Christoph GLUCK (1714-1787)
Orfeo ed Euridice - an opera in three acts (1762)
Orfeo: Anita Rachvelishvili
Euridice: Maite Alberola
Amore: Auxiliadora Toledano
Dancer: Aline Vincent
Cor de Cambra del Palau de la Musica Catalana/Jordi Casas Bayer
Orquesta bandArt/Gordan Nikolic
Staged by La Fura dels Baus
Stage Director: Carlus Padrissa
Costume Designer: Aitziber Sanz
Sound: PCM Stereo, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Picture: 16:9
Region: 0 (worldwide)
Subtitle languages: Italian, English, German, Spanish, Korean, Chinese
UNITEL/C MAJOR 710404 BLU-RAY [110:00]
Bad taste has become common in the opera these days, under the guise of “avant-garde”, and it’s very easy to take a great work, with fine singers, and ruin it through poor visuals and costumes. Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice is one of the great operas of the late 18th century but a production like this manages to ruin it entirely. There are so many things that make this a bad production, but they are most likely heightened by the close-ups that one sees on a film; in person, many of these things may have been acceptable, but you see too much in this film.
First, this work is performed on a fairly small stage, with the musicians sitting in trap doors on the stage, their upper bodies visible. At times they also leave their holes and play standing on the stage; in their grey-and-black striped tights, they fit in quite well. This leaves very little room for the singers to move around. Add to that the disturbing projections of, well, things, on the stage and a screen behind it - it’s not always clear what they are - and this is very distracting.
Then there is Anita Rachvelishvili’s costume. She is wearing some sort of horrid blue pantsuit, around which is a harness. She also seems to be pregnant, which makes the tight-fitting costume stand out even more. You may wonder for the first 20 minutes or so why she is wearing this harness. She climbs up to the top of a column, and stands atop if for a while, and needs to be wired to protect her in case she falls. She continues wearing this harness throughout the remainder of the work.
Anita Rachvelishvili is an excellent singer, but her stage presence here has all the charm of a slug. She clearly wants to move around a bit, but there’s no room to do so. The other singers are fine, and the choir is excellent as well. That said, the overall feeling of watching this is one of discomfort; discomfort that the production is so bad, but also that the lead character seems so incredibly out of place in this mess.
All in all, this is certainly a performance worth listening to, but the mise en scène is so terribly off that it’s best to not watch this, unless you are attracted by incongruous stagings.  

Kirk McElhearn 

Fine singing from Anita Rachvelishvili cannot save this disastrous staging.