Thursday, 3 January 2013

JANUARY 3, 2013

003 IL BARBIERI DI SIVIGLIA/The Barber of Seville (1974) Directed by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle ****

This was a real find for me. I am in the process of transferring some VHS recordings of opera productions to DVD. This one had mysteriously (not by me) been labelled as a 1980's Glynbourne production. Instead it turns out to be Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's 1974 film version of his La Scala production of two years earlier. Being a film it opens out the action a bit more than some other filmed stage productions such as the 1988 version with Cecilia Bartoli as Rosina.  When I say than this is far superior to the Bartoli (which I adore) I am not giving faint praise. Visually it is more interesting for the reasons stated above and vocally it is graced by the German baritone Hermann Prey as Figaro and the beautiful Teresa Berganza as Rosina. Next to Mascagni's CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA this is Rossini probabably my favourite opera. Based, like Mozart's THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO on a story by Beaumarchais it is hard to imagine that these tales originally ran into censorship problems because they showed servants outwitting and being cleverer than their masters at a time when the French Revolution was very much on peoples minds.

Il Barbieri di Siviglia

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