Music and Vision homepage Classical Music Programme Notes for concerts and recordings, by Malcolm Miller

DVD Spotlight

Characteristic Schubert

'Alfonso und Estrella' -
appreciated by
ROBERT ANDERSON

'... splendidly sung and played ...'

Schubert: Alfonso und Estrella. © 2008 Naxos Rights International Ltd

I had not previously seen Nikolaus Harnoncourt, on or off the rostrum. In 1997, the date of this recording, he had the 'glittering eye' and volubly working mouth of a tiresomely compelling Ancient Mariner. It is a time-honoured custom of most orchestras not to look at the conductor, and I can only hope that the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, manifestly devoted to this slightly cut version of Schubert's opera, followed the practice, rather than risk being turned to stone by Gorgon glares from the podium.

The setting of the opera is eighth-century Spain, when the Christian kingdom of León formed a north-west segment of the peninsula unconquered by Islam. The stage director has seen fit to equip many in the Arnold Schoenberg Choir with the sort of rifle I wielded years ago during my National Service, and the main prop to the action is an abundance of sandbags that I might just as well have filled myself...

Copyright © 25 July 2011 Robert Anderson,
London UK

-------

DVD INFORMATION: SCHUBERT: ALFONSO UND ESTRELLA

FRANZ SCHUBERT

NAXOS

CHAMBER ORCHESTRA OF EUROPE

NIKOLAUS HARNONCOURT

THOMAS HAMPSON

 << Music & Vision home      Classical DVD reviews       La forza del destino >>

 

Music and Vision - read us daily on the net