Alceste (1999)

TV Movie   |  Drama, Music


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24 October 2012 | TheLittleSongbird
| Gluck in blue and sombre style
Alceste is not one of Gluck's best in my view. By all means, it is not a bad opera, not at all, as it does have some beautiful music as you'd expect from Gluck. But I do find the story rather static and perhaps even long-winded, I do consider Iphigenie En Tauride and especially Orfeo Ed Eurydice more compelling operas. That didn't stop me from watching this production for Anne Sofie Von Otter, who I've always liked, and regardless of what I think of Alceste as an opera I did enjoy the production. The video directing is generally good, enhancing the action and the mood, but there are times where it didn't feel as fluid as I would have liked. The staging and choreography is definitely going to divide viewers, apart from a few dull moments which weren't helped by the static nature of the story I for one found it very interesting, often moving as well, and felt the movements was in perfect sync with the sombre mood of the opera. There are even some symbolic moments, which were beautiful to watch and they did liven things up when needed without being distracting. Though I can understand why some who are not used to this style may find it robotic and over-stylised. The production values are really striking, sumptuously designed and lit and colourful, with a big emphasis on blue. The orchestral playing is thrilling in every sense of the word, and there are few out there that conduct Baroque/Classical-era music as effectively as Sir John Elliot Gardiner. The singing I cannot fault, Anne Sofie Von Otter sings with her usual firmness and creamy tone and acts with a lot of command. Paul Groves' lyric tenor voice is more than ideal and he sings it very well. Dietrich Henschel, Ludovic Tezier and Yann Beuron give very good support also. All in all, moving and atmospheric, very well done. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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Drama | Music




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