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Hübbe's Napoli on DVD

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Through Alban Lendorf's Instagram, I just found out that the RDB (through Opus Art) has released Hübbe's revision of Napoli on DVD. It features Alban Lendorf as Gennaro, Alexandra Lo Sardo as Teresina and Benjamin Buza as Golfo. You can also purchase it over Amazon!

I'm so excited about this for two reasons. One, I missed Napoli when it originally ran and never caught it on TV either, so this is a great chance to own it. But more importantly, it makes me dare hope that the RDB's new Swan Lake might make it onto DVD before too long as well. Maybe they're going for an Alban Lendorf collection in the vein of La Scala's Bolle releases... Even more wildly, dare I hope that Hübbe's La Sylphide is next?

Anyway, this is great news!

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I just watched the new blu-ray DVD of Napoli. There is a lot of new music, written by Louise Alenius, for Act II. The overall look is kind of west-side-story urban Italian. There are almost no program notes. I would like to hear what others who know this piece much better than I think about it.

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I really liked it. However, it should be noted that I have never been particular enthusiastic about the original Napoli and actually missed out on seeing Hübbe's re-interpretation when it was first staged, because I'd been so bored by the version (from the 80s) that I had on DVD and thought his new version would be the exact same, just in new costumes...

I found the casting solid, especially loved Buza as Golfo. Lo Sardo grew on me throughout the performance and by the end, I thought she was a lovely Teresina, though I must admit to preferring her in the second act. I generally love Alban and he danced the role of Gennaro as well as expected and, on top of that, had some wonderful moments of mime, but out of the three major roles I've seen him dance (Gennaro, Armand and Siegfried), this wasn't my favourite of his performances. I'd heard some criticism of the third act, the first time they staged this production, but I really loved the atmosphere and the technique that the dancers brought to it. I had to get used to the way the recording was cut, but knowing how film-like Hübbe's aesthetic is, I think I understand the purpose of it and have come to appreciate it after a few viewings. I particularly loved Gregory Dean, Caroline Baldwin and Susanne Grinder in their respective solos.

I loved the setting and the entire idea of this Napoli 50s style. The costumes were to die for.

The weird thing is... In the original Napoli that I have on DVD, my favourite part of the performance (aside from the fourth female solo in act three) is the second act and Hübbe has completely changed it. Not just the music, but the entire aesthetic of Golfo and how he represents something basic and suppressed in Teresina. I really had to get used to Alenius' music, but after a few minutes it had kind of swept me into this other world. It felt very removed from the world of Napoli, at times I was questioning if it was too removed, but... I don't know how to explain it, but I bought it. It felt very fitting, somehow. I adored Buza in this role. It made me very sad that he missed the chance of dancing Rothbart and I, thus, missed the chance to see him perform that role. He'd have been perfect. Lo Sardo also really came alive in the second act. Her stage presence was a perfect fit for this ethereal creature that Teresina had been turned into all of a sudden. All in all, I think it'll take a few more viewings of the DVD to really combine all three acts into a whole, but the idea definitely works for me. Then again, I have yet to see anything by Hübbe where I didn't sympathise with the idea, without necessarily always being entirely convinced by the execution itself.

All in all, I hope they'll stage this version of Napoli again soon, this time I'd definitely buy tickets!

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