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Paul Corfield Godfrey
MusicWeb International, July 2013

When this DVD arrived I put it into the player, intending to get some idea about the quality of the sound and picture before reviewing it in detail later on. Two hours later I was still watching, riveted by the quality of the performance.

…[Peter Hall] uses realistic scenery, avoids contemporary allegorical interpolations, and sets the opera firmly in the period of the original story as the Enlightenment triumphed over the ancien régime in Europe. Beethoven was forced to set the story further back in time, transferring the action to sixteenth century Spain, but he always had the contemporary milieu in mind. It most certainly is not ‘traditional’ if that is interpreted to mean slovenly imitations of previous producers’ ideas. Time and again there are insights into the characters on stage, their feelings and motivations, that simply are missed by most other directors. Not here. Hall’s experience as a theatrical producer, here placed entirely at the service of the music and the drama, could serve as a model for all those legions of theatrical and film directors who plaster their own conceptions or misconceptions over the operatic scores they push in front of an audience on stage.

Hall is superbly served by his cast, none of whom are natural casting for their parts but all of whom acquit themselves well.

…this is an exceptional release. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Robert Benson, July 2013

Sir Peter Hall directed with realistic sets and appropriate costumes. Every attempt was made to follow the composer’s wishes, and the result is an outstanding performance well worth of preservation…Dutch tenor Anton de Ridder…sings with authority and control—and he is a fine actor as well. The entire cast is first-rate, and Bernard Haitink on the podium is a decided plus. Video and audio are just fine. © 2013 Read complete review

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