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Posted October 1, 2010
As soon as you get this DVD, go to chapter 33 and try to keep your mandible from dropping as Hildegard Behrens burns through 'Oh smania! oh furie!' It's the most electrifying singing I've ever seen on an opera stage. She shakes uncontrollably and her eyes are clamped shut through most of it. The audience goes nutso when she collapses at the end. The other singers might just as well have gone home after that. This is worth seeing even if you don't like this opera (or Mozart). The other singers aren't nearly as breathtaking, but this is still a very good show. Pavarotti's voice is gorgeous, but for some reason he seems extremely self-conscious, like he's concentrating too hard on his voice, and this makes his acting stiff. I wish he'd follow Behrens' example- let rip and damn the consequences. I've never liked Ileana Cotrubas much, but she's best at naive maiden roles like the one she plays here. Frederica von Stade does very well showing Idamante's mixed emotions. Her very fast vibrato has always sounded unnatural to me, though. The Met puts on its usual wonderful performance with its excellent chorus, orchestra, sets and props.
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