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Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro / Skram, Cotrubas, Te Kanawa, Von Stade, Pritchard

Mozart / Skram / London Philharmonic Orchestra
Release Date: 03/26/2013 
Label:  Arthaus Musik   Catalog #: 102301  
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Marius RintzlerFrederica Von StadeKnut SkramDame Kiri Te Kanawa,   ... 
Conductor:  John Pritchard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic OrchestraGlyndebourne Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Figaro – Knut Skram
Susanna – Ileana Cotrubas
The Countess – Kiri Te Kanawa
Count Almaviva – Benjamin Luxon
Cherubino – Frederica von Stade
Bartolo – Marius Rintzler
Marcellina – Nucci Condo

Glyndebourne Chorus
London Philharmonic Orchestra
John Pritchard, conductor

Peter Hall, stage director
John Bury, stage designer

Recorded live from the Glyndebourne Festival Opera, 1973

Picture format: NTSC 4:3
Sound format: PCM Stereo
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Subtitles: Italian, German, English, French, Spanish
Running time: 185 mins Read more /> No. of DVDs: 1 (DVD 9)

R E V I E W: 3712280.az_MOZART_Le_Figaro_John.html

MOZART Le nozze di Figaro John Pritchard, cond; Knut Skram (Figaro); Benjamin Luxon (Count Almaviva); Ileana Cotrubas (Susanna); Kiri te Kanawa (Countess Almaviva); Frederica von Stade (Cherubino); Nucci Condo (Marcellina); Elisabeth Gale (Barbarina); John Fryatt (Don Basilio); Marius Rintzler (Bartolo); Glyndebourne Ch; London PO ARTHAUS 102301 (DVD: 179:00) Live: Glyndebourne 1973

Is it really 40 years since this magnificent production was presented? To those such as myself, with living memories of actually seeing and hearing Kiri te Kanawa and Frederica von Stade on stage, it hardly seems possible. No matter; not only does this version wear its age exceedingly well, it remains emphatically the Figaro of choice on DVD. As the Countess, te Kanawa is without peer; both vocally and visually, she is the very embodiment of noble feminine beauty and dignity, and her renditions of “Porgi, amor” and “Dove sono” beggar superlatives. If Ileana Cotrubas and von Stade do have some peers respectively as Susanna and Cherubino, they have no superiors, and are worthy equals to te Kanawa in this production. The lead male singers are very strong as well, if slightly less distinguished. While Knut Skram has had a substantial international career (and he was still singing in 2011, at the age of 74), he is little remembered today outside his native Norway, with this being his only major recording. That is too bad, as this shows him to have a firm, rich baritone that he handles stylishly, and he is a quite capable actor as well. Benjamin Luxon is here as elsewhere a sturdy vocal asset in Mozart, and a solid if not a particularly vivid stage presence. In the supporting roles, Marius Rintzler (whose rendition of Jesus in an old Nonesuch LP recording of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion remains my personal touchstone for that part) brings his refulgent bass ably to bear as Bartolo; while his acting is rather stolid, the expression that appears on his ample face when he learns that Figaro is actually his son is absolutely priceless. As Marcellina, Nucci Condo is satisfactory but not outstanding. Among the smaller parts—annoyingly listed only on screen and not in any of the printed materials—John Fryatt is a superb Don Basilio and Elisabeth Gale a piece of luxury casting as Barbarina, while Thomas Lawlor as Antonio and Bernard Dickerson as Don Curzio fulfill their brief assignments ably.

With John Pritchard on the podium, one is assured of a thoroughly idiomatic and infectious account of the score, though some of the tempos in act IV are rather on the slow side. The score is presented uncut, so that one gets the arias for Marcellina and Don Basilio that are normally elided. The sets and costumes are both stylish and beautiful (though von Stade looks far too womanly in figure to be a totally convincing Cherubino physically), and the stage action elegantly plotted and executed. The quality of both the film and the recorded sound continue to hold up well. Among its chief rivals are the recent Covent Garden production conducted by Antonio Pappano (reviewed by Barry Brenesal and Lynn René Bayley in 32:1 and Peter J. Rabinowitz in 33:3); the famed 1976 Jean-Pierre Ponnelle film version with an all-star cast under the baton of Karl Böhm on DG (reviewed by Brenesal in 29:3); and the 1993 Théâtre du Chatelet production led by John Eliot Gardiner. Regarding the first-named, I share (and would add to) the reservations expressed by Brenesal. As for the 1976 film, unlike Brenesal I absolutely cannot stand Ponnelle’s weirdly gimmicky conceits, even with a cast featuring Kiri te Kanawa, Mirella Freni, Maria Ewing, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and Hermann Prey. Finally, the Gardiner features strong musical values, but the bare-bones sets are charmless. In my book, this is the only version that gets everything right; strongest possible recommendation.

FANFARE: James A. Altena
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Works on This Recording

Le nozze di Figaro, K 492 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Marius Rintzler (Bass), Frederica Von Stade (Mezzo Soprano), Knut Skram (Baritone),
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (Soprano), Ileana Cotrubas (Soprano), Benjamin Luxon (Baritone),
Nucci Condo (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  John Pritchard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Glyndebourne Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1973 
Venue:  Glyndebourne Festival 

Customer Reviews

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 Product Replacement May 21, 2017 By Thomas C. (Stoneham, MA) See All My Reviews "nitially the disc was defective. I returned it and a replacment was promptly sent. The company service was excellent." Report Abuse
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