I was only introduced to La Serva Padrona fairly recently, but to me not only is it one of the Opera Buffa greats but it is also important in the development of it. If you love the opera, you'll love this version I think. The 1999 film is excellent as well, but if I were to have a preference I give a marginal edge to this. Despite my outstanding rating, I don't think this is without its flaws, it is oddly dubbed and doesn't always record Anna Moffo and Paolo Montarsolo particularly well. However, it does look beautiful with very traditional and evocative production values and photographed lovingly. The music is wonderful, and is played and conducted in a spirited manner while always bearing the style in mind. The direction and acting plays within the Opera Buffo and farcial boundaries very well, the mime-of which this relies quite heavily on- is like the Marx Brothers meets Federico Fellini and that was a nice and interesting approach(I admire both the Marx Brothers and Fellini). Both Anna Moffo and Paolo Montarsolo are without fault. Moffo manages to be both sexy and a photogenic beauty, she plays scheming, flirtatious and charming superbly and her voice here is still testament to my opinion that she had one of the most beautiful soprano voices. Montarsolo, whether in Mozart or Rossini, was an example of a singing actor who not only had a great voice(big, rich yet flexible) but also fantastic comic timing yet with an ability to bring either darkness or pathos to his interpretations, and all of those attributes are present here in this performance. All in all, if you have an hour or so to spare you'll not regret spending it watching this treasure. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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