I am not sure whether this is the bottom of the barrel or not, but I have succumbed to desperation and have taken out this specific DVD of Maria Stuarda that the library has. Up until today I had given it only a sort of cursory glance because I wanted to pretend I wasn’t thinking about watching it, and so I thought it was merely a dubbed movie version of the opera.
As it turns out, it’s not, quite. According to the packaging, this (performance? happening? incident?) is a melding of Schiller’s play and Donizetti’s music and Giuseppe Bardari’s libretto into “a new form of artistic expression.” Given that the libretto was already part Schiller, at least in a general way, this would have to mean, strictly speaking, that this whatever it is has a greater percentage of Schiller in it than the opera. Then again, I don’t necessarily associate bel canto with that kind of razor-edged mathematical reasoning.
I was reading the back cover of the DVD case, and for a moment my heart soared like a little Vöglein in a German art song – there was something about the story being set in an “unnatural landscape”! But reality soon brought me down again. The case was scuffed, and I had misread it. The landscape is not – at least according to the DVD box – unnatural. It is merely “spectacular.” Pffffft.