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Opera

  • Verdi: Aida -- Metropolitan Opera Verdi: Aida -- Metropolitan Opera | DVD | (20/11/2000) from £9.47  |  Saving you £7.52 (44.30%)  |  RRP £16.99

    A star-studded production from New York's Metropolitan Opera with Aprile Millo and Placido Domingo in the lead roles supported by the Metropolitan Opera Chorus and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; conducted by James Levine. Please note: This is a NTSC disc please ensure the compatibility of your TV.

  • Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen -- Metropolitan/Levine Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen -- Metropolitan/Levine | DVD | (14/10/2002) from £45.99  |  Saving you £0.00 (0.00%)  |  RRP £45.99

    The James Levine cycle of Wagners Der Ring des Nibelungen is humane and emotionally powerful rather than monumental or spiritual; Levine is more interested in finding our sympathy for the characters than inspiring pity or terror. These are very traditional productions in which you see a rock where you need to see a rock, a dragon where the libretto says a dragon (the Metropolitan Opera has never been a place for experiment). What Levine and the Met can and do offer is excellent orchestral playing and some of the best singers in these roles in the world. Siegfried Jerusalem is boyish and naive and touching as Siegfried, and he is also surprisingly good as the detached mischievous Loge of Das Rheingold. James Morris is uniformly impressive as Wotan and makes the character evolve from the young ruthless god of the first opera to the tired old god of Siegfried, who seeks nothing more than his own necessary defeat and death. As Brunnhilde, Hildegard Behrens makes a convincing shift from goddess to woman, from callousness to tenderness and on to vindictiveness and self-sacrificing wisdom. Overall, this is an attractive Ring cycle, well-cast and beautifully played; others have greater strengths in some areas, but Levine is reliable across the board. On the DVD: Der Ring des Nibelungen has all four operas, which are also available individually, contained in a single box. All the DVDs come with a photo gallery of the Metropolitan Opera productions and with menus and subtitles in German, French, English, Spanish and Chinese. Its a little disappointing, though, that they are presented in American NTSC format, not European PAL, and the picture ratio is standard TV 4:3. On the plus side, they all have an excellent clear acoustic in the three audio options: PCM stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1. --Roz Kaveney

  • Otello Otello | DVD | (11/04/2005) from £5.19  |  Saving you £10.80 (67.50%)  |  RRP £15.99

    Internationally renowned director Franco Zeffirelli brings Verdi's masterpiece to the screen. Based on Shakespeare's enduring classic 'Otello' is an epic tragedy of jealousy and betrayal. When the scheming Iago (Diaz) believes Otello (Domingo) has overlooked him for promotion he wreaks a subtle and terrible revenge on his master convincing him that his young wife Desdemona (Katia Ricciarelli) is unfaithful. Otello realises the deception too late spiralling into madness and murd

  • Inside the Actors Studio - Robert Redford Inside the Actors Studio - Robert Redford | DVD | (26/01/2009) from £4.99  |  Saving you £3.00 (37.50%)  |  RRP £7.99

    With powerful performances in films like The Sting All The President s Men and Out Of Africa making his case and his mark as an actor Robert Redford then expanded his horizons and ours stepping behind the lens to become one of only six actors ever to win a Best Director Academy Award'' as he was saluted for Ordinary People in 1980. Pursuing his passion for the art of film Redford went on to revolutionize independent cinema in 1980 by launching the acclaimed Sundance Institute for aspiring filmmakers. His charm wit and wisdom make this interview taped in 2004 an effective reminder that before there was the Sundance Institute there was the Sundance Kid.

  • Pirates Of Penzance - Gilbert And Sullivan [1982] Pirates Of Penzance - Gilbert And Sullivan | DVD | (13/12/2004) from £7.92  |  Saving you £8.07 (50.50%)  |  RRP £15.99

    Having mistakenly been sent as an apprentice to pirates young Frederic is happy to leave his indentures on his 21st birthday. Falling in love with the beautiful Mabel one of the many daughters of Major-General Stanley he decides to marry. However the pirates are all to keen to marry the rest of Stanley's daughters! A spectacular interpretation of the Gilbert and Sullivan classic!

  • Cavalleria Rusticana - Mascagni / Pagliacci - Leoncavallo [1983] Cavalleria Rusticana - Mascagni / Pagliacci - Leoncavallo | DVD | (09/05/2005) from £13.99  |  Saving you £0.00 (0.00%)  |  RRP £13.99

    The great Italian stage and screen director Franco Zeffirelli made these widely acclaimed films both starring Placido Domingo with Georges Pretre conducting the Orchestra and Chorus of La Scala. Pagliacci which co-stars the great singing actress Teresa Stratas brought Zeffirelli the coveted Emmy as Best Director in the category of Classical Music Programming. Cavalleria was filmed on location in Sicily which adds immeasurably to the power and atmosphere of this timeless story of love honour justice and violence.

  • Offenbach: La Belle Helene -- Paris/Minkowski [2000] Offenbach: La Belle Helene -- Paris/Minkowski | DVD | (03/12/2001) from £N/A  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Jacques Offenbach's 19th century parody of life under the yoke of Napoleon III, La Belle Hélène, has always seemed as tongue-in-cheek as the material could go. This new staging from the Théâtre Musical de Paris' 2000 season proves you can always go further. As if the social comment and knowing musical allusions (eg: Wagner's Tannhäuser) weren't enough, now via director Lauren Pelly's imagination Helen (Dame Felicity Lott) becomes a modern sexually frustrated woman dreaming the entire scenario. In her dream she is singled out as the most beautiful woman on Earth (prompting vain delusions to rival Snow White's wicked stepmother) as reward for Pâris (Yann Beuron) choosing Venus as most beautiful Goddess off Earth. Act 1 takes place in the bedroom and bed of Helen and ineffectual husband/king Ménélas (Michel Sénéchal). Here the fusion of costumes worn by High Priest Calchas (François Le Roux) seems incongruous until the archaeological dig setting of Act 2 turns everything into a dream. From then on, the analogy of bed as throne, the sheep costumes and male and female swimsuit parade followed by synchronised stage "swimming" of Act 3 all take on greater significance. Les Musicians du Louvre give a tremendous performance under Marc Minkowski's baton (which you often see popping into frame), particularly in the centrepiece duet between Lott and Beuron for their "Dream of Love". Contemporary makeovers of opera often lose sight of the original's intentions, but this update certainly preserves the spirit of Offenbach's vision. On the DVD: A choice of Stereo, Dolby 5.1 or DTS is a testament to the careful staging of this production, as is the video's multi-camera edit. In fact, the 25-minute behind-the-scenes documentary reveals the DVD was conceived as part of the staging. Four interviews make this a most welcome supplement, with Dame Lott having the most to say. --Paul Tonks

  • Delius - A Village Romeo And Juliet [1992] Delius - A Village Romeo And Juliet | DVD | (08/09/2003) from £5.67  |  Saving you £8.32 (59.50%)  |  RRP £13.99

    Shot on location Peter Weigl's film is a spell binding version of Delius's operatic masterpiece. Based on the timeless tragedy of Romeo and Juliet the fate of the young lovers Vreli and Sali is mysteriously linked to the enigmatic Dark Fiddler. The drama is set in nineteenth century Switzerland and includes the celebrated 'Walk To Paradise Garden'.

  • Samson Et Dalila - The Royal Opera Samson Et Dalila - The Royal Opera | DVD | (27/02/2006) from £12.09  |  Saving you £5.90 (32.80%)  |  RRP £17.99

    Jon Vickers plays Samson while Shirley Verrett plays Dalila in this production of the classic tale which was performed at the Royal Opera House. The dramatic story based on Chapter 16 of the Book of Judges lends itself to spectacular presentation not least in the final scene as the blinded Samson summons all his strength to bring down the pillars of the temple. The opera also features a magnificent and voluptuous score.

  • Conspiracy Theories Conspiracy Theories | DVD | (25/06/2007) from £N/A  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £19.99

    Uncovering some of history's most intriguing mysteries

  • Strauss: Elektra [1989] Strauss: Elektra | DVD | (03/07/2000) from £23.27  |  Saving you £1.72 (6.90%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Richard Strauss's wildest and most passionate opera gets an almost ideal performance in this 1989 production with three great female singers at the height of their powers. Marton is terrifyingly unreasonable as Elektra, determined to mourn her dead father in the face of her mother who had him killed, and to hope and pray for the vengeance that her brother will one day bring. Told he is dead, her emotional collapse is equally total, and her eventual self-destructive dance of triumph is a bittersweet ecstasy of anger and joy. Studer gives the sometimes underplayed role of the normal, compromising "feminine" sister the weight and sympathy Strauss intended it to have. Fassbaender is electric as Clytemnestra, collapsing under the weight of her guilt and paranoia, but still scarily sexy and regal in her manipulation of those around her. Abbado's conducting is electric--from the opening "Agamemnon" chords to the final dying fall of Elektra's dance, he never puts a foot wrong or misjudges the pacing of this most difficult of opera scores. The DVD has subtitles in English, German and French. --Roz Kaveney

  • Ruslan And Lyudmila Ruslan And Lyudmila | DVD | (12/05/2003) from £18.65  |  Saving you £-3.66 (-24.40%)  |  RRP £14.99

    A performance of Glinka's opera 'Ruslan And Lyudmila'.

  • Turandot - Puccini [1988] Turandot - Puccini | DVD | (15/09/2003) from £15.39  |  Saving you £1.60 (9.40%)  |  RRP £16.99

    Puccini's 'Turandot' performed by the Metropolitan Opera. Artists include: Eve Marton and Placido Domingo. Conducted by James Levine. Directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Sung in Italian

  • Lucia Di Lammermoor Lucia Di Lammermoor | DVD | (21/05/2004) from £8.85  |  Saving you £1.14 (11.40%)  |  RRP £9.99

    Donizetti's great tragedy is his undisputed masterpiece of melancholic romanticism with the doomed love between Lucia and Edgardo retold from Scott's novel The Bride of Lammermoor. The 1992 production heightens the story's powerful libretto with its dramatic visual design and first-class musical performances. Unlocked from the archives of RAI television this is a classic recording from one of the world's great opera houses.

  • Gershwin: Porgy And Bess [1992] Gershwin: Porgy And Bess | DVD | (14/05/2001) from £21.98  |  Saving you £-5.99 (-37.50%)  |  RRP £15.99

    This production is directed by Trevor Nunn and is based on his highly successful Glyndebourne staging in 1986/87 which was revived at Covent Garden in the autumn of 1992 with most of the original cast including Willard White and Cynthia Haymon. Immediately after that performance the production was moved to the giant stage at Shepperton Studios with much expanded sets and lighting. It was then recorded using the original award-winning EMI soundtrack. The romance and beauty of this tender story its dramatic development and the sheer vitality of the characters come alive in this exciting visual production.

  • Rossini: Semiramide [1991] Rossini: Semiramide | DVD | (31/12/2007) from £28.69  |  Saving you £6.30 (18.00%)  |  RRP £34.99

    Bel canto can be translated as "pretty singing", and that definition seems tailor-made for this production, which offers grace, charm, and a fine-tuned sense of style in abundance to compensate for its limited psychological and emotional impact. The four principal singers are all specialists in the bel canto style and this opera has played a key role in building their substantial reputations. For its sweeping musical imagination and technical wizardry, Rossini's epic about royal assassination and misdirected lust in the ancient Babylonian Empire deserves a place in any inclusive opera collection, and we are not likely to have a better video recording of Semiramide in the foreseeable future. June Anderson has an attractive appearance and sounds exactly right in the music's florid melodic lines. But she is not dramatically compelling as the wicked queen who had her husband killed and fell in love with a man who turned out to be her long-lost son, Arsace. Marilyn Horne rose to the highest levels of international fame in the role of that conflicted son, and her presence alone would be enough to give this video classic status. Her voice was a bit past its prime when this performance was recorded in 1991, but still there is no other voice quite like it, no other voice so suited to Rossini's heroic mezzo roles. Samuel Ramey is a close bass counterpart to Anderson: great tone, agile florid singing, and a rather wooden but visually appealing stage presence. Sanford Olsen has a small role and sings it near perfectly. James Conlon gets excellent musical results; John Copley's staging is massive and static. --Joe McLellan, Amazon.com

  • The Mikado The Mikado | DVD | (22/08/2011) from £11.65  |  Saving you £5.34 (31.40%)  |  RRP £16.99

    Based on the stage production by Anthony Besch.

  • Inside the Actors Studio - Clint Eastwood Inside the Actors Studio - Clint Eastwood | DVD | (26/01/2009) from £4.99  |  Saving you £3.00 (37.50%)  |  RRP £7.99

    Clint Eastwood's career is the stuff of legend and so is the man. As riveting as many of the characters he has created from the Man With No Name to the man with an unforgettable one Dirty Harry Clint Eastwood has left an indelible mark on every role he has played and on the films he has directed with such distinction that they have earned him two Best Director Oscars'' for Unforgiven and Mystic River. In his interview with the Actors Studio the two-time Academy Award''-winner reveals the frank knowledgeable highly articulate man behind the laconic images that have made him world-famous for forty years.

  • Puccini: Madame Butterfly -- 1995 film version [1997] Puccini: Madame Butterfly -- 1995 film version | DVD | (04/03/2002) from £28.08  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £19.99

    Like the finest of film scores with its fluid beauty and succession of intensely romantic tunes, Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly has a surprisingly cinematic feel. In 1995 director Frederic Mitterand exploited this quality of the story, exposing a young woman's disillusionment against a backdrop of cultural chasms. Shot on location, with Tunisia doubling convincingly as a turn of the century Nagasaki, this Butterfly shines with fragile beauty. The house becomes a brilliantly used set; airy and full of the scent of flowers and at the same time a cage for the trapped woman. Archive footage of bygone Nagasaki is used skilfully to underline the distance between the 15-year-old bride and Pinkerton. Purists may prefer a more traditionally robust, stage-bound Butterfly, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a more visually heartbreaking interpretation. Chinese soprano Ying Huang doesn't rock the rafters with her vocal power; hers is a tender, delicately observed performance. Tenor Richard Troxton's self-seeking Pinkerton is well sung. Overall, this is a haunting cinematic treatment of an enduringly popular opera. On the DVD: Madame Butterfly is presented in a letterbox widescreen format (enhanced for 16:9 widescreen televisions). The Dolby Digital surround soundtrack engulfs the listener in some of Puccini's most memorable tunes, stringing you out and leaving you emotionally spent. The main special feature is a charming portrait of Ying Huan, providing interesting insights into how the film was made and how she won the role. --Piers Ford

  • Luciano Pavarotti - Pavarotti In Concert - Modena Luciano Pavarotti - Pavarotti In Concert - Modena | DVD | (19/11/2007) from £5.95  |  Saving you £-4.98 (-99.80%)  |  RRP £4.99

    A rare and intimate evening with Pavarotti live in Modena.

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