Dove è Amore è Gelosia

Dove è Amore è Gelosia is a 1768 comic opera by Giuseppe Scarlatti, probably the nephew of the more famous Domenico.  It was written for wedding celebrations at Krumlov Castle where Scarlatti was music teacher to the children of the Duke of Krumlov.  It was performed and recorded in the newly restored theatre at Krumlov using the original stage machinery and lighting.  Krumlov is, along with Drottningholm, one of only two baroque theatres preserved as they were in the 18th century.

1.stageThe performance on the DVD sticks as close to original performance practice as possible.  Painted cloth flats and candle lighting are used on stage and the bewigged and liveried musicians in the pit are arranged as they would have been in 1768.  The acting style willbe familiar to anyone who has seen an Opera Atelier production but everybody keeps their shirt on.

2.menIt’s a rather slight piece both musically and dramatically.  Basically it’s a broad comedy about a young widow Marquise who can’t decide whether or not to marry her suitor, a Count.  They each have a servant and the plot turns on various jealousy provoking misunderstandings which allows for a couple of incidents en travesti and some stocking top flashing.  The music is not especially distinguished but it’s pleasant enough.  Ondřej Havelka’s production is straightforward but displays the theatre’s capabilities to good effect.

3.vespettaThe all Czech cast does about as well with the piece as anybody could.  They are all good looking, decent actors and competent singers.  The chemistry between Lenka Máčiková as the Marquise and Aleš Briscein as the Count is effective, Jaroslav Březina is broadly comic as Patrizio and Kateřina Kněžiková as Vespetta shows signs that she is capable of singing something much more demanding. The orchestra, directed by Vojtěch Spurný plays tidily enough.  It all shows off the theatre rather nicely.

4.clariceTechnical quality is standard modern DVD with a decent picture and clear DTS surround sound.  There’s also a Blu-ray version.  The video direction, by Jan Malíř, starts off a bit quirky with odd camera angles but improves.  Really, in a baroque theatre with stacked flats the only sane approach to filming is to stay dead centre.  Anything else mucks up the the trompe l’oeil.  The opera is quite short but there’s nearly an hour of footage about the castle and the theatre offered as a bonus.  The booklet has a synopsis and a couple of essays but no track listing.  Subtitle options are English, French, German, Japanese and Korean.

5.ensembleThis disk is rather fun.  The opera is slight but it’s well performed and the theatre is interesting.

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