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Rossini: L'Equivoco Stravagante

Ricardo Mirabelli (Tenor)
Dmitry Korchak (Tenor)
Marco Vinco (Bass)
Marina Prudenskaja (Mezzo)
Bruno De Simone (Baritone)
Amanda Forsythe (Soprano)

Orchestra Haydn of Bolzano e Trento/Uberto Michelangeli

Filmed at Rossini Opera Festival, Pesaro 2008

Dynamic DVD-Video DYN 33610

The very young Gioachino Rossini (1792 - 1868) created this early comic opera in 1811. It ran into trouble with the censor because of its libretto, was taken off after three performances and went into oblivion for two centuries, losing its overture and the whole libretto on the way. Sensibly on the busy composer's part, some of its music will be familiar from recycling in later operas.

Gaspari's libretto was full of jokes and prurient double meanings in a plot that was rich in sexual ambiguities, the contralto heroine being disguised as a musico, i.e. a castrated boy singer, that reflecting the reality of the operatic scene of the time...

The plot rather loses its way in the second half, but it holds the attention and there are some strong scenes on the way to a general good-cheer finale, with everyone back on good terms again and our heroine re-established as a real woman.

In this version L'Equivoco Stravagante, updated at Pesaro's Rossini Opera Festival to a vegetable importer's premises in our own lifetime, is a delicious farce, stylishly sung and acted by a strong cast and with an alert responsive orchestra. All the expected confusions are supplied and one half-guesses what sorts of innuendo we are sadly missing from the original libretto which disappeared completely.

It's all a very cheerful farrago and we enjoyed it hugely.

Peter Grahame Woolf

Verdi Falstaff at Glyndebourne

Falstaff Christopher Purves
Alice Ford Dina Kuznetsova
Ford Tassis Christoyannis
Meg Page Jennifer Holloway
Mistress Quickly Marie-Nicole Lemieux
Nannetta Adriana Kucerová
Fenton Bülent Bezdüz
Dr Caius Peter Hoare
Bardolph Alasdair Elliott
Pistol Paolo Battaglia

Conductor Vladimir Jurowski
Director Richard Jones
Designer Ultz
Lighting Designer Mimi Jordan Sherin
Movement Director Linda Dobell
Chorus Master Thomas Blunt

London Philharmonic Orchestra
The Glyndebourne Chorus

Opus Arte OA1021D

"Hugely" disappointing on DVD, but comparisons with the live experience at the hallowed estate in Sussex are not possible for Musical Pointers...

Here we don't find the light touch which supported Emilio Sagi's Rossini L'Equivoco above, updated at Pesaro to a similar period, its filming enjoyed during the same weekend that Richard Jones' Falstaff came for review.

For us the small screen destroys the last vestiges of illusion and any laughs are hollow ones at Richard Jones' transfer of Boito's Windsor to the world of 'mid-20th century suburban England, with its fake Tudor pubs, mock-Elizabethan houses, cabbage patches, deference and snobbery' (Financial Times).

But Andrew Clark, recycling his live review, finds the production "too subtle to cause offence" and elevates the DVD to five-star status, writing perhaps for "Glyndebourne’s black-tie audience with nostalgia for an all-white hierarchical society à la Windsor Park - - ". Yes, the black-tie uniform is prominent in the between scenes audience shots in the Glyndebourne opera house...

Rather than going on at length, take this as a warning to sample this DVD on YouTube before adding it to your Falstaffs collection...

Peter Grahame Woolf


Falstaff image: Robbie Jack