Notes & Reviews:
Monteverdi's seminal first opera tells the dramatic story from Ovid's Metamorphoses of the descent of Orfeo (Georg Nigl) into the underworld to recover his beloved wife Euridice (Roberta Invernizzi). In a new production for La Scala, based on a painting by Titian and directed by Robert Wilson, the opera receives a powerful and inspiring performance from a fine cast, the Orchestra of Teatro alla Scala and Concerto Italiano under the renowned Italian early music specialist, Rinaldo Alessandrini. Filmed in high definition and recorded in true surround sound.
"I've never heard [the separation scene] more effectively sung by either Orfeo or Euridice...[Nigl] animates the recitatives by putting the words and their rhetorical structures first...In short, this is a wonderfully satisfying performance, featuring one of the finest Orfeos on disc, and a production which suits the needs of both the large-scale theatre and the small screen equally well." -International Record Review
"Director Robert Wilson takes his inspiration from a Titian painting, Venus with Eros and an Organist, and delivers a series of starkly-lit tableaux - strong geometric shapes framing the highly stylised gestures of the cast. The drama comes from Alessandrini's edition and the bite and brilliance of the La Scala orchestra, and Concerto Italiano's inventive continuo section." -BBC Music Magazine****
"the singers are drawn from the top drawer of Baroque practice...Wilson's concept of abstraction - both visual and dramatic - never seems to work with real live performers. But there's still a great deal of musical pleasure to be had from the singers and Rinaldo Alessandrini's conducting." -Classic FM Magazine***
"Beautifully flimed in Milan, this DVD shows how well Wilson's minimalist productions can take to the small screen...Alessandrini directs an authentically sized La Scala orchestra in playing that is at once historically informed and always alive...Georg Nigl, previously a Wozzeck at La Scala, sings with much beauty of voice." -Gramophone Magazine
"This bears all Wilson's trademark stylisations with slow movement and hand gestures full of meaning casting their hypnotic spell. The lighting is also crucial to Wilson's approach. The singing is enthusiastic with Georg Nigl a solid Orpheus, Roberta Invernizzi a poignant Eurydice and Sara Mingardo an outstanding Messenger." -Opera Now
The DTS-HD 5.1 audio track brings clarity, tonal beauty, and precise imaging to the orchestra, and serves the singers well, too, although with little sense of depth. Video director Emanuele Garofalo does a good job of offering enough well-chosen shots to overcome stage director Wilson's stasis without negating Wilson's intentions. The Blu-ray picture quality is fine, maintaining clarity in a production that, in terms of color, is intentionally drab.
I have been a fan of Robert Wilson's work since Einstein on the Beach. Everything about this production and this well-engineered Blu-ray disc is worth having.
Run Time: 114 min.
Picture Format: NTSC, 16:9, Color
Sound Format(s): LPCM Stereo, DTS 5.0 Surround
Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian
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Works DetailsMonteverdi, Claudio : L'Orfeo
- Performers: Luigi de Donato (Bass); Roberta Invernizzi (Soprano); Sara Mingardo (Soprano); Georg Nigl (Baritone)
- Conductor: Rinaldo Alessandrini
- Ensemble: Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
- Period Time: Baroque
- Form: Opera/Operetta
- Written: 1607