Delius' beautiful opera takes on a new lease of life in this splendidly directed film by Petr Weigl. The music is provided by the highly recommended recording with Mackerras and the ORF Symphony whilst the acting by the doubles (who obviously don't sing) is adequate enough.
Whilst obviously relishing this gorgeous orchestral score, I was consistently moved by the exquisite scenery portrayed by the director, truly recreating a Swiss village lost in time with some stupendous nature scenes.
Weigl's direction allows for a certain amount of artistic liberty that culminates in a ravishing rendition of the 'Walk to the Paradise Garden', a touching moment of rare beauty that is also replicated in the equally moving Finale. I cannot imagine this drama being better enacted.
The late Christopher Palmer writes a lengthy and essential essay for the booklet notes which delve into great detail that is very much a must have for the seasoned Delian. One may lament the absence of a libretto but the CD version will probably be in most collectors' libraries anyway.
Still, the real bonus on this DVD is the hour-long documentary entitled, 'Discovering Delius'. This is another moving historical document described in fastidious detail and very artistical, with some invaluable contributions by that great man, Eric Fenby. This alone is worth the price of the whole issue.
Copyright © 2003, Gerald Fenech