VIDEO

LABEL: UNITEL CLASSICA / ORF
CATALOG NUMBER: 703104
UPC NUMBER: 814337010317
NUMBER OF DISCS: 1
RUNNING TIME: UNKNOWN
YEAR RECORDED: 2009
RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 31, 2010
ASPECT RATIO: 1.85:1
AUDIO: DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO
REGION: 0 (NTSC)
CONDUCTOR: JEAN-CHRISTOPHE SPINOSI
ORCHESTRA: ENSEMBLE MATHEUS
CHOIR: ARNOLD SCHOENBERG CHOIR
SOPRANO: SUSAN GRITTON
MEZZO-SOPRANO: CORNELIA HORAK
COUNTERTENOR: BEJUN MEHTA
TENOR: RICHARD CROFT
BARITONE: FLORIAN BOESCH

VIDEO SAMPLES OTHER RELEASES


SITE RATING:  8/10
SITE REVIEW:  Jean-Christophe Spinosi's startling, avant-garde staging of Handel's Messiah is one of the freshest, most thought-provoking productions of the oratorio to ever be produced.  Each chorus and aria receives its own unique placement, with the singers doubling as actors in what appears to be a Brechtian dystopia.  The bleak, Orwellian grayness which pervades the costumes and scenery carries over into the cold, detached manner of the performers, which unfortunately casts a pall over the music.  Staged by Claus Guth, there's a pronounced disconnect between the text and the action on stage: stone-faced jurors in courtrooms; small apartments attended by broken relationships; large, empty corridors with noirish shadows falling on the walls; gaping amphitheaters stylistically connect the pieces, but there's no attempt by the creative team to breathe any direct meaning into Handel's masterwork; it's almost as if you're hearing one performance and seeing a different one.  Regardless of the producers' monkey-wrenching the meaning of Messiah, it's a beautifully performed piece, with the Arnold Schoenberg Choir remarkably clean and unified - even when their performing movement along with their singing, and the soloists uniformly excellent. It's also wonderfully filmed - one of the best-looking Messiahs on video, and I found myself captured by the visuals as much as the music.  Not a Messiah that will leave you with a warm feeling, but rather a wide-eyed admiration for its impressively icy ideals.


The Compleat Messiah All Content Copyright 2015 Bret D. Wheadon
All Rights Reserved.