Natalie Dessay, Juan Diego Flórez, Michele Pertusi
The Metropolotian Orchestra, Chorus and Ballet, Evelino Pidó, conductor. Filmed at the Met March 2009
The staging for the Met's 2009 production of Bellini's wonderful La Sonnambula is not traditional ... but I found it a very satisfying and worthwhile experience nevertheless.
This video has several qualities that recommend it ... the first and foremost being the beautiful melodies which Bellini is famous for. As long as the musicians and the singers do their part, Bellini's music is in a league by itself. And in this instance, yes, the Met's very capable orchestra does not disappoint.
The brilliant tenor Juan Diego Florez and the always charming and talented Natalie Dessay share a fine chemistry and deliver terrific performances. Their duet "Prendi: l'anel ti dono", an Act I highlight, is heavenly.
Yes, the "rehearsal" concept is admittedly different ... but the relatively simple story line combined with the fine acting abilities of Ms. Dessay and JDF, allow this concept, in this instance anyway, to not interfere with the main objective - to be entertaining and uplifting.
I found the final portion of Act II especially rewarding, beginning with "Ah! non credea mirarti", as a section of the Met's stage cleverly carries Ms. Dessay a good 10 ft. or so over the orchestra pit and providing her with a well deserved spotlight apart from everyone else. This is then followed up by the rousing finale complete with period costumes (finally:-), and a heart-warming happy ending.
The video and audio qualities for this DVD are up to the standards one would hope for in this format.
Indeed! Give this a listen...
"flórez's secure, effortless high notes and suave approach
remain a MARVEL." (wall street journal)
"natalie dessay rose to and excelled all expectations...
in this tantalizing and evocative production."
(berkshire fine arts.com)