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Opera

  • Il Ritorno D'Ulisse In Patria - Monteverdi [2005] Il Ritorno D'Ulisse In Patria - Monteverdi | DVD | (29/08/2005) from £6.09  |  Saving you £23.90 (79.70%)  |  RRP £29.99

  • Glass: Satyagraha [1981] Glass: Satyagraha | DVD | (04/01/2001) from £20.05  |  Saving you £4.94 (19.80%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Based on an original scenario by Philip Glass and Constance De Jong 'Satyagraha'. Performed in Sanskrit.Act 1. Tolstoy.Act 2. Tagore.Act 3. Martin Luther King.

  • Turandot - Puccini [1991] Turandot - Puccini | DVD | (27/02/2006) from £10.07  |  Saving you £4.92 (32.80%)  |  RRP £14.99

    In the Imperial Palace of Peking the Emperor announces that any prince seeking to marry his daughter Turandot must first answer three riddles. Prince Calaf falls immediately in love with Turandot and successfully answers all three. However before the Prince marries Turandot he asks her a riddle of his own.

  • Wagner: Parsifal Wagner: Parsifal | DVD | (14/10/2002) from £18.65  |  Saving you £3.34 (15.20%)  |  RRP £21.99

    A performance of Wagner's opera 'Parsifal' featuring the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus. Conducted by James Levine. The action takes place in the Middle Ages. At the castle of Monsalvat cut off from the rest of the world the brotherhood of Grail Knights guards the chalice in which the blood of the crucified Saviour had once been caught. In an effort to seize possession of the Grail Klingsor a powerful magician has established his realm at the foot of the mountain peop

  • Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg -- Australian Opera / Mackerras [1988] Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg -- Australian Opera / Mackerras | DVD | (20/02/2004) from £11.65  |  Saving you £4.64 (15.50%)  |  RRP £29.99

    Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg is Wagner's most life-affirming opera, a romantic comedy about life and love in 16th century Nürnberg with none of the mythological characters and settings of the composer's other operas. The story concerns a knight, Walther Von Stolzing (here sung by Paul Frey) who must win the hand of the woman he loves, Eva (Helena Doese) by competing in a competition to become the Master Singer of the city. Against him are various romantic rivals, while in the role of his eventual mentor is the shoemaker Hans Sachs (Donald McIntyre). Doese brings just the right innocent femininity to one of only two important female roles--the other is filled by Rosemary Gunn as her governess, Magdalene. Paul Frey is fine as the romantic young knight, but the opera belongs to the great New Zealand Wagnerian bass-baritone, Donald McIntyre. His performance is richly insightful as only one so steeped in the world of the composer could be. The staging is deliberately unspectacular, the colours muted to the natural earth tones of the Middle Ages, focusing all attention on the characters, drama and exhilarating music. Though running three-and-a-half hours, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg is an excellent introduction to Wagner's art; especially as presented in this 1990 performance in an engagingly direct and unpretentious style, one that draws the audience in and makes for highly effective small-screen viewing. On the DVD: Die Meistersinger is presented on two DVDs to maximise picture quality over the 227-minute playing time. The image is 4:3 and is typical of a 1990 live opera performance recorded on video, being perfectly acceptable while revealing all the faults of the medium. The stereo sound is very good without being exceptional. There are optional subtitles in English, German, French and Spanish but no extras. --Gary S Dalkin

  • The Flying Dutchman - Wagner The Flying Dutchman - Wagner | DVD | (09/05/2005) from £15.39  |  Saving you £1.60 (9.40%)  |  RRP £16.99

    One of the most acclaimed Wagner productions of the postwar period this electrifying revolutionary Bayreuth staging of The Flying Dutchman catapulted the German director Harry Kupfer to international fame. Kupfer's psychologically acute production presents the entire story as a hallucination in which Senta's yearning for the eternally wandering Dutchman sends her into a trance-like state. Senta is sung by Danish soprano Lisbeth Balslev the American bass-baritone Simon Estes portrays the Dutchman while the Finnish bass Matti Salminen is Daland.

  • Handel: Julius Caesar -- ENO [1984] Handel: Julius Caesar -- ENO | DVD | (21/06/2002) from £18.32  |  Saving you £6.67 (26.70%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Dame Janet Baker in one of her greatest roles leads a cast of some of Britain's finest interpreters of baroque opera under the baton of Sir Charles Mackerras. John Copley's acclaimed English National Opera production was restaged in studio skilfully using all the technical advantages offered to create this top quality recording.

  • Luciano Pavarotti - Verdi - Un Ballo In Machera Luciano Pavarotti - Verdi - Un Ballo In Machera | DVD | (26/02/2008) from £18.65  |  Saving you £3.34 (15.20%)  |  RRP £21.99

    Giuseppe Verdi - Un Ballo In Maschera.Live At The Metropolitan Opera on 16 February 1980.

  • Classic British Jets-Victor Classic British Jets-Victor | DVD | (03/07/2006) from £6.25  |  Saving you £3.74 (37.40%)  |  RRP £9.99

    The story of the legendary V-Bomber from its days at the heart of Britains nuclear deterrent through its tanker conversion and disbandment.

  • Janacek: Jenufa -- Glyndebourne [1989] Janacek: Jenufa -- Glyndebourne | DVD | (22/06/2001) from £20.05  |  Saving you £4.94 (19.80%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Janacek's masterpiece Jenufa, captured in this 1989 Glyndebourne Festival Opera production, is among the most revived modernist works. Compared with much grand opera, the story of one woman's struggle to rise free from social constraints at a terrible cost is remarkably poignant, credible and accessible. Scenes are short and intense. The music shimmers with Janacek's characteristic blend of sweetness and sharp dissonance. His men are damaged and angry; his women kick against the expectations of convention. Tragedy is inevitable, but here, unusually, hope triumphs. In the title role, Roberta Alexander is utterly convincing as the stepdaughter of the Kostelnicka Buryja, placing her love and trust in the wrong man with dire consequences. As the Kostelnicka, Anja Silja turns in an equally towering performance, unravelling with the awful consequences of her pragmatism. Alexander's fluid soprano reveals the extraordinary beauty of some of Janacek's finest arias: the moment when she becomes supernaturally aware of her baby's fate--it's "as if death was peering into the house!"--and is actually singing prayers for its soul is quite overwhelming. This Jenufa is sung splendidly; a revelation of the essential humanity which lurks at the heart of the greatest operas. On the DVD: This production was filmed for Channel 4 and has all the hallmarks of a 1980s television broadcast: standard 4:3 picture format which limits the impact of Tobias Hoheisel's magnificent expressionistic set; PCM stereo which somewhat dulls Andrew Davis' sterling, powerful work at the helm of the London Philharmonic Orchestra (although the principal singers shine through); poor subtitles; and static freeze-frame links between scenes. As a record of an important production, though, it suffices. --Piers Ford

  • Verdi: Nabucco -- La Scala/Muti Verdi: Nabucco -- La Scala/Muti | DVD | (26/04/2004) from £11.68  |  Saving you £6.31 (35.10%)  |  RRP £17.99

    This magnificent production of Verdi's biblical epic Nabucco marked the return of Riccardo Muti as Musical Director of La Scala Milan Italy's greatest opera house. Nabucco was Verdi's first real success. This vast opera has great scenes for the chorus most famously in 'Va pensiero' the hymn of longing sung by the Hebrew slaves on the banks of the Euphrates. This DVD is a marvellous opportunity to hear La Scala's famous Chrous on top form.

  • 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.

  • Vecchi - L'amfiparnaso (Callow) [2003] Vecchi - L'amfiparnaso (Callow) | DVD | (23/01/2006) from £10.49  |  Saving you £2.50 (19.20%)  |  RRP £12.99

    L'Amfiparnaso is surely the most important piece of Renaissance music theatre still in existence. Through a virtuosic score for vocal ensemble Vecchi brings alive the commedia dell'arte characters of late sixteenth-century Venice: mean-hearted merchant Pantalone the verbose bogus doctor Gratiano the braggart and over amorous Spanish Captain and a host of down-at-heel servants the zanni. But alongside this slapstick Vecchi writes bittersweet music for the lovers akin to the finest poluyphony of Gesualdo and Monteverdi. The balance this provides has made L'Amfiparnaso the classic of its time and this is the first production of it (or of any work of its kind) for DVD.

  • Aida [2003] Aida | DVD | (21/05/2004) from £21.98  |  Saving you £7.40 (24.70%)  |  RRP £29.99

    Daniela Dessi Elisabetta Fiorillo Fabio Armiliato Juan Pons and Roberto Scandiuzzi lead the cast in the renowned period production filmed in 2003 against the historic paper trompe-l'oeil sets painted between 1936-45 by Josep Mestres Cabanes the last representative of the old Catalan school of stenography.

  • La Scala Collection La Scala Collection | DVD | (02/05/2006) from £47.75  |  Saving you £12.24 (20.40%)  |  RRP £59.99

    Various Composers: La Scala Collection - 11 Operas

  • Lost Voyage Lost Voyage | DVD | (07/04/2008) from £3.98  |  Saving you £1.03 (17.20%)  |  RRP £5.99

  • Berg: Lulu - Glyndebourne Festival Opera [1996] Berg: Lulu - Glyndebourne Festival Opera | DVD | (23/02/2004) from £10.65  |  Saving you £7.34 (40.80%)  |  RRP £17.99

    Alban Berg's second and last opera Lulu is one of the monuments of modernism, constructed around serial technique and containing scenes conceived of as Sonata-form, Suite and so on. The bliss of Andrew Davis's conducting in this classic Glyndebourne production is that we forget all of this--Davis doesn't gloss over the music's intellectual content, but that's not what we think about as we watch and listen. Part of the production's strength is the prodigious performance by Christine Schafer as Lulu--for once we believe in the character's sexual energy and power; and Schafer makes her real enough as a person that we largely forget the work's intrinsic misogyny. The rest of the cast are admirable too: Norman Bailey brings something perversely sweet to the disreputable painter Schigolch; Kathryn Harries makes the dying words of Lulu's lesbian lover Geschwitz one of the work's lyric high points; David Kuebler is equally powerful as Alwa. The final duet between Lulu and her destroyer Jack the Ripper is one of Wolfgang Schone's great moments, but he is equally good as Dr Schon, the man Lulu marries and kills. This is a performance of energy and beauty, matched by a simple but effective production. On the DVD Lulu on disc is presented in disappointingly in NTSC format with a 4:3 picture ratio. Fortunately, the Dolby 2.0 digital sound is ideal for the fine detail of this complex score and these nuanced performances. There are subtitles in English, French, German, Spanish and Japanese. --Roz Kaveney

  • Puccini: Tosca -- 2002 Film Version Puccini: Tosca -- 2002 Film Version | DVD | (23/06/2003) from £4.99  |  Saving you £10.15 (40.60%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Benoit Jacquot's filmed Tosca treads a fine line between operatic staginess and cinematic contrivance. As per the libretto, each act takes place in a single setting, but with the singers here miming to a pre-recorded soundtrack. Jacquot freely reminds us of the conceit with cutaways to the recording session itself--revealing conductor, orchestra and soloists at work--thus a bridge is made between the on-screen action and the music-making itself, and the inherent duality of any opera production is laid refreshingly bare. The same cannot be said for the director's decision to interpolate spoken dialogue over the music in key places--a distraction not an enhancement. Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna are glamorous and attractive enough to make the most of their Hollywood-style close-ups; their singing easily bears similar close scrutiny--as anyone who owns the CD soundtrack album will surely already know. If Alagna lacks a little power as Cavaradossi on record, his charismatic screen presence happily compensates; Gheorghiu is both vocally and physically almost ideal as Tosca. Ruggero Raimondi's Scarpia completes an outstanding trio, and in the pit (or, rather, in the studio) conductor Antonio Pappano handles the drama of Puccini's score without missing a single nuance. Both musically and visually, then, this is a Tosca to treasure. On the DVD: Tosca on disc looks vibrant in this warm, widescreen picture accompanied by a DTS 5.1 soundtrack. Three filmed interviews--with Gheorghiu, Pappano and Jacquot--provide some insight into the making of this production. --Mark Walker

  • Samson Et Dalila - Saint-Saens Samson Et Dalila - Saint-Saens | DVD | (09/08/2004) from £16.99  |  Saving you £0.00 (0.00%)  |  RRP £16.99

    A production of the Saint-Saens opera performed by the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus. Conducted by the esteemed James Levine.

  • Monteverdi - Pierre Audi's Monteverdi Cycle Box Set Monteverdi - Pierre Audi's Monteverdi Cycle Box Set | DVD | (29/01/2007) from £17.98  |  Saving you £52.01 (74.30%)  |  RRP £69.99

    Opus Arte is proud to present Pierre Audi's profound and refined productions of Monteverdi's opera masterpieces from the Amsterdam Muziektheater as a complete 9.5 hours box set, which explores the depths of human emotions in compelling music drama. The brilliant cast of the beautifully styled, evocative L'Orfeo, under the sophisticated musical direction of Stephen Stubbs, includes John Mark Ainsley, Michael Chance and David Cordier. II ritorno d' Ulisse in patria features Anthony Rolfe Johnson and Graciela in patria features Anthony Rolfe Johnson and Graciela Araya, both commanding and very moving under Glen Wilson's transparent and inspired musical direction. In L'incoroazione di Poppea Christophe Roussel and the musicians of his Les Talens Lyriques lead an all-star cast, including Brigitte Balleys, Cynthia Haymon, Claron McFadden and Dominique Visse, together reaching great heights in a highly evocative production. As a bonus disc, this box set includes the previously unreleased II combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, starring Lorna Anderson and Maarten Koningsberger, with the ASKO Ensemble boldly led by David Porcelijn.Never before have these timeless Monteverdi masterworks been presented with such consistent and inspired vision, and the results is an astonishing theatrical experience. An essential for any serious opera collector's library!

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