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Orfeo ed Euridice (1991)

| Drama, Music | TV Movie
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Jochen Kowalski ...
Gillian Webster ...
Jeremy Budd ...
L'Amore
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Drama | Music

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Musically good, visually distasteful
1 November 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Orfeo Ed Euridice is a wonderful opera, Gluck's most popular opera for a reason. I really wanted to like this production, as I do any opera production, but it just didn't do anything for me. Musically it is very good actually. The orchestral playing manages to be stylish and nuanced, while the conducting shows a lot of musicality, sensitivity to the singers and elegant lines. The singing is excellent, especially the poignant Euridice of Gillian Webster. Jochan Kowalski generally sings beautifully, and is suitably impassioned and dignified. Jeremy Budd is good as Amore. Sadly, there are a number of let-downs. One is just a personal feeling, there were times where I felt the sound didn't capture Kowalski's voice that well, making him sound almost like a ghost. But much more problematic was the ugly production values. Modernist stagings of operas do not bother me in the slightest, the thing is that they have to be done right to work and because of how sparse and garish everything is it doesn't work at all here. The staging is hopelessly inept and seems completely irrelevant to the opera and its message. The Elysian Fields sequence often has a breathtaking ethereal beauty to it, but the horrible production values and staging make it the ugliest looking version of that scene I've ever seen. Overall, has redeeming qualities, but on the whole I'd skip it and stick to the Janet Baker production instead. 5/10 Bethany Cox


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