High tech Orfeo marred by artsy video direction

La Fura dels Baus mounted a spectacular production of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice at the Festival Castell de Peralada in 2012.  The concept has the orchestra in costume, on stage and fully involved in the action.  There are lots of video projections and spectacular lighting effects.  In fact at times the whole thing resembles a son et lumière.  There’s also lots of aerial action.  It’s all rather exciting.  Great work from director Carlus Padrissa.

1.orfeoAt the heart of the piece is Anita Rachvelishvili as Orfeo.  No attempt is made to make her look or sound remotely masculine.  She wears a low cut top and sings in a very full, almost fruity, mezzo.  Both make one realize why she was a bit of a sensation as Carmen but work surprisingly well for Orfeo.  She has lots to do and spends a scary amount of the production on a wire in various precarious positions.  Maite Alberola is a more straightforward but quite effective Euridice.  Auxiliadora Toledano, as Amore, gets even scarier aerial treatment than Orfeo.  She spends pretty much all her time high above the stage.  her bright, light soprano is very pleasant and fitting.

2.artsyThe orchestra; the Orquestra bandArt, are directed by their concertmaster Gordan Nikolić and are really quite extraordinary given the acting they have to do.  The same can be said for the Cor de Cambra del Palau de la Música Catalana who, among other things, have to sing while impersonating a mass of writhing worms.

3.spiritsVideo direction is by Tiziana  Mancini and is heavy handed, indeed artsy fartsy.  This production is very busy and really needed a light touch in the filming.  Instead we are given weird angles and multiple juxtapositions.  It’s actually quite hard to watch which is a huge shame because i suspect this show was a total blast to see live.  The technical quality is excellent.  The picture is true HD and looks great on Blu-ray and the DTS HD sound is very three dimensional.  It’s one of the few disks I’ve heard that really uses the potential of multiple channels to the full.  The documentation is pretty basic and there is no explanatory bonus material which is a bit of a shame.  Subtitle options are English, German, Italian, French, Spanish, Chinese and Korean.

4.chorusThere’s a lot to like here but if you are allergic to hyperkinetic video direction you may end up quite frustrated.



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