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L'italiana in Algeri (II) (1998)

TV Movie  -   -  Comedy | Music
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 7 users  
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Based on a true story: In 1805, a Milanese girl, Antonietta Frapollo, was kidnapped and taken to the court of Mustapha-ibn-Ibrahim in Algiers. In Anelli's version, the character Isabella is... See full summary »

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Title: L'italiana in Algeri (TV Movie 1998)

L'italiana in Algeri (TV Movie 1998) on IMDb 8/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Simone Alaimo ...
...
Elvira
Maria José Trullu ...
Zulma
Anthony Smith ...
Bruce Ford ...
Jennifer Larmore ...
Isabella
Alessandro Corbelli ...
Robert Kettleson ...
Clavecin
Aurélia Alcaïs ...
Les comédiens-mimes
Virginie Cincet ...
Les comédiens-mimes
Valérie Crunchant ...
Les comédiens-mimes
Anémone Duroy ...
Les comédiens-mimes
Mario Fanfani ...
Les comédiens-mimes
Bruno Glasberg ...
Les comédiens-mimes
Philippe Grangier ...
Les comédiens-mimes
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Storyline

Based on a true story: In 1805, a Milanese girl, Antonietta Frapollo, was kidnapped and taken to the court of Mustapha-ibn-Ibrahim in Algiers. In Anelli's version, the character Isabella is a mature woman confident in her sex appeal and power over men. Mustafa, the Bey of Algiers, decides that he finds Italian women more attractive than any others, so he gives his wife Elvira to the young Italian slave Lindoro. Both are upset, Lindoro because he misses his Italian girlfriend Isabella. She, however, is soon reunited with him when her ship is taken by Mustafa's pirates, but many obstacles stand in their way. Mustafa and Taddeo, a third suitor for Isabella, strive for her love, but she teaches Elvira and the servant Zulma how to control men. After many wiles, Isabella tells Mustafa that he is to join the Order of Pappataci, whose responsibilities are to eat, drink, and sleep. Pleased with this, he finally lets her go, and order is restored with happy unions and reunions. Written by Fiona Kelleghan <fkelleghan@aol.com>

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Comedy | Music

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User Reviews

 
A musically and vocally brilliant production, not quite as appealing visually
3 April 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

L'Italiana in Algeri is a lovely Rossini opera, not my absolute favourite of his but one of his better and more pleasurable ones. The music sparkles, and the opera is funny and charming. Previously I'd seen the 1986 and 1987 productions and I will say I do prefer both to this one. The 1986 production had some consistently amazing singing with almost all of them especially Horne and Montarsolo having sung Rossini before, and of the three productions so far I've seen the 1987 production is the most visually beautiful.

This production is my least favourite of the three so far, but that is not to say it is a bad production. It isn't, despite the meagre rating. It does have the fun and charm of the opera and has brilliant singing and musical values.

Where the production does fall down is in the sets and costumes and a few bits of staging. The sets and costumes are colourful, but they come in a mishmash of styles(traditional Turkish and modern mostly) and a lot of them are ridiculously over-sized, especially the large ships(one that sinks and one that takes everybody to freedom). Of the costumes, Larmore's was the only real one I'd call flattering, her green dress looks gorgeous both as a dress and on her. The staging mostly does work, including the rousing finale, the simple but effective part with Lindoro first arriving in chains and in the Pappatachi scene to my delight you actually do see Alaimo eating spaghetti.

However, there are a few idiosyncratic things that make things too farcial, especially when Corbelli's Taddeo gets carried around on the shoulders of a man who is wearing longer robes that Taddeo himself wears as a Kamaikan. Not to mention the harem eunuchs' stomachs and the enormous biceps of the pirates. That said, the technical parts are good, I liked the many close-ups and the picture quality and sound are great. Musically it is excellent, with sprightly tempos from conductor Bruno Camponella and stylish playing from the orchestra.

Of the principal singing, the standout is Jennifer Larmore's Isabella, with her dark creamy voice, superb technique and charming presence, her performance is just delightful. Simone Alaimo stands out also. His voice is not the most juicy of others singing the role of Mustafa, but it is very characterful and pleasurable and he is a great actor. Plus he does deserve credit for actually singing the colouratura of his role in alternative to bluffing through it. Alessandro Corbelli is equally outstanding, he is very witty and sly with attention to nuances and superb comic timing. Bruce Ford is a charming Lindoro with a sense of the Bel Canto style. Jeanette Fisher's Elvira is sung with clarity and acted just as well.

In conclusion, some of the visuals and staging were lacking for me, but the musical values and performances more than made up for any misgivings. 7/10 Bethany Cox


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