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As usual, in addition to the Jury ratings we also conducted a survey into whether Jury members want to see this production again, would buy or recommend the disc and how they feel it compares with “being there”.
Here are the main findings for “Moses in Egypt” from the Pesaro Festival....
"Would you like to see this production again, on TV or in the cinema?"
95 % answered "Significantly better, rather better or comparable.
Jury delivers a “hung” verdict for “Moses” !
As could be expected, the Jury was divided between those who saw this production as an entertaining and thought-provoking way of presenting this story of oppressed versus oppressors and those who found the transposition to the contemporary Israeli/Palestinian conflict inappropriate, excessive and confusing. However, the Jury was virtually unanimous in applauding the performance, particularly the choral interpretation and several of the soloists. Inevitably, this divided opinion meant that the overall rating was not as high as with less provocatively staged works.
“Extraordinarily interesting and astonishing staging. I thoroughly enjoyed this amazing spectacle. However, I’m not sure if the attempt at contrasting ancient and modern events really succeeded...”
« Elargit la question du conflit au Moyen Orient d’une manière intéressante pour nous aujourd’hui; conflit millénaire, les 7 plais d’Egypte s’étendent… Très beaux chœurs. Mise en scène moderne avec population civile et scènes chocs avec enfants… Avec ou sans Dieu, c’est le chaos du monde... »
“Music and singing excellent. Sound excellent —the acoustics in the theatre must have been very good — and/or the mics were very well positioned...
Rossini’s harmonies are very good, the duets very well crafted.
However, as the staging was a mixture of history and contemporary events, one is tempted to draw parallels which may not be possible. It’s a brave try at tackling a huge subject, but I don’t really think it comes off in the end.”
« Une interprétation très bonne du point de vue vocal. Par contre, je n’ai pas apprécié la transposition de l’opéra dans le contexte actuel du conflit Israélo-Palestinien. Armes, masques, ceintures d’explosifs, de terroristes oppressent et fait perdre l’écoute de la musique.
La fin est également choquante pour moi: voir Moise avec une arme… La metteur en scène a trop pris parti dans le conflit actuel. »
“Interesting production —first time I have seen a bellicose Moses. First half soporific despite all the blood. Boring music — no memorable arias. But the singers were good—some excellent. The set was magnificent but so complex it took attention away from the singing and music. Well worth watching.”
« Très impressionnant.
Magnifique musique en décalage absolu avec la transcription à l’époque moderne. J’ai beaucoup aimé cette mise en scène audacieuse, malgré les costumes très laids. »
“Really liked the set! A very interesting production. I had no idea what to expect - afraid it might be dry and boring. BUT NO !!! Very enjoyable with some excellent performances.”
« La transposition de l’épisode biblique au conflit Palestino-Israelien est surprenant, mais les premiers moments d’indécision passé, on est pris par le rythme et on adhère à cette mise en scène — qui devient de plus en plus extraordinaire vers le fin. Tout le monde connait la fin biblique, et pourtant on est très impressionné par la traversé de la Mer Rouge qui se transforme en la chute du mur de séparation. Bravo !
De plus, les voix sont magnifique, surtout celles de Moise et Elcia.»
“I really enjoyed the beautiful singing, as well as the original and interesting production. I also thought the set was excellent.”
« Excellente production, bien que l’œuvre elle-même ait pu être ennuyeuse au premier abord. L’adaptation à l’actualité contemporaine est fantastique. Il y a tellement de symboles qu’ils sont parfois difficiles à décrypter. »
Singing / performance: A-
HDVD production: B
Overall ranking: B+
in an opera performance of Moses in Egypt, but the brilliance of the production here is that it works both ways, drawing inspiration from Rossini’s remarkable score, finding a meaningful modern way to bring its themes to life, while at the same time injecting its ancient Biblical story with a heavy dose of reality. It’s a testimony to Rossini’s brilliant writing and Andrea Leone Tottola’s poetic libretto that, musically and dramatically, Mosè in Egitto is more than capable of bearing it. If it’s the intention of the Rossini Opera Festival to look afresh are both familiar and rarely performed works by the composer in order to re-evaluate qualities and strengths that are clearly there but which have been buried under decades of operatic mannerisms, then this kind of production achieves that most impressively.
Stripped right back to its expressive power, this 2011 production of Mosè in Egitto is consequently something of a revelation.
Extract from a review of this production published with the kind permission of the author Keris-9
Read the whole review here:
A controversial production of Rossini’s “Moses in Egypt”
Director Graham Vick and set designer Stuart Nunn, as well as the administration team of the Pesaro Rossini Opera Festival emphasise that their 2011 production of Rossini’s Mosè in Egitto doesn’t take sides and offers no solutions, but rather strives to present a balanced account of the impact of conflict and oppression on a population, specifically in a modern-day Middle East context. Balanced it may be, but that doesn’t mean that this production plays it safe in any way. Far from it. Vick depicts Rossini’s Biblical epic in terms of suicide bombers, terrorists, torture, self-immolation and - perhaps most controversially - styling Moses as an Osama Bin Laden figure, wielding a Kalashnikov and stirring up a Holy War against their oppressors through inflammatory video recordings.
This production isn’t pretty to look at, but it’s not meant to be. It does make some controversial references, but there’s nothing here that can’t be justified as a genuine reflection of human nature and how people live in the world today. That might not be what you expect to see
Watch the 25 minute “Making of” to learn more about this thought-provoking production which will introduce you to some amazingly beautiful music.