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Monteverdi - L'Orfeo

4.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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(Jan 09, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Orfeo (L') (2 Dvd)

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Simon Keenlyside, Rene Jacobs, Juanita Lascarro, Graciela Oddone, Martina Dike
  • Directors: Trisha Brown
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, NTSC, DTS Surround Sound, Subtitled
  • Language: Italian (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: Dutch, French, German, English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: HARMONIA MUNDI
  • DVD Release Date: January 9, 2007
  • Run Time: 171 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000JCE898
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,169 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Monteverdi - L'Orfeo" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By G P Padillo VINE VOICE on August 5, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
In a word: Wow! This is the much ballyhooed 1998 Trisha Brown "All singing All Dancing" production from Theatre de la Monnaie. Rene Jacobs leads chorus and orchestra in an absolutely dazzling performance capturing the essence of baroque flavor with flourish and sans fussiness. Orfeo's opening fanfare is one of my favorite moments in all of Western music and, like the Parsifal Vorspiel, La Traviata's Prelude and the Overture to Die Meistersinger, seizes and transports me immediately out of my own world and into theirs.

As La Musica sings (from the pit) her double, an aerialist, is seen flying high above the stage executing intricate, gravity defying feats against an immense circle of blue providing the first of many jaw dropping moments in
an evening full of them.

I was slightly disappointed by the costuming which for the ensembles (both chorus and dancers) seemed to be couture-like outsized white, wide lapelled jackets (think David Byrne). Euridice is given a blue, balloon-style gown
while Orfeo's costume can best be described as a mustardy nehruy-pajama like ensemble.

Within minutes the costumes are forgotten and focus is on the intricate and near perpetual movement/choreography, lighting, special effects and beautiful singing. Everyone is unshod, perhaps to minimize stage noise but, in mythological tales I always find bare feet an interesting symbolic choice.

Movement has rarely been better used and integrated in an opera than it is here. One madrigal has the singers each pushing the other out of the way in order to get to the front giving the effect of an endless boiling bubble, or a cell dividing and exploding/evolving into something else, injectingn an element of fun into what is often beautiful but static.
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Format: DVD
I eagerly bought this DVD. I saw this production a few years ago at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and was stunned by the incredible beauty of the performance. I was, however, dubious as to whether it could be captured on a recording. It wasn't.

The disappoinment begins at the very outset with the spirit of music dancing on wires above the darkened stage in a circle of light. The constant cuts to close-ups of Rene Jacobs in the pit destroyed the effect of this stunning performance. Indeed, throughout the recording, the use of close-ups loses the wonderful movement that was resposible for the beauty of this production.

In addition, some sound problems are very obvious at the beginging of the opera. Either they corrected it or I became used to the sound as it was not as apparent later on.

All that being said, this is a beautiful production. Simon Keelyside is magnificent, the music wonderful and, perhaps, if I had not seen the production live I would have thought more highly of the DVD. It's a shame that the video staff did not demonstrate the same high level of artistry of the cast and musicians.
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If early opera is an acquired taste, and the difficulty with acquired tastes is the acquiring of them, here is the perfect remedy. The msuic is late Renaissance-early Baroque and the melodies and harmonies are those that I would associate with the Church rather than the theatre, so it was a little strange at first, strange, but mesmerising. I put the DVD in "just for the prologue" and sat there, glued to my chair, until the messenger bringing the news of Euridyce's death fell from the stage into the pit.

This may disappoint those who watch it as opera and those who watch it as dance, but viewed with an open mind, it is amazing theatre. There are no "sets" worth speaking about. Normally, this has me shrieking for my money back, but here, backdrops and lights worked beautifully in place of conventional sets. The transitions between this world and the underworld is brilliantly done, and very gripping, and it is achieved with lighting and a partition. There is a circle in the backdrop, used brilliantly in every scene in the opera.

Like a previous reviewer, I was disappointed with the costumes. They were certainly not Greek. Perhaps they were designed for free movement since the chorus and the dancers have to keep moving most of the time. I did like the bare feet. Dancers in India always perform in bare feet, so I guess that chimed with me. Simon Keenlyside is a magnificent Orfeo, the only close rival is the Caronte and the two together are nearly overwhelming. Well, there are exceptions. Pluto and Proserpina's costumes, as well as that of Apollo are great, but then these are characters that are mostly stationary.
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I was dubious when my partner wanted an opera video-meaning I would have to watch it...while I love modern orchestral music I don't care for much opera. but, this is superior choreography, dance, and voices in a refreshingly modern rendition.
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