The silliest opera ever?

Even by the standards of bel canto comedies Donizetti’s Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali is insubstantial fluff.  It’s basically a farce about a no hope opera troupe failing miserably to rehearse an opera in the face of prima donnaish Prima Donna, her overprotective husband, a flaky German tenor and the overbearing mother of the Seconda Donna (played by a man, natch).  Half of the jokes turn on cast members singing badly and the rest on standard opera clichés.  None of them are particularly funny.  The music is a bit non descript too.  The best bits are when the Prima Donna and the tenor inexplicably decide to sing Rossini and Mozart in the middle of a rehearsal.

1.PD_tenorThere’s not really much to be said about Antonio Albanese’s production either.  It’s pretty literal and straightforward; not that I think there are any great depths to be mined here anyway.  Mostly it turns on obvious site gags and hideous hair.  The cast do there best with it.  They all sing well when they have to, which isn’t often.  Jessica Pratt as the Prima Donna, Leonardo Cortellazi as the German tenor and Aurora Tirotta as the Seconda Donna all show they can sing really well.  Vincenzo Taormina as the mother, Agata, switches rather capably from singing really quite beautifully to being absolutely appalling when so required.  It’s quite a tour de force.

2.agataThe disk is fine.  Andy Sommer’s video direction is perfectly adequate,  The sound (DTS) is open, clean and natural and the picture quality reflects that it was filmed in HD.  There are no extras.  The booklet has a chapter listing and a synopsis.  Subtitle options are English, French, German and Spanish.

3.executionOne to watch only for the obsessive Donizetti completist or a masochist.

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