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Rossini: Le Comte Ory / Laho, Tezier, Davis, Et Al

Rossini / Tezier / Woodman / Laho / Davis
Release Date: 07/26/2005 
Label:  Kultur Video   Catalog #: 2983  
Composer:  Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Annick MassisStella WoodmanJane ShaulisDiana Montague,   ... 
Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic OrchestraGlyndebourne Festival Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Picture Format: 4:3
Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish
Picture Format: 4:3
Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish Read less

Works on This Recording

Le Comte Ory by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Annick Massis (Soprano), Stella Woodman (Soprano), Jane Shaulis (Soprano),
Diana Montague (Mezzo Soprano), Ludovic Tézier (Baritone), Marc Laho (Tenor),
Julien Robbins (Bass)
Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Glyndebourne Festival Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1828; Italy 
Date of Recording: 7/1997 
Venue:  Glyndebourne Festival 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 A Winner of an Ory September 12, 2012 By William White (Zionsville, IN) See All My Reviews "By 1828, Gioachino Rossini had abandoned the opera houses of the Italian peninsula in search of more lucrative work in the French capitol of Paris. He was not the first foreign composer to be attracted there, Paris was at that time the acknowledged center of the operatic universe. Rossini’s rapidly rising fame however, and the huge success of several of his previous operas with Paris audiences both in Italian and translated into French, considerably eased his entry into operatic activities in that city. The still young composer quickly capitalized on his opportunity and on his new contracts by producing highly acclaimed French revisions and re-creations of his own earlier Italian works while he set about relearning to ply his trade in a new culture and a new language. But by early 1828, his restive Parisian public was demanding a fresh work in French, and preferably a Rossini comedy. Some three years earlier, Rossini had composed an operatic piece d’occasion for use during the celebrations for the coronation of the new French king, Charles X. The work produced, Il Viaggio a Reims, was set in Italian and proved to be quite successful, but was deemed by its composer inadequate for use at any of the Paris opera houses. After three (sold-out) performances, Il Viaggio a Reims was withdrawn. Rossini was determined however, to reclaim some of his best music from that earlier work, and in 1828, came his chance. Again calling on his comedic muse, this time to a French libretto by Eugene Scribe and Charles-Gaspard Delestre-Poirson, he quickly and expertly re-wove portions of his earlier score into new words, new language, new situations and for new emotions while at the same time creating some first class new music to supplement his previous work. When finished, the new opera, Le Comte Ory, was another Rossini hit. It premiered at the Paris Opera in August of that year to acclaim and remained in the repertoire there for quite a few years before fading into oblivion late in the 19th century like most of the composer’s other works. The story itself is taken from an early Crusader ballad from Picardy, supplemented and fleshed out by Rossini’s librettists. It features the title character, Count Ory, a licentious, if younger and more carefree Don Giovanni type and his retinue of knights and retainers, who somehow have avoided the general draft for the Crusader armies and are now roaming the French countryside looking for trouble and amorous adventures. In Act 1, the Count and his followers lay gentle siege to the Castle of Formoutiers, where resides the lovely, sequestered Countess Adele and her ladies, while her brother and his knights are off fighting in the Holy land. In the guise of a wise old hermit, the Count dispenses amatory advice (and apparently, rather intimate personal instruction as well) outside the castle walls to the local peasant women, also now bereft of their men folk. The disguised Count finally gains an interview with the pining and unhappy virginal mistress of the castle, but he is quickly undone and unmasked by the arrival of his own page, Isolier (pants role), and his ex-tutor sent out to look for him by the Count’s father. During the action, the Count discovers his young page has now become his rival for the Countess Adele’s affections. In Act 2, the Count and his retinue actually gain entry into the shuttered castle disguised as female pilgrims (they look like nuns) seeking shelter from a raging storm. Left on their own, the disguised young miscreants quickly discover the wine cellar and a boisterous, rollicking scene of drunken revelry ensues before the Count can get back to his seducing ways, this time into the very bedroom of the Countess Adele. She, however, has been forewarned of the plot by the page, and together the two of them fend off the lecherous advances of “Sister Colette” in an exceptional scene with lovely trio that is the highlight of the opera and contains one of the finest ensemble pieces Rossini ever wrote. The sight of a man disguised as a woman (Ory) caressing a woman who is playing a man (the page) but whom he thinks is a woman (the Countess) sounds very confusing, but is, in the fact, quite easy to follow. At the last, the cavalry arrives, in this case the victorious returning Crusaders literally on horseback, the evil nuns are allowed to sneak out of the castle before a rousing finale where Isolier and the Countess Adele are now seen as a happy couple. This Kultur DVD was filmed for British television from live performances at the Glyndebourne Festival in 1997. Sets and costumes are charmingly period and realistic, stage action is done well, and the numerous visual comedic touches devised by director Jerome Savary just add to the sparkle and entertainment of Rossini’s witty score. Musically, the London Philharmonic under the baton of veteran opera conductor Andrew Davis propels the action seamlessly and yet supports the singers ably even when lingering over romantic legato bits. French soprano Annick Massis about steals the show, vocally. Endowed with a lovely voice, she is secure in all her top notes and has a firm grasp of true bel canto technique. Her Act 1 extended aria and cabaletta give her the chance to display the technique and florid pyrotechnics usually required of a Rossini heroine, and right away you know you are hearing one of the good ones. Without another aria, she nevertheless continues to deliver throughout the opera, adding thrilling top notes to several ensembles (the aforementioned Act 2 bedroom trio, in particular). Her acting at times seems a little wooden, and she appears to be a bit uncomfortable with all the comedic activity around her, but fortunately, her character is not required to initiate or sustain much of the visual business and her two co-leads do that part very well. Veteran English mezzo-soprano Diana Montague sings well as the page, Isolier, though she is not given the same kind of showy music as the soprano. She and the Count, Belgian tenor Marc Laho, seem quite at home with Rossini’s at times, over the top comedy, their confident stage presence, expressive faces, and excellent comedic timing help to make this production so highly entertaining and fun to watch. Laho has a sweet lyric tenor voice and holds his own quite nicely with the two women, though his pitch wanders when he sings high and loud, and he slurs over the bel canto runs that are so wonderfully articulated by a Juan Diego Florez or a Lawrence Brownlee. It is a noticeable plus that both the soprano and tenor are singing in idiomatic French. The supporting roles are sung ably, although the ex-tutor’s bass voice strains to get down to some notes that Rossini’s original artist must have been able to handle more easily. All in all, this DVD is a keeper, though there are no extra features and the documentation consists only of a list of queuing points. Picture ratio is 4:3, sound is Dolby 2.0 stereo, subtitles are in English, French German, Italian Portuguese and Spanish. There are to my knowledge no competing video sets of this unjustly neglected opera although Juan Diego Florez has recorded it on a Deutsche Grammaphon CD set with a soprano not nearly as good as Massis. Perhaps the highly anticipated Met HD production of Le Comte Ory with a stellar cast will produce another top audio or video set. In the meantime, get this one. Highly recommended." Report Abuse
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