I love Mozart's music, but I had not heard much of La Clemenza Di Tito until about a year ago. As far as Mozart's operas go, I am much more familiar with Le Nozze Di Figaro, Die Zauberflote, Don Giovanni and Cosi Fan Tutte, but La Clemenza Di Tito is really quite a treasure not just for the music which is magnificent, but also the story and characters.
I had been familiar with Jean Pierre Ponelle's work for quite some time beforehand. Le Nozze Di Figaro(1975)(my first Jean Pierre Ponelle film) was sublime, Der Barbier Von Sevilla(1973)(which I caught especially for Hermann Prey, one of my favourite ever Figaros) was enormous fun, Madame Butterfly(1975) was lovely, Cosi Fan Tutte(1988) was delightful(especially for Teresa Stratas) and Rigoletto(1982)(my personal favourite) was outstanding.
I looked forward to La Clemenza Di Tito(1980) and I was not disappointed at all. As is the case with Ponelle's work, the film looks exquisite. A lot of care is gone into the costumes, settings, photography and make-up, and it really shows. Ponelle's direction is as exemplary as ever, while the orchestra always play with finesse and the conducting is excellent with some well-judged speeds.
The performances are exceptional, as they often are. I was particularly impressed with Eric Tappy as Titus, but the late Tatiana Troyanos sings absolutely beautifully with a voice that is ideal for Mozart, and Carol Neblett(who I first encountered as Minnie in the 1982 Covent Garden production of La Fanciulla Del West, and the production and her performance were wonderful) sings and acts with real authority.
In conclusion, exquisite. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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