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Mozart Mitridate Re di Ponto


Yvonne Kenny
Rockwell Blake
Ashley Putnam
Brenda Boozer

Lyon Opera Orchestra /Theodor Guschlbauer

DVD 2053609
Recorded: live 1986 PAL 4:3 / TT: 152 mins


Composed when Mozart was only 14, this full length opera seria shows astonishing promise but inevitably some longeurs.

The vocal requirements used to be prohibitive, but there is a new generation of singers able to cope with the technical demands and, since its first modern stage performance in Salzburg 1971, it has been seen not infrequently in recent years.

Midridate, the King of Pontus, is resisting the hostile threat from Rome in the second century B C, with the usual intrigues and love conflicts. Apart from the King himself, the main characters, including Mitridate's two sons, are taken by women, Ashley Putnam and Brenda Boozer, who deport themselves well. The direction of this production is fairly perfunctory, mostly on a split level stage, with little reaction from those on stage during the lengthy da capo arias, a lot of standing around in polite attendance.

Musically it is adequate or better, especially the contributions from Rockwell Blake and Yvonne Kenny, who are unfazed by the florid excesses (which long antedate the hazards for the Queen of the Night). But not really recommendable for the ordinary collector, other than to those who want everything Mozart wrote.

I hanker however after a far more memorable version which sticks in the memory; seen on TV and filmed at Palladio's historic Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, which we visited many years ago.

I have it videoed on V8 from the BBC (unfortunately I no longer have facilities to play that format) and it is probably Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's film of 1986*. It was remarkable for the production on the permanent staging [illustrated], which has exaggerated perspective effects, and for costuming with enormous wigs and head-dresses; it may be available from Unitel?

Can anyone confirm?

Peter Grahame Woolf

*Staged and Directed at Teatro Olimpico Vicenza by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle
Soloists: Gösta Winbergh, Yvonne Kenny, Ann Murray, Anne Gjevang, Joan Rodgers
Concentus Musicus Wien/Nikolaus Harnoncourt


© Peter Grahame Woolf