TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23
(Royal Philharmonic Orch/Sir Charles Groves). PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto
No. 3 in C, Op. 26.
(London Symphony Orch/André Previn). Martha Argerich, piano
IDEALE DVD 3079858 TT: 62 min.
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PUCCINI: Il Tabarro
Lucia Gallo (Michele), Eva Maria-Westbroek (Giorgetta), Aleksandrs Antonenko
(Luigi), Alan Oke (Tinca), Irina Mishura (Frugola), Jeremy White (Talpa),
Ji-Min Park (Song Seller), Royal Opera House Chorus and Orch/Antonino
PUCCINI: Suor Angelica
Elena Zillo (Montress), Melissa Alder, Kate McCarney (Two Lay Sisters); Elizabeth
Sikora (Mistress), Eryl Royale (Sister Osmina), Anna Devin (Sister Genovieffa),
Katy Batho (Novice), Ermonela Jaho ( (Sister Angelica), Elisabeth Key (Sister
Dolcina), Elisabeth Woollett (Nursing Sister), Irina Mishura (Abbess), Anna Larsson
Chorus and Orch/Antonio Pappano, cond.
PUCCCINI: Gianni Schicchi
Peter Curtis (Buoso Donati), Gwynne Howell (Simone), Elena Zillo (Zita), Francesco
Demuro (Rinuccio),Ekaterina Siurina (Lauaretta), Alan Oke (Gheraldo), Filippo
Turkheimer (Gherardino), Jeremy
White (Betto di Signa), Robert Poulton (Marco), Marie McLaughlin (La Ciesca),
Royal Opera House Chorus and Orch/Antonino Pappano, cond.
OPUS ARTE DVD PT: 180 min. + 20 min. features
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Ambrogio Maestri (Sir John Falstaff), Massimo Cavalletti (Ford), Javier
Camarena (Fenton), Patrizio Saudelli (Dr. Caius), Martin Zysset (Bardolf),
David Fersini (Pisstola), Barbara Frittoli (Mrs. Alice Ford), Eva
Liebau (Nannetta), Yvonne
Naef (Mrs. Quickly), Judith Schmid (Mrs. Meg Page), Domenic Gloor (Robin),
Royal Opera House Chorus and Orch/Daniele Gatti, cond.
C MAJOR DVD TT: 126 min.
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It always is a pleasure to watch Martha Argerich work her
magi , and here we have two previously unreleased live recordings from
career. The Tchaikovsky is from Guildhall, Preston, February 6, 1977
with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic conducted by Sir Charles Groves,
Prokofiev from Croydon's Fairfield Hall, May 3, 1977, with André Previn
and the London Symphony. Both of these concertos have been showpieces
for Argerich throughout her career. There are three recordings of the
Tchaikovsky, the first from 1971 with the Royal Philharmonic directed
by Charles Dutoit (who at the time was her second husband), there is
a live Bavarian recording from 1980 with Kiril Kondrashin conducting,
and another live performance from 1994 with Claudio Abbado and the
Berlin Philharmonic. In 1967 she recorded the Prokofiev with Abbado
and the Berlin Philharmonic, in 1977 in
Montreal again with Dutoit; there also is a performance with Riccardo
Chailly and the RCOA in Radio Nederland's multiple-disk set of live
performances by Chailly with the Dutch Orchestra (REVIEW).
And if you check around on the internet, you'll find several other
performances as well. Excellent video and stereo sound on the new issue,
valuable indeed for Argerich's legion of admirers.
Puccini intended the three operas of his Il Trittico to
be performed together, beginning with the brooding Il Tabarro (The
even more tragic
Suor Angelica, which takes place in a convent, the story of an unfortunate
unwed mother victimized by her aunt who in death is reunited with her
son. Puccini's music is appropriately emotional and powerful. The final
opera in the series is the most popular, Gianni Schicchi, which often
is presented by itself, usually combined with another short opera—but not
always. At the Met, Schicchi often was used as a curtain-raiser for Salome,
including the unforgettable 1949 performance of Ljuba Welitsch with Fritz
Reiner on the podium (REVIEW). Talk about
opposites!! This new stunning new DVD offers the Royal Opera House's first
complete production of Trittico in 65 years, and they have done it right.
Director Richard Jones has somewhat updated the action, but not offensively
so, and the singers are outstanding, particularly Lucio Gallo who is the
murderer Michele in Tabarro and the comic Schicchi in the third opera.
Video and audio are outstanding, and this can be recommended without hesitation
as an ideal presentation of Puccini's trilogy.
It is incredible that Verdi composed Falstaff when he was almost
80. It is a brilliant, imaginative, vital work highlighting ensemble
writing rather than the display arias in his earlier operas with many
episodes of rapid-fire interplay among the
singers. A successful performance requires top-quality singers working
closely together during the many intricate scenes, many of which have
a touch of Rossini. For years, Arturo Toscanini's 1950 recording has
been recognized for its
a cast able to cope with the ensemble interludes. There are more than
sixty recordings available of Falstaff, with some of the greatest
conductors on the podium, and a number of these are on DVD. However, this
from Stuttgart surely is among the finest. Staged by Sven-Eric Bechtoli
with sets by Rolf Glittenberg, it is a visual delight with stark, simple
sets in the first two acts, a magic forest scene of elves and witches for
the third. And the cast is splendid in every way, particularly Ambrogio
Malestri in the title role.Conductor Gatti keeps the intricate score
moving swiftly. Seen on the Blu-Ray version, video is brilliant, audio
well well-balanced. A quality issue in
if Falstaff is your cup of tea.
R.E.B. (July 2012)
(NEXT DVD VIDEO REVIEW)