Mozart - Betulia liberata (Christoph Poppen) [2006]

Posted By: Sowulo
Mozart - Betulia liberata (Christoph Poppen) [2006]

Mozart - Betulia liberata (Christoph Poppen) [2006]
NTSC 16:9 (720x480) VBR Auto Pan&Scan | Italiano (LinearPCM, 2 ch), (DTS, 6 ch) | 4.05 Gb + 5.53 Gb (DVD5+DVD9)
Classical | Label: Deutsche Grammophon | Sub: Italiano, English, Deutsch, Francais, Espanol | +3% Recovery | 130 min

Of all the 22 Mozart operas available through this M 22 DVD collection by Deutsche Gramophon, Betulia Liberata is the only one that is not staged. This is due to the fact that the piece itself is technically an oratorio, but its dramatic features (a city besieged, murder, starvation, religious conversion) generally assimilate the piece to an opera. And in a way it is a shame that Betulia is not staged since the music itself is not interesting enough to cope well with a concert version. The arias tend to drag along, the music is more serene, less expansive than Mitridate (the prior opera of young Wolfgang), and the musicians need to be seriously good to avoid their audience to fall into boredom.
The team in charge of the "Betulia" that night almost rises to the challenge. It is nice to have the tenor Jeremy Ovenden as one of the main characters of the piece - last time we saw him was with a blonde wig in the memorable Fenta Semplice of the same collection- that will be reviewed here. His coloratura tenor is very successful and he is also very good as the incarnation of the spiritual authority of Betulia. It is also nice to see Franz-Josef Selig, legendary Wagnerian, as the redeemed traitor. His very big voice is a bit of a surprise here but Selig started his career in Church music so he is not out of place and the voice is utterly beautiful if not totally idiomatic. Julia Kleiter started with some acidity in her voice but she recovered as the evening went along.
As for the main character Judith, sang by Marijana Mijanovic, the singer can have problems in the very lower register and her dramatic input is limited to rolling her eyes each time she sings, but her incarnation of Judith is nonetheless a musical and a dramatic success and her commitment to the part is extraordinary.
Overall the most innovative for Mozart in this "Azione sacra" is the introduction of a large chorus, for the first time in his dramatic works (if one except the small chorus at the beginning of Apollo et Hyacinthus). An again here the production spares no expense with the presence of the Vienna State Opera Chorus which adds a touch of almost displaced grandeur in light of the relative weakness of the music. The virtuoso Munchener Kammerorchester, conducted by the very lyrical Chritoph Poppen adds to the impression that a lot of efforts have been deployed for a work that does not quite deserve it. Overall, a prime musicianship is put at the service of a marginal Mozart piece. A very enjoyable concert but I doubt I will revisit it again. By Autonome

Mozart - Betulia liberata (Christoph Poppen) [2006]

Ozia – Jeremy Ovenden
Giuditta – Marijana Mijanović
Amital – Julia Kleiter
Achior – Franz-Josef Selig
Cabri – Irena Bespalovaite
Carmi – Jennifer Johnston
Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor
Münchener Kammerorchester
Conductor – Christoph Poppen