The genesis of Dynamic can be read as a real fairy tale. The label was founded forty years ago by Pietro Mosetti Casaretto (1925-2012), a violin-playing surgeon with an enormous passion for classical music. Initially, only chamber music works were recorded, all performed by the many friends (including Salvatore Accardo and Bruno Cannino) of the founder.
Mosetti Casaretto, a sincere admirer of violin music in general and of Paganini in particular, set himself the goal of recording Paganini’s complete oeuvre, which he more or less succeeded in doing. The catalogue mentions 35 Paganini titles, many of them performed on the famous violin of the composer/virtuoso.
In 1996, however, there was a turnaround: Dynamic signed a cooperation contract with the opera festival in Martina Franca. With live recordings of weird and unknown operas and of lesser known versions of Macbeth and Lucia di Lammermoor, for example, Dynamic quickly became popular among opera lovers.
Nowadays they also work with other (small) Italian opera houses, such as Teatro La Fenice (Venice), Teatro Lirico di Cagliari and Teatro Regio di Parma. The company initially focused mainly on DVDs, nowadays all titles are offered on both DVD and CD.
With a few different titles, chosen by myself mainly for their high rarity, I settled down on the couch: the party could begin. What struck me immediately was that most of the operas were directed by Pier Luigi Pizzi. Coincidence?
According to Stefano Olcese (production supervisor), it had indeed been pure coincidence at first. “But”, he adds, “Pizzi was so enthusiastic about what we were doing that he wanted us to join him when he directed another opera”. And so it happened.
I’ll start right away with two Pizzi operas – productions for which he also designed the costumes and sets.
Les Pêcheurs de Perles (Bizet)
A production with a lot of ballet, and that bothers me a lot. When yet another dancer floats through the famous duet and thus hides the singing gentlemen from my eyes, I want to give up and read a book.
Yet it won’t let me go, so I watch again. I don’t regret it, although it is still hard for me to persevere. The blame lies mainly (except for the ballet) with the tenor: Yasu Nakajima is mainly meaningless and superficial. Too bad.
But Annick Massis is a truly enchanting Léïla. Only in her place I had chosen the baritone (good Luca Grassi). All in all: provided you do not hate ballet, it is a reasonable recording of that opera on DVD.
Below Annick Massis and Yasu Nakajima in ‘O Dieu Brama!
Hans Heiling (Marschner)
Somewhat hesitantly I started Hans Heiling. Never before did I hear it, let alone see it. From Marschner I only knew Les Vampyrs. Besides: after all the hassle with the ballet in Les Pêcheurs de Perles I fear the worst. Well, that was a surprise! I immediately recognized Pizzi: his predilection for colour (mainly red in all its shades), excesses and physicality is evident here too, but it really works here.
Hans Heiling (Jan Svatos in Czech) was a legendary king of spirits, his name is often found in Czech and German legends. He falls in love with an earthly girl and swears off his magic power to marry her.
However, she is in love with an ordinary boy and rejects him. Disillusioned (only a man can try his luck on earth) Heiling returns to his underground kingdom. A male equivalent of Rusalka, but without the tragic end.
There is insanely good singing and acting, there is not a single weak role. I already knew how formidable Anna Caterina Antonacci can be, but the (also to the eye) very attractive Markus Werba is a true discovery. Very exciting and dazzling. Recommended.
Below a fragment of the production:
Alfonso und Estrella (Schubert)