Disappointing disc for fans of Berio's more spectacular work
Karl Henzy | 12/05/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This disc was somewhat disappointing to me. I take it for granted that Sinfonia is a modern masterpiece, and the Sequenzas and Chemins built from them are spectacular, virtuoso works. Not that there aren't some wonderful moments in this opera, but there are also too many arias with what seems like conventional operatic singing (and this from possibly the most revolutionary composer for voice). It would have helped if the libretto from literary great Italo Calvino had come with the set, but alas no."
Too much emotive density,and visuality to capture on disk
scarecrow | Chicago, Illinois United States | 09/09/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It's difficult to bring to bear the sublime confusion and emotive and gestural convolution which occurs on the stage in this work. At some point there are dozens of people on the stage,all moving in different directions like a visual texture,Berio is fond of within the desnity of his purely orcehstral music. Yes all the conventional like singing is the auditions which occur by Prospero, a great bit of post-modernity, of art looking at itself, having the inside bowels of the work protraying itself. Adorno said someplace that Opera is in fact one step away from a parody of itself anyway.The narrative and storyline has much subtle moments from Calvino,long a friend collaborator throughout Berio's life in the theatre. This is a modern parable of a king who hears of the collapse of his kingdom and his queen's infidelity,oblique references to the literature of Opera, Othello(concocted infidelity). Since there are no program notes provided all this theatrical complexity is difficult to decipher unless you live with the work and experience it live, which I did in Chicago. And since the opera seems to be arbitrary in its conception I don't think it's worth the trouble of repeated hearing anyway. There are marvelous engaging theatrical gestures in this opera, the Fellini-esque carnaval on stage where acrobats change hands with a slowly ascending choir who ascend toward the ceiling, and live birds behind an opaque plexiglass, with femme fatale's and directors who have lost their way (Marcello che dissi, Otto e mezzo 8 and 1/2) references again in oblique ways. Maazel seems to be a risk taker in having conducted new works throughout his career, Dallapiccola, (Berio's teacher) was one his Ulysses."