Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian
“Reactions to Dawn French’s non-singing appearance as an ample and obdurate Duchess of Crackentorp will be, more than usual, a matter of taste...But there can surely be no argument about Dessay. As the regiment’s tomboy handmaiden Marie, pigtail curving, fist punching the air à la Nigel Kennedy, she shows incredible comic verve even when Donizetti’s music sends her voice skyrocketing. Singer, actress, clown: she’s all three.
Theatrically, Flórez isn’t even near the same league...[but] the Peruvian star’s grin, sparkle and ringing tenor keep us happy enough. When the nine high Cs of Ah, mes amis! are hit dead in the centre with the ease of a shrug, you know you’re in safe hands. And Tonio suits exactly the singer’s still-boyish charm... It all makes you want to be in the stalls, seeing and breathing every moment.” The Times, 25th April 2008 ****
“Dessay… is such a natural clown, and it is wonderful to behold the way she used little bits of the coloratura to illustrate comic points. Bruno Campanella conducts the Royal Opera forces with a delicate understanding of all the requirements of Donizetti's often exquisite instrumental detail.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2008
“Laurent Pelly's production of Donizetti's opéra comique was one of the highlights of the Royal Opera's 2006-7 season, and viewing this well-produced DVD of the show it's perfectly obvious why. Natalie Dessay's skinny tomboy of a Marie combines a 110 per cent commitment to the physicality of her acting with a coloratura facility that is beyond criticism.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2008 *****
“Dessay establishes her star quality from her very first entry and vivaciously dominates Donizetti's delightful opera throughout...In short she is an unforgettably enchanting Marie, unlikely to be surpassed...[Florez] also sings and acts superbly.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition