, November 2012
DELIBES, L.: Lakme (Opera Australia, 2011) (NTSC) OPOZ56020DVD
DELIBES, L.: Lakme (Opera Australia, 2011) (Blu-ray, HD) OPOZ56021BD
The colorful sets and costumes by Mark Thompson are outstanding, with something of the line and bejeweled character of Edmund Dulac’s illustrations…Nigel Levings’s lighting design deserves praise, too. The opening of the opera takes place at daybreak, and the slow progress of color changes both on the horizon through the sets and on the cast are managed effectively.
On to the cast. Aldo di Toro is very fine, combining an especially honeyed midrange with a heft that suggests a lirico spinto. Emma Matthews is better still, possessing a bright, appealing lyric soprano, evenly produced and full of character throughout her range. She manages the Bell Song with charm and the coloratura with relative ease…the delicacy and variety of “Pourquoi dans les grands bois” as well as Lakmé’s death scene bring still greater pleasure. Both di Toro and Matthews enunciate with care.
For the rest, Stephen Bennett sings well…Roxane Hislop…does a fine comic turn as Mistress Bentson. The rest of the cast is solid, and Emmanuel Joel-Hornak displays both energy and a refined handling of the work’s coloration. It helps that the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra is an excellent ensemble…
Cameron Kirkpatrick’s camerawork is first-rate. He moves in for close-ups as needed, but doesn’t neglect the importance of long and medium shots to include active vocalists, and to repeatedly refer to the sets for mood. And wonder of wonders, he keeps focused on the people who are in turn the current focus of the music, instead of seeking new faces to film every three seconds. © 2012 Fanfare