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Gioachino Rossini: Moïse et Pharaon

4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Barbara Frittoli, Sonia Ganassi, Giuseppe Filanoti, Erwin Schrott, and Ildar Abdrazakov star in this 2003 Teatro degli Arcimboldi, Milan production of the Rossini opera with Riccardo Muti conducting the Orchestra & Chorus of the Teatro alla Scala on 2 DVD

Review

Another summertime option for opera lovers is simply to stay home and watch an opera on DVD. Luckily, there just happens to be a new opera DVD with all the thrills of a summer movie blockbuster.

Arthaus Musik has released a DVD of one of Rossini's lesser known but most spectacular operas, "Moïse et Pharaon." The La Scala Orchestra and a cast of thousands (or so) led by Riccardo Muti tell the familiar biblical story of Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt. The production, directed by Luca Ronconi, is traditional to the core, with sumptuous scenic design and elaborate costumes

Those who know Rossini only from his fizzy comic operas like "The Barber of Seville" or "La Cenerentola" will be blown away by this dramatic work. He could really write a historical spectacle. With fabulous sets, huge ensembles, a silly side love story, orgiastic dance sequences and cinematic sweep, this is Rossini gone Hollywood.

But all the spectacle in the world can't save a bad opera. Luckily, Rossini's music lives up to the grandeur of the production. Touching duets, tuneful dance numbers and rousing choruses will keep even the most casual opera fan engaged until that Red Sea parts. -Patrick Neas -- KansasCity.com - June 30, 2010


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Riccardo Muti, Ildar Abdrazakov, Erwin Schrott, Sonia Ganassi, Barbara Frittoli
  • Directors: Luca Ronconi, Carlo Battistoni
  • Writers: Louigi Balocchi, Étienne de Jouy
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Arthaus
  • DVD Release Date: June 29, 2010
  • Run Time: 181 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003IP2YFS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,298 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Gioachino Rossini: Moïse et Pharaon" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Most of what I intended to write has been expressed at length in other reviews. Let me just stress that "it's all about the music" and the performance thereof, which is superb: every note in tune, every phrase well articulated. The ensemble is as balanced as imaginable, though at times the miking of the singers is less than perfect. One reviewer denigrates the performance of Giuseppe Filianotti as Amenophis. I totally disagree. Filianotti is the least static, the most expressive, and in his use of dynamics the most musical of the whole cast. Besides, his role is the most interesting; he's the only character whose "choices" reveal development. Don't expect anything coherent, theologically or historically, from the libretto. It's the music that speaks of despair and triumph.
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Rossini had had a success in Paris with his Frenchified version of 'Maometto Secondo' known as 'La Si'ège de Corinthe,' and a couple of years later he did the same sort of revision of his 'Mosè' in Egitto,' already known in Paris in its French version. He expanded the obligatory choral passages and added the required ballet, which takes up most of Act III. The new opera, whose subtitle is 'La passage de la Mer Rouge' ('The Parting of the Red Sea') became a palpable hit in Paris and certainly in France at least superseded its Italian forerunner. In the world's opera houses, though, it is the Italian version that has tended to be presented. In a slightly ironic twist, then, what we have here is the French version in a production in the foremost Italian opera house, La Scala. And a first-class production it is, with good singers, Riccardo Muti leading the forces, an attractive set and costumes, a marvelously stylish ballet and, though a bit old-fashioned, an effective parting of the Red Sea in the final scene.

Nonetheless, this is not necessarily Rossinian music from the topmost drawer, however effective it may be in the theatre. I suspect that most people buying this DVD will watch it once and then rarely again. (I could, of course, be entirely wrong about this. And, that being said, I think the music in 'Moï'se' is actually a bit stronger than in 'Mos'è') Certainly, the performance is world-class.

The sonorous Russian basso, Ildar Abdrazakov, is commanding in his portrayal of Moses. The rising young Uruguayan basso, Erwin Schrott, is equally so as the Pharaoh. Barbara Frittoli makes a delectable Ana' and sings her lyrical best.
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I was unfamiliar with most of this music except for the ensemble just before the parting of the Red Sea. Hands down, Barbara Frittoli steals the vocal honors with Ildar Abdrazakov as Moise and Sonia Ganassi as the Pharaoh's wife snapping at her heels. The other seven singers are totally up to the task and demands of this score. This work has oratorio writen all over it. There simply isn't any action on the stage except for the ballet and parting of the Red Sea. The first performance of this work was in Naples in 1818. Rossini wrote his mother: "the oratorio is more or less finished and it's going very well, but in a very highly elevated style. I don't know if these macaroni-eaters will get it!" Well, this "macaroni-eater" would like to know what in the world the ballet is all about. What does the bearded guy in the black cocktail dress dancing with one of the soliders have to do with anything? The ballet does contain some good music otherwise I'd say they could get rid of it. The parting of the Red Sea is very effective. Not as spectacular as the scene in the DeMille movie, but one is limited with the stage craft at hand. Ricardo Muti does wonders with the enlarged orchestra. The set looks like a sand storm swept through the Pharaoh's Palace. There are stretches of music and recitative which will have you checking your watch for the time butI can recommend buying this seldom done work just for the novelty of it all. The sound and visual qualities are first rate.
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This opera by Rossini is strangely like an oratorio. This is the 1827 French version of Moise. Action is scant (or rather, too big for the live stage).
The singers generally sing very well; there is simply not a single weak link in the cast. and the conducting is beautifully controlled by Muti.
In the title role, Abdrazakov is a capable Moses, if not truly outstanding (there is hardly any 'outstanding' aria for this character); while Ganassi is a very regal Egyptian queen and Schrott, though a tad too young, is also a competent Pharoah.
I would not fault Frittoli's Anais. The role is a bit too 'young' for her, though she sings exceedingly well.
The one really to steal the show is the then young (not yet 30) tenor Giuseppe Filianoti as the Egyptian prince.
Filianoti gives a vocally outstanding and dramatically alert performance, that really explain why today he has become one of the best tenors of his generation.
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When I read the reviews and saw the cast I decided to buy this production .I didn’t know this opera, but as it was composed by Rossini I knew it was going to be beautiful.
I was familiar with most of the cast from other performances, the only singer that I didn’t know was Giuseppe Filianote who played Amenophis ,I was very impressed with his powerful voice.
The music and singing were very beautiful, the duets, ensembles and chorus were wonderful. When I heard the last chorus: “Descleuux ou tu resides” I realized that I knew it and enjoyed it very much.
The ballet in Act III with Luciana Savignano (Isis), Roberto Bolle(Moise) and Desmond Richardson(Pharaon) was outstanding. Luciana showed a lot of plasticity and the other two dancers were at the same level as her.
The scenery was very good. The last scene: showing Moise and his people fleeing Egypt crossing the Red Sea followed by the Egyptians drowning in the sea was very well done.
I liked this opera and found the quality of the dvd outstanding.
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