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Few conductors have mastered the fluidity of melodic control, the rhythmic
drive and the dramatic characterization of Mozart's operas to the extent
of Karl Böhm. This production, filmed in London in 1976, abounds in
splendid singers, all of whom give performances of the highest vocal and
dramatic distinction: Hermann Prey is the definitive Figaro, charming in
his vigorous self-confidence; Mirella Freni's Susanna is a personification
of innocence and beauty; Kiri Te Kanawa's Countess is a touching portrait
of wronged womanhood; Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau's Count is a deceitfully
flirtatious despot; and Maria Ewing's Cherubino is a passionate study of
adolescent naivety. Böhm's wonderfully supple conducting reflects his
lifelong devotion to Mozart. Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's direction perfectly
translates the polished stylishness and the beauty and warmth of Böhm's
musical direction into scenes and character portrayals of luminous
"And what a gloriously photogenic and euphonious cast led by the uniquely
differentiated quartet of Fischer-Dieskau's subtle Count Almaviva versus
Hermann Prey's defiant Figaro, and Kiri Te Kanawa's honeyed Countess versus
Mirella Freni's not at all playful Susanna. Great singers all, they were
guided by Ponnelle in a production without a moment of cliché ... The playing
of the Vienna Philharmonic under Böhm couldn't have been more Mozartian."
(The Daily Telegraph, 9.3.77)
"A million-dollar TV Figaro that improves on the original... Productions
of this caliber have been televised from stages before, but never has the
dramatic and visual potential of opera freed from such constraints been so
ambitiously addressed. The result is eye-opening, and despite an occasional
overuse of the new tools, the production establishes beyond doubt that the
TV screen can add an important new dimension to the operatic experience."
(The Washington Post, 5.10.77)
||Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
||Le nozze di Figaro
||Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Kiri Te Kanawa, Mirella Freni, Hermann Prey, Maria Ewing, Paolo Montarsolo, Janet Perry