Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro

Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro
Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro (click images to enlarge)

Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro

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Manufacturer Description

Mirella Freni, Hermann Prey, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Kiri Te Kanawa, and Maria Ewing star in this Jean-Pierre Ponnelle-directed version of the Mozart opera, with Karl Bohm conducting the Vienna Philharmonic.

Mozart's Marriage of Figaro is a comedy whose dark undertones explore the blurred boundaries between dying feudalism and emerging Enlightenment. Among dozens of fine Figaros on CD and DVD, few are as finely sung as this one, filmed in 1976 to a soundtrack recorded the previous year.

Herman Prey's Figaro is admirably sung in a firm baritone and aptly characterized. So too, is his antagonist, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau as the Count perpetually frustrated by the scheming wiles of Figaro and Susanna, here the perky Mirella Freni, who sings and acts like a dream. The Countess is creamy-voiced Kiri Te Kanawa, and the Cherubino, Maria Ewing, looks just like the horny, teenaged page she's supposed to be. The all-star leads are complemented by worthy supporting singers, the Vienna Philharmonic at the top of its form, and the experienced Mozartian, Karl Böhm conducting a stylishly fleet performance.

The problematic visuals though, don't match the musical attributes of this Figaro. Director Jean-Pierre Ponnelle says film techniques of editing and special effects permit added musical and interpretive components. So we get nervously irrelevant camera movements, distorted close-ups, jump-cuts that place singers in impossible places during arias, and--most distracting of all--arias on the soundtrack while the "singer" stares close-mouthed at walls, ceilings, and furnishings. Try Te Kanawa's beautifully sung "Porgi amor" to see how this distracting technique subverts the music, rather than "complementing" it. Of course, this may not bother many but others will prefer to listen to the glorious soundtrack and give Ponnelle's directorial hubris a pass. --Dan Davis

Key Product Details

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Genre: Music Video & Concerts