MASSENET Manon Netrebko Villazón DVD-VID 0734431

. . . it works perfectly efficiently . . . Rolando Villazón plays her adoring partner, Le Chevalier des Grieux, . . . and as usual throwing himself at the role with huge commitment . . . in fine voice . . . Daniel Barenboim conducts a fluent reading of the score.

The couple's acting is realistic and touching . . . Netrebko is an irresistible brat -- her pouting and her flirting are broad enough to be funny, but it's clear why everyone falls for her. Her instrument is the more luscious, opulent one, and her "Obéissions" less internal. In the final scene, she undergoes a more complete transformation . . . It's amazing to see Rolando Villazón playing des Grieux so differently . . .

She never fails to project plenty of stage charisma, and she clearly enjoys what she is doing . . . the camera loves her. More important, her rich, creamy voice is well suited to Massenet¿s super-heated score . . . The spectacular and ultra-colorful Paterson production looks great on Blu-ray, and all of his artful choreography, sets, and costumes contribute to keeping Massenet¿s very long score alive . . The 19-minute behind-the-scenes bonus . . . does reveal where Paterson is coming from, along with the enthusiasm of Netrebko and Villazón. Paterson¿s highly original idea for Manon really works, and should make this production, aided by the perfect casting of its stars, an enjoyable experience for operaphiles and neophytes . . .

Vincent Paterson firma una dirección escénica fresca y atractiva, capaz de sacudir a este melodrama sus telarañas dieciochescas y de integrar sus aspectos más banales en un concepto teatral inteligente e ingenioso en el que solo chirría el trágico (y en este contexto poco verosímil) final. A sus órdenes, Netrebko y Villazón se muestran como excelentes actores, característica que en el mexicano contribuye en buena medida a una interpretación vocal juvenil y apasionada . . . Por su parte, la rusa realiza un retrato vocal . . . igualmente conmovedor gracias a la belleza y perfección de su línea vocal así como por la muy lograda presencia escénica.