Notes and Editorial Reviews
*** This Blu-ray Disc is only playable on Blu-ray Disc players and not compatible with standard DVD or HD DVD players. ***
Picture: 16:9; 1080i
Sound: PCM Stereo / DTS-HD 5.1 / PCM 5.1
Subtitles: English, Italian, German, French, Spanish, Chinese
A controversial production from last season's Salzburg festival starring Anna Netrebko, conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
R E V I E W S:
"Looking ahead to the new production of Mozart’s “Nozze di Figaro” at the Salzburg Festival, which boasts a starry cast onstage and the Vienna Philharmonic in the pit, I never imagined that I would wind up focusing on tempos.
True, in interviews before the
production, the eminent conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt alerted everyone that his tempos were likely to be controversial. In Sunday evening’s performance at the impressive new Haus für Mozart, which has replaced the Small Festival Hall, Mr. Harnoncourt’s tempos were indeed different from those usually encountered in this work...
Still, as so often, Mr. Harnoncourt’s work defied generalization. The tempo of one aria would be noticeably restrained, as in Figaro’s “Se vuol ballare,” sung by the robust-voiced bass-baritone Ildebrando D’Arcangelo, a volatile and charismatic Figaro. But then another aria would be quicker than usual, like Susanna’s blissful anticipation of romance on her wedding night, “Deh, vieni, non tardar,” sung here with lustrous tone and lyrical grace by the dazzling soprano Anna Netrebko, whose portrayal brings out the character’s earthy and resourceful qualities.
Mr. Harnoncourt’s intention, as he has said in interviews, is to project the organic shape of the score by bringing tempos into balance. What this meant in practice was an avoidance of extremes. His approach was always fascinating and sometimes revelatory...
The languid impact of some of the tempos was probably exaggerated by Claus Guth’s modern-dress production, so dark, moody and ominous. With sets and costumes by Christian Schmidt, the story is played out on roomy landings adjacent to an enormous staircase in the Count’s neglected palace, which could use a fresh coat of white paint. If “Figaro” is a comedy of romantic desire, confusion and tyranny, Mr. Guth leaves out most of the comedy...
Yet the members of the excellent cast gave themselves over to the director, which took trust and sometimes shamelessness. In Act II, when Susanna and the Countess start dressing Cherubino in girl’s clothing, the game gets out of hand: the women fondle Cherubino like some boy toy, and all three wind up rollicking on the floor atop a fur coat.
As always, the festival has been getting its money’s worth from the glorious Vienna Philharmonic..."
Anthony Tommasini, NEW YORK TIMES 08/08/2006 (reviewing the live performance of Aug 6)
Works on This Recording
Le nozze di Figaro, K 492 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Christine Schäfer (Soprano),
Bo Skovhus (Baritone),
Ildebrando D'Arcangelo (Bass),
Dorothea Röschmann (Soprano),
Anna Netrebko (Soprano)
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria
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