BEETHOVEN: Triple Concerto in C, Op. 56. MUSSORGSKY-RAVEL: Pictures
at an Exhibition. JOHANN STRAUSS I: Radetzky March. GINASTERA: Malambo from
ROSSINI: The Barber of Seville
STRAVINSKY: Petrushka. The Rite of Spring.
DGG's issue of Gustavo Dudamel's Salzburg concert with the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, recorded August 29, 2008 in the Festival House, is a stunning success. This concert also marked the return of Martha Argerich to the Festival (her second visit in 15 years), and she collaborates perfectly with the Capuçon brothers in the Beethoven concerto. There is a DVD of another performance by these same soloists with the Flanders Symphony conducted by Alexandre Rabinovitch-Barakovskiy (REVIEW). The highlight of this concert is the fantastic performance of Pictures at an Exhibition played by a huge orchestra with massive strings including 14 double basses. This dazzling performance is a tour de force of orchestral virtuosity, tossed off with the greatest of ease by the magnificent young players. The Radetzky March is given a rousing performance, and the Ginastera excerpt brings down the house as the animated, exuberant young players revel in the joy of the moment. It is unfortunate the other Dudamel Salzburg concert wasn't issued on DVD; it contained Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5, which can be heard on a CD mentioned on this site (REVIEW), and doubtless the Salzburg engineering would be superior to what is heard on the Caracas recording. This new DVD also contains a considerable and fascinating bonus, a documentary on the "School of Listening" that includes an open rehearsal of Mahler's Symphony No. 1. This is an outstanding release.
The remarkable soprano Joyce DiDonato already has a DVD of her Rosina in The Barber of Seville, a Paris opera production in which she was partnered by Roberto Saccá as Almaviva and Dalibor Jenis as Figaro, Bruno Campanella conducting. DiDonato is a trooper indeed. At the first performance of a production at the Royal Opera House in July 2009, the soprano fell towards the end of the first act and, although in discomfort, continued the performance on crutches. It was found that she had broken her leg, but she was determined not to miss the five other scheduled performances. So she sang the role from a wheelchair, making the best of the situation, with full cooperation from conductor Pappano and the rest of the fine cast. This DVD contains one of the these performances, and it is a brilliant success with everyone in the spirit of the occasion, and in top form vocally. I cannot imagine a performance of Barber superior to this, and what a pleasure it is to see simple, effective sets and costumes. The bonus features DiDonato's recount of the accident and interviews with her, Flórez and others. Highly recommended, with fine audio and video. The only debit is there is no printed listing of tracks and timings.
VAI's Stravinsky DVD is a fascinating release, in spite of its shortcomings. We have a live 1992 performance of Petrushka from the Bolshoi Ballet, original choreography by Michael Fokine with Yuri Petrov on the podium. The mono sound is adequate, color photography rather dim with the camera usually where it should be. Shortly after the beginning of the opening scene there is a brief cut in the score—an editing error? Dancing is superb, with Irek Mukhamedov in the title role. Stage sounds are overly prominent. The Rite of Spring is presented by Moscow Classical Ballet in a 1990 television production with scenario and choreography by Natalis Kasatkina and Vladimir Vasilev; oddly, no conductor is identified. The performance is compelling, particularly Valeria Tsoi's Chosen One. and admirers of this ballet surely will wish to have this video document.
R.E.B. (June 2010)