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Top Customer Reviews
Gundula Janowiz is a fine Arabella in this beautifully filmed version of the opera, directed in 1977 by Otto Schenk. Costumes and sets are gorgeous, wonderfully evoking the slightly decadent Vienna of the 1860s.Read more ›
Adelaide: Margarita Lilowa
Arabella: Gundula Janowitz
Zdenka: Sona Ghazarian
Mandryka: Bernd WEikl
Matteo: Rene Kollo
Elemer: Goran Franssom
Dominik: Hans Helm
Lamoral: Kurt Rydl
Eine Fortuna: Martha Modl
Fiakermilli: Edita Gruberova
Vienna Philharmonic, Georg Solti
Directed by Otto Schenk
It's a "most ingenious paradox" that Roger Pines in The Opera Quarterly, and David Hamilton, of The Metropolitan Opera Guide to Opera on Video had completely dissenting reactions to all of the Arabellas on video. Pines preferred the MET video by far with Te Kanawa, had reservations about the Schenk film; and found Della Casa self-indulgent, mannered and fussy. Hamilton on the other hand, found Te Kanawa lacking, and was so-so about the MET DVD; really liked the Schenk movie, and was rather neutral about Della Casa and that release.
I happen to like all three, for different reasons; but they all do justice to Strauss's opera.
This movie has its limitations: it's lip-synched, but done unsually well. Some of the camerawork is claustrophobic and too-close. But overall it is a simply gorgeous, moving film.
The director of photography, the always-artistic Wolfgang Treu, captures a nostalgic, amber-colored atmosphere, with rich palettes, and a sinuous, warm tone. It looks to me like the time has been pushed up to the Arte Nouveau-Arts-and-Crafts Fin de Siecle era, and it works beautifully. The sets are eloquent, earthy and comfortingly inviting. It abets the score and story most fetchingly.
The key to this movie is both of a familial and romantic warmth. 1977 was a second Golden Age in Vienna for Strauss, and here it is in all its glory.Read more ›
Initially I was reluctant to consider this performance. Solti's recording was the first complete (true an earlier one from Salzburg was released in the 90's) recording. Starring Della Casa, Gueden and George London it should have perfection. Alas Solti's brutal handling of the music and his rigidity effectively destroyed the beauty of the score. Later a DGG live performance conducted by Keilbert with Della Casa and Fischer Dieskau was released. Keilbert obviously loved the score but by then Della Casa could no longer sustain long phrases without great effort. Fischer Dieskau was never a "natural" Mandryka but he was so musical that he could compensate artistically for what he lacked vocally. Te Kanawa's recording was scuppered by a dreadful Zdenka and an undistinguished Mandryka.
But onto the DVDs. It is interesting to compare the DGG release with the Decca, notably for the "secondary roles. DGG gives us Donald McIntyre and Helga Dernesch, a Wotan and a Brunhilde-Isolde cum Klytemnesta. The Decca counterparts are second tier singers at the State Opera, never less than competent, but hardly in the same class. Decca does manage to give a Card Dealer whose career ranged from Brunhilde to Fidelio, but Modl is close to voiceless but fortunately the role is in the conversational mode so that what we have is a "name" but not necessarily a "voice".Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have purchased ALL the available DVDs of "Arabella" from 1977 to 2012.
This has the ONLY complete opera. Read more
I must confess that I am not given to writing reviews, but, I have watched this performance many times and am continually drawn to the eloquence of this production and its... Read morePublished on April 18, 2014 by Abqmedia
Richard Strauss's Arabella is a curious opera. As a poor cousin of Rosenkavalier, it contains some moments of meltingly beautiful music, particularly that written for the female... Read morePublished on August 26, 2010 by Ivor E. Zetler
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