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Mozart - Le Nozze di Figaro / Te Kanawa, Cotrubas, von Stade, Luxon, Skram, Fryatt; Pritchard, Glyndebourne Opera

4.2 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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(Sep 21, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Le Nozze di Figaro, Mozart’s timeless opera buffa, is one of the greatest of all operatic masterpieces. It is based on Beaumarchais’ comedy Le Marriage de Figaro and tells the tale of the servant Figaro, who is about to marry the maid Susanna. Count Almaviva, keeping an eye on Susanna himself, tries to prevent this marriage with the help of Bortolo, the doctor, but is continually thwarted.

This exquisite production by Peter Hall, Director of the National Theatre, features a host of renowned opera singers lead by Kiri Te Kanawa as the Countess, the role that made her an international superstar. Knut Skram’s charming and likeable take on the character of Figaro works very well with Cotruba’s gentle Susanna. Also noteworthy is the outstanding Frederica von Stade, elebrated for her performance in the trouser role of Cherubino.

From the Glyndebourne Festical Opera 1973.
Picture Format: 4:3 • Subtitles: I, D, F, GB, SP
Sound Format: PCM Stereo

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Kiri te Kanawa, Ileana Cotrubas, Frederica von Stade, Benjamin Luxon, Knut Skram
  • Directors: John Pritchard
  • Writers: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Format: Classical, Color, NTSC
  • Language: Italian (Stereo)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Italian
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Alliance
  • DVD Release Date: September 21, 2004
  • Run Time: 185 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002JYAG4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,402 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 13, 2004
Format: DVD
This 1973 production from the old Glyndebourne Festival theatre has as starry a cast as one could possibly put together at the time and strikes me as well above what passes for top-drawer these days. The cast is simply marvelous. Oddly, it includes a singer as Figaro that I'd never heard of before, one Knut Skram, and I was a little apprehensive about that. I needn't have been. He is a tall handsome 36-year old Norwegian whose bass-baritone is rich and whose acting is superb. He looks the part better and moves more nimbly than any Figaro I've ever seen. And he sings in his arias and ensembles with dash and musicality. As the for the rest of the cast just look who is in it. Kiri te Kanawa, in the first flush of her international stardom, as a Countess who is ravishing both in sound and in looks. Her 'Porgi amor' and 'Dove sono' are radiantly beautiful. Her resistance to the Count's bulldozing is both feminine and strong (not that those are contradictory qualities, of course). Her conspiring with Susanna is delicious. In the final scene, where she forgives the Count, she is noble. Indeed in that scene the entire ensemble right through to 'Corriam tutti' is splendid. Benjamin Luxon is a proper Count who is more than a bit of a rascal. He plays the bullying Lord believably but does not come across as an unlikable heel, and one feels there is the chance that he may indeed change his ways. He is in marvelous voice and acts well both physically and vocally. Mezzo Frederica von Stade has made a specialty of the role of Cherubino, and with good reason. She has both the figure and the voice for it. Add to that the ability to seem both callow and devilish and you have a combination perfect for the role. Her 'Voi che sapete' is perfection. The secondary roles are well cast, well acted, and very well sung.Read more ›
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This is a truly lovely jewel-box of a production that is a triumph of simplicity and traditionalism. "Concept" opera can work, don't get me wrong, but what a treat it is to sit back and wallow in the pleasures of a beautifully staged, designed and -- most importantly -- sung performance as this. There isn't a weak link in the cast. Particularly, Cotrubas may be the best Susanna ever, shining with an inner radiance that brings a smile to your face whenever she's on stage. And Te Kanawa is as beautiful as ever, her customary richness of tone and heartbreaking expressiveness solidly on display. The director has given the perfomance terrific pace and momentum (as does Pritchard in the pit) and has gotten his singers to be terrific actors as well. I was concerned that the picture quality would not be the best (given that this is 30 year old video), but it's clear as can be. The audio is less than wonderful at times (not too bad and not for too long), but that may simply be my copy. In any event, look no further if you want a "Figaro" for the ages, one that honors the intent and brilliance of its creators.
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Let me start off by saying that this an early seventies telecast of a Glyndebourne production, so the picture and sound quality aren't as pristine as you're likely get from, say, a recent Met broadcast. The picture is grainy, the colors occasionally garish, with video "ghosts" trailing the performers. The sound isn't as balanced between singers and orchestra as it would be in a modern recording, and the singing sounds rough, just a little, at times. No matter. That shouldn't deter any prospective buyers. This is a great Figaro at a great price. Why? It's Glyndebourne of course. And, more than anything else, it's the singers, baby, the singers!

The three female leads could not have been more ideally cast. Just imagine Kiri te Kanawa as the Countess, Ileana Cortubas as Susanna and Frederica von Stade as Cherubino. Then imagine all three of these lovely, obscenely talented young women in the same cast of the same production. Your heart's already beating a little faster? Okay, imagine them onstage AT THE SAME TIME, as they are during Act Two. Then be prepared to take a trip to Mozartean heaven. Each woman was born to sing her respective role, and it shows here, with nary a false note among them. Von Stade's Voi che sapete and te Kanawa's Dove sono are as fine renditions as you are likely to hear.

The men fare almost as well. I had never heard of Benjamin Luxon before, but his Count simply blew me away! His voice is overpowering, and his dramatic skills just as good, portraying all the arrogance, self-delusion and blustery confusion necessary for an exemplary rendition. Knut Skrum, our Figaro, was another new name for me, and to be honest, I wasn't nearly as excited by his performance as I was with Luxon's.
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As one of the top-rated "Figaros" on these pages, it should be better than this. Yes, the singing is wonderful; and almost everything about the production as seen in the theater was top-notch, although the orchestral playing was not of the same quality as the singing. The orchestra may, however, have been better than can be heard through the poor audio quality, which makes it sound as if they're all playing on cheap starter instruments. The sound from the orchestra pit is dead, while the sound from the stage is as if from a gym heard through a tunnel and then trapped in a honky old loudspeaker. Live pickup was still an underdeveloped technology at the time of this recording in 1973. There is no stereo separation and almost no sense of space; so it might as well have been mono. At first I couldn't stand it and turned it off, but then I gritted my teeth and ventured back in for about half of it. I am surprised that so many of the reviewers here have ignored or dismissed this deficiency as irrelevant. What could be more important than the sound?

Fortunately, there are alternatives, one being the delicious film by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, also featuring an all-star cast (also including Kiri Te Kanawa as the Countess) and the estimable Mozartean, Karl Böhm, conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Mozart - Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro). To be fair, however, the Ponnelle film is one of those strange hybrids between movie and opera--not a live stage performance. Made only three years later than this video, the film benefits from having the sound recorded in a studio, even though it meant that the singers had to lip-sync their arias.
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