the music of Monteverdi it becomes a very intense emotional experience. There are six couples (one singer and one actor) in a restaurant, in the throes of disintegrating relationships. The couples do not interact with each other -- they have enough to contend with, but the singing is as an ensemble. The camerawork and editing, along with the occasional flashback and outside scene add considerably to the excellent singing and acting.
I had the mistaken impression that madrigals were about fun and frolic. Not so here. The emotion is raw and intense. But it feels true and it can be cathartic. Who knows, it might also help hold a relationship together.
This is well worth experiencing. Very highly recommended
The DVD contains the enture 4th book of madrigal by Claudio Monteverdi, presented in a staged way. Sceptical? Have a look, my friend, and prepare to be astonished.
An intense, emotionally raw and uncompromising look at madrigals - how they work, what they're about, how they might be presented and how important the best are when we want to examine our emotions, motives and well being.
The Full Monteverdi is a film, as the editorial has suggested, and it depicts some very emotional moments between six couples in a modern restaurant. The film was directed by John La Bouchardière and Robert Hollingworth is the musical director of I Fagiolini.
Each member of I Fagiolini is paired with a non-singing actor:
Anna Crookes [soprano] + Pano Masti [actor]
Carys Lane [soprano] + Alan Mooney [actor]
Clare Wilkinson [mezzo-soprano] + Mark Denham [actor]
Nicholas Mulroy [tenor] + Katharine Peachey [actress]
Matthew Brook [baritone] + Anna Skye [actress]
Giles Underwood [bass] + Gina Peach [actress]
The film is based upon stage performances and this really shows - both the singers and actors bring a great depth of experience to each of the madrigals. Monteverdi almost certainly didn't intend the Quarto Libro to be performed as a cycle, but it works remarkably well and it is immensely satisfying to behold and hear. The near silence between each madrigal further charges the emotional atmosphere of this production. The whole thing is a triumph and a brilliant conception.Read more ›
Even though I had heard good things about the NY live performances, I was skeptical. How does one take polyphony -- even polyphony in which intimate individual feelings are paramount -- and create a theatrical piece, in which a sense of dialogue, of interaction, must be made visual? And how does one come up with a narrative? Book Four is not a madrigal cycle. (There are such things: a group of madrigals intentionally written with a longer narrative arc.)
WARNING: possible spoilers ahead. As the film begins, it is evening. Six pairs of twenty-first-century lovers meet (separately) in an upscale restaurant in some unnamed European city (much later in the film we realize it's London). One by one, the camera introduces us to them: they exchange endearments; they profess undying love; they quarrel; but no one says "It's not you, it's me" or "I think we ought to start seeing other people"--this is florid, take-no-prisoners Italian love poetry. The couples part; they anguish; they make tortured love one last, exquisite time; finally, they separate for good, and in the cold morning light, we see those left behind having their meager breakfasts, alone, at the same restaurant.
One reason it works is that each couple is made up of one singer, one actor. The singers do all the pleading and recriminating, while the actors silently receive their partners' pleas. It's a stroke of theatrical genius. Because this is a film, we also get flashbacks that open up the visuals and provide context or background.Read more ›
In any case, I doubt that I'll watch it twice. Let that stand as my advice to rent it, not buy it, if you have an urge to see/hear an interesting experiment.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fine performance of the music. A brave attempt to give visual and personal content and narrative shape to Monteverdi's collection.Published 5 months ago by anthony newcomb
The singers are with (silent) partners at various tables of a restaurant while one or the other seems to be breaking up while they sing the madrigal parts. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Deal or No Deal
I had accidently come across this performance on an arts channel. I was totally fascinated and could not take my eyes off the actors nor take a breath lest it prevent my hearing... Read morePublished on March 17, 2013 by Patricia Riley
A brief review because I think the other reviews have covered what I wanted to say.
What I will add is that I have sung madrigals for the past 40 years and that has... Read more
Where love comes to die.
Several years ago I attempted to watch this film and couldn't make it to the first madrigal. I'm not kidding. Read more
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