These operatic films of Jean-Pierre Ponnelle really are really first rate musically. In this his last film he seems to have rid himself of the irritating habit of doing some of the arias in voice-over. In this film everyone is seen to be singing (although they aren't of course). This is particularly important in Cosi, perhap the most sublime of all operas, because of the large number of quartets, quintets and sextets where you really need to see who is singing what. The cast is, to me, not so well-known as the casts in some of his earlier films such as Le Nozze di Figaro. The divine Teresa Stratas in the role of the maid Despina upstages the rest of the cast in singing, acting and sheer sexiness. The sets, costumes and direction are rather unimaginitive compared with Ponnelle's earlier films. Ponnelle makes the two female leads look like identical twins and the two male leads spend most of the film with their faces covered with yashmaks. This is most confusing in a plot that revolves around partner swapping. Bizarrely, in the wedding scene, the men abandon their masks so the two sisters can quite clearly see that they are marrying each other's lover. Incidentally, if you want to see the definitive version of Cosi on film, try to catch Eteri Gvazava's recent performance, filmed at the Teatro Piccolo in Milan.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?