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Adriana Lecouvreur and Cosi

The La Scala Collection of DVD reissues from Italian TV is certainly well worth collecting. Most of them are conducted by Riccardo Muti and several have already been reviewed on MusicalPointers and TheOperaCritic. They all have libretti in Italian as well as English subtitles on screen, but background information is rudimentary and the covers are a standard design.

The backs of the boxes, however, have reproductions of the full programmes of the particular performances, with cast and everyone involved; useful historical documents. At prices of c.£12 on the internet (+ or - a few pounds if single discs) they are certainly to be considered for Christmas. The earlier releases seemed restricted to the older 4:3 TV format, but the latest ones have also full screen via the "16/9 anamorphic" option, which my TV set seems to produce very satisfactoriy tuned to "Super Live".

Opera DVDs received recently from their main UK distributor, Select, provide several useful 'doublings', with an opportunity to enjoy soprano Daniela Dessi, a glamorous Adriana Lecouvreur and delectable as Fiordiligi too.

Adriana Lecouvreur
The La Scala production of Cilea's best known opera by Lamberto Puggelli, with backstage mystification galore, comes in two versions, a 2000 revival starring Daniela Dessi on TDK, and the original 1989 production with Mirella Freni, in good voice and good to watch. But Fiorenza Cossotto at that stage of her career is not to be compared with Olga Borodina in the later, more expensive version. I am not attempting here a comparative review; both are good to see and hear.


Daniela Dessi -- Adriana Lecouvreur
Olga Borodina -- La Principessa di Bouillon
Sergei Larin -- Maurizio
Giorgio Giuseppini -- Il Principe di Bouillon
Mario Bolognese -- L'Abate di Chazeuil
Carlo Guelfi -- Michonnet
Ernesto Gavazzi -- Poisson
Marco Camastra -- Quinault

Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro alla Scala, conducted by Roberto Rizzi Brignoli.
Directed by Lamberto Puggelli. Recorded live at the Teatro all Scala, Milan, January 2000
TDK 10 5009 9 DV-OPADL

Mirella Freni ... Adriana Lecouvreur
Peter Dvorsky ... Maurizio, conte di Sassonia
Fiorenza Cossotto ... Principessa di Bouillon
Ivo Vinco ... Principe di Bouillon
Alessandro Cassis ... Michonnet
Ernesto Gavazzi ... L'Abate di Chazeuil
Patrizia Dordi ... Jouvenot
Sara Mingardo ... Dangeville
Oslavio di Credico ... Poisson
Giuseppe Riva ... Philippe Quinault

Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro alla Scala, conducted by Gianandrea Gavazzeni
Directed by Lamberto Puggelli. Recorded live at the Teatro all Scala, Milan, 1989

Opus Arte OALS3011D

The 1989 Cosi fan Tutte is a particular delight, staged on Mauro Pugani's sundrenched seashore with gorgeous costumes roughly contemporary with the composition, and Muti holding together a perfect ensemble in a fairly conventional production by Michael Hampe - none the worse for that. His pacing is perfect and it all moves swiftly through the recits and with no let-downs from the strong cast.

© Peter Grahame Woolf