Notes and Editorial Reviews
From the Glyndebourne Opera House
DOUBLE DVD SET;
Starring Pamela Armstrong, Thomas Allen Ragnar Ulfung, and Håkan Hagegård
Conducted by Vladimir Jurowski, with The London Philharmonic Orchestra and The Glyndebourne Chorus
SUBTITLES: English, Spanish
Region Code: All regions
Running time: approx 196 mins
Picture format: 16:9 Anamorphic
Menu language: English
Sound format: LPCM Stereo & dts 5.0 Surround
EXTRA FEATURES INCLUDE:
Cast interviews with Thomas Allen, Pamela Armstrong, Håkan Hagegård, director Stephen Lawless and conductor Vladimir Jurowski
A feature on the building and architecture of Glyndebourne's new
BBC feature on the Waltz
Costume Design Gallery
R E V I E W S:
When a director and a production team have a concept for an opera production that alters the composer-librettist’s original vision, the results can vary from imaginative to hubristic expressions of a director trying to be unique—or just unusual. The concepts that work best are the ones that retain the integrity of the opera. Such is the case with this DVD of Die Fledermaus derived from performances at Glyndebourne. The action has been moved into the early 20th century, art deco simplicity has replaced 19th-century fussiness. The score remains intact, but the dialogue is new—yet it remains quite faithful to the story line. It was adapted by Stephen Lawless and Daniel Dooner, written in English, and then translated into German by Johanna Mayr. Purists are not likely to be offended by Glyndebourne’s updated Die Fledermaus, and most viewers will probably greatly enjoy this production.
The cast is a talented ensemble that excels not only as musicians but actors as well. Thomas Allen and Pamela Armstrong are wonderful as the Eisensteins. Their comic timing creates characterizations that are in equal measure sophisticated and droll. The act-II seduction with the watch is terrific. Lyubov Petrova makes the most out of Adele, the chambermaid with a mind of her own. Håkan Hagegård is an especially genial Dr. Falke, with intriguing glimpses of the anger prompting the Revenge of the Bat. Pär Lindskog makes a suitably lecherous Afredo. Special kudos to Malena Ernman in the trouser role of Prince Orlofsky. She does a convincing male impersonation complete with bushy mustache.
Udo Samel has the non-singing role of Frosch, the jailer. Frequently the role is assigned to the comedian of the day who pads the third act with a monologue of trademark shtick or topical humor. Mr. Samel introduces himself as Frosch — James Frosch. He admits his banter is intended to cover a scene change; however, this interplay with the audience has been edited from the operetta and appears as part of the Extras.
The biggest liability of Die Fledermaus is the third act. The first act lays the groundwork for the disguises and intrigues in act II. The third act serves as the dénouement, the unmasking after the splashy second-act party...Happily, this Glyndebourne production keeps affairs moving along nicely. The cast maintains the energy level from the first two acts. Quite a feat, since it appears the entire performance was done without intermissions.
Scene designer Benoit Dugardyn has created a clever set on a revolving stage...in this case the set is interesting and adapts quite well to the scenic demands of each act. A rather nifty scene change transforms the Eisenstein home into the Orlofsky ballroom. During the second act, the set frequently revolves, adding interesting dimensions and scenic interest.
Acts I and II and the Entr’acte to act III are on the first disc, act III is on the second disc, along with a number of interesting extra features and interviews. A compliment is due to television director Francesca Kemp and television producer Ross MacGibbon for the excellent transference of a stage production to home video. This video is respectful of the stage production without gimmicky distractions. There is very much a sense of being in the theater while watching....the new Glyndebourne production makes any evening New Years Eve.
David L. Kirk, FANFARE
Works on This Recording
Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss Jr.
Malena Ernman (Mezzo Soprano),
Thomas Allen (Baritone),
Pamela Armstrong (Soprano),
Håkan Hagegård (Baritone)
London Philharmonic Orchestra,
Glyndebourne Festival Chorus
Written: 1874; Vienna, Austria
Venue: Glyndebourne Opera House
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