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Opera

  • Mozart: Don Giovanni -- Vienna/Furtwangler [1955] Mozart: Don Giovanni -- Vienna/Furtwangler | DVD | (08/10/2004) from £13.99  |  Saving you £0.00 (0.00%)  |  RRP £13.99

    The incomparable Cesare Siepi stars in this legendary Salzburg production of Mozart's masterpiece. Wilhelm Furtwangler conducts the internationally renowned Vienna Philharmonic in what has become one of the definitive productions of a classic opera.

  • Bizet - Carmen (Levine, Metropolitan Opera) Bizet - Carmen (Levine, Metropolitan Opera) | DVD | (20/11/2000) from £13.99  |  Saving you £0.00 (0.00%)  |  RRP £13.99

    George Bizet's opera 'Carmen' performed by the Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra. Conducted by James Levine.

  • I Now Pronounce You Vince and Ralph I Now Pronounce You Vince and Ralph | DVD | (31/12/2007) from £1.79  |  Saving you £1.29 (18.50%)  |  RRP £6.99

    I Now Pronounce You Ralph And Vince

  • Mister Johnson Mister Johnson | DVD | (05/06/2008) from £6.15  |  Saving you £-2.16 (-54.10%)  |  RRP £3.99

    In 1923 British Colonial Nigeria, Mister Johnson (Maynard Eziashi) is an oddity -- an educated black man who doesn't really fit in with either the natives or the British boss s. He is secretary to the local British magistrate (Pierce Brosnan) and considers himself an English Gentleman, though he has never been to England. He is always scheming and plotting, trying to get ahead, which lands him in a lot of hot water with both his own people and his Colonial Masters. This tragically moving drama is brought to life by Maynard Eziashi s excellent performance as Mister Johnson and Pierce Brosnan strong portrayal of the typical British Colonial Official whose mission to build a road takes over both of their lives.

  • Ponchielli: La Gioconda Ponchielli: La Gioconda | DVD | (05/11/2001) from £N/A  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £24.99

    The Vienna State Opera's 1986 production of La Gioconda, Amilcare Ponchielli's only lasting success, was an increasingly rare event. The story--based on a long forgotten Victor Hugo drama--is an emotional roller coaster of high passion and self-sacrifice, but has fallen out of favour with the major international opera companies; instead, Ponchielli's contemporary Verdi and one-time pupil Puccini are today's guaranteed crowd-pullers. This is a shame. Ponchielli's score might be sumptuous to the point of occasional over-ripeness but it contains some marvellous arias, not least Enzo's "Cielo e mar". And whenever La Gioconda herself is on stage, it's hard not become enthralled by the richness of her suffering as painted by Ponchielli's lush, explosive music. Here is a woman who is given every opportunity to ensure the removal of her rival (Laura) for Enzo's affections, but who always does the decent thing, ultimately leaving herself with a stark choice between suicide and the repulsive paws of the evil Barnaba who has pursued her since Act I. As La Gioconda, Hungarian soprano Eva Marton is utterly compelling. It's a role that places extraordinary emotional demands on the singer (Callas, not surprisingly, had a field day with it). Marton maintains total credibility. In voice, she is well matched by Placido Domingo's Enzo, who is at the virile peak of his vocal powers, rather suggesting a strength that the suggestible Enzo doesn't really possess. But perhaps the strongest aspect of Ponchielli's opera is the way in which the vocal jewels are distributed throughout the cast. Ludmilla Schemtschuk is an elegant Laura and Margarita Lilowa as La Gioconda's blind mother, La Cieca, sings an unforgettable "Voce di donna o d'angelo". And the ballet within the opera, the "Dance of the Hours", assumes its rightful place as a gleaming component of the whole work. On the DVD: Originally filmed for television, this La Gioconda is presented in PCM Stereo with 4:3 picture format, neither of which do the overall quality any favours. The sound is uneven; when the singers turn upstage it is sometimes impossible to hear what they are singing and the orchestra, conducted by Adam Fischer, sounds dull. The colours are muted. And while the booklet provides the customary comprehensive notes we have come to expect from Arthaus products, it is surprising that the cover photograph is not of the magnificent Eva Marton in the title role.--Piers Ford

  • Rosenkavalier - Strauss [1979] Rosenkavalier - Strauss | DVD | (15/08/2005) from £14.99  |  Saving you £0.00 (0.00%)  |  RRP £14.99

    Comedy for music in three acts.

  • The Opera Gala - Live From Baden-Baden The Opera Gala - Live From Baden-Baden | DVD | (22/10/2007) from £14.21  |  Saving you £2.78 (16.40%)  |  RRP £16.99

    The new faces of opera present opera favourites in a glamorous live concert recording: Anna Netrebko El'na Garan''a Ram''n Vargas and the highly acclaimed young French baritone Ludovic T''zier sing a wide range of Italian and French opera arias. This recording features highlights from three gala concerts (28 & 31 July 3 August 2007) at Baden-Baden's Festspielhaus - surely the hottest event of the summer!

  • Donizetti: L'Elisir D'Amore (The Elixir of Love) Donizetti: L'Elisir D'Amore (The Elixir of Love) | DVD | (11/03/2002) from £15.39  |  Saving you £0.60 (3.80%)  |  RRP £15.99

    It's hard to think of a couple better suited to play the romantic leads in Donizetti's comedy L'Elisir d'amore than husband-and-wife team Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu. Both are charming on stage, and both have voices to die for: Gheorghiu's dark liquid tones are particularly spine-tingling, and her coloratura abilities awe-inspiring, and though Alagna has mainly concentrated on the more spinto (powerful) roles of the tenor repertoire, in 1996 when this live production was recorded his voice was just a little fresher and lighter and thus perfect for the bel canto gracefulness of Donizetti's writing. His performance of "Una furtiva lagrima", for example, is meltingly sung and free from all temptation to overplay the high notes. Frank Dunlop's 1920s-set production doesn't quite produce the belly laughs some stagings manage (in Dulcamara's patter song, for example), but has a certain small-town wistful charm nonetheless. The orchestral accompaniment under Donizetti expert Evelino Pidò is spot on, and never falls into the banal "oom-pah" trap that such simple writing can often lead to. Overall, it's a production of great charm. On the DVD: L'Elisir d'amore comes to disc with a 52-minute film on the history of the opera and its recording, with contributions from Alagna and Gheorghiu, and subtitles in English, French, German, Spanish and Chinese. The Lyon opera house is particularly well set up for video recording, and Brian Large does a sophisticated job of capturing a live performance: it's hard to believe at some points that the cameras aren't actually on stage in the middle of the action. Just occasionally this leads to the singers not knowing where to look and seeming a trifle lost, but generally the performances work superbly well on the small screen. --Warwick Thomson

  • Verdi - La Traviata [2007] Verdi - La Traviata | DVD | (12/11/2007) from £11.46  |  Saving you £2.21 (13.00%)  |  RRP £16.99

    A lavish period production of Verdi's best -loved opera featuring two of today's most celebrated stars - American soprano Renee Fleming and Mexican tenor Rolando Villazon. The tragic love-story of the courtesan Violetts and her young admirer Alfredo Germont is set to some of the most popular in all opera, including the irresistible Brindisi (Drinking Song) and Violetta's thrilling Act One finale Sempre Libera. For this performance, filmed live in Los Angeles, the role of Alfredo's father is sung by the great Verdi baritone Renato Bruson.

  • Peter Grimes - Benjamin Britten [1994] Peter Grimes - Benjamin Britten | DVD | (25/03/2003) from £17.83  |  Saving you £7.16 (28.70%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Benjamin Britten's dour masterpiece Peter Grimes has been well-served in video recordings, yet this stark, intense production may become the top choice for most viewers. One of its major attractions is outstanding camerawork, under the direction of Barrie Gavin, powerfully reinforcing the shifting moods created by the music. The photography is notable in frequent close-ups, particularly those that focus on the ravaged, vulnerable and intensely expressive face of Philip Langridge in the title role. His interpretation is strikingly different from that of his chief video rival, Jon Vickers, who presents a more burly characterisation. The ambiguities in the role of Grimes make it possible to emphasise either strength or vulnerability in this story of an alienated fisherman, who stands virtually alone against a small (and small-minded society), vast forces of nature and a run of bad luck. His young apprentice has died (possibly because of his neglect or brutality); he is legally acquitted but found guilty by his neighbours and forbidden to take another boy as apprentice. He ignores that warning, the second boy dies accidentally, and he commits suicide under intense public pressure. Langridge gives a striking account of the role's psychological depth and complexity, aided by a well-chosen and directed cast. James Atherton conducts expertly. The chorus and orchestra are first-class, and the famous sea interludes, which have found a secure place in the concert repertoire, are visually enhanced by views of the ocean and shoreline. --Joe McLellan

  • Gaetano Donizetti - La Fille du régiment / Dessay, Florez, Palmer, Corbelli, French, Campanella, Pelly (Royal Opera House 2007) [2008] Gaetano Donizetti - La Fille du régiment / Dessay, Florez, Palmer, Corbelli, French, Campanella, Pelly (Royal Opera House 2007) | DVD | (21/04/2008) from £6.38  |  Saving you £2.00 (14.30%)  |  RRP £13.99

    Laurent Pelly staged this new production and how the singers were perfectly cast. They gave Donizetti's opera a new life at the Royal Opera House

  • Boris Godunov - Mussorgsky [1992] Boris Godunov - Mussorgsky | DVD | (05/08/2002) from £14.99  |  Saving you £0.00 (0.00%)  |  RRP £14.99

    The legendary Russian film director Andrei Tarkovsky helmed his one and only opera in 1983 with this famed production of Mussorgsky's 'Boris Godunov'. Staged at London's famed Royal Opera House the staging features Robert Lloyd giving a masterful performance in the title role. Conductor Valery Gergiev known primarily for his fine work leading St. Petersburg's Kirov Opera takes the baton.

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

  • Les Contes D'Hoffmann [2002] Les Contes D'Hoffmann | DVD | (31/05/2004) from £24.15  |  Saving you £5.84 (19.50%)  |  RRP £29.99

    Hoffmann a poet and composer is in love with the prima donna Stella. As the opera begins she is appearing in her most famous role: Donna Anna in Mozart's Don Giovanni. Hoffmann's Muse declares that she will win back the artist and protect him from any further amorous obsessions. In order to do so she will assume the identity of Hoffmann's friend Nicklausse.Councillor Lindorf also desires the diva Stella and he bribes her servant Andres into giving him a letter addressed to Hoffmann which contains the key to her dressing room. As the curtain falls on Act I of Don Giovanni Luther and his waiters hurriedly prepare for the arrival of Hoffmann and his friends.Hoffmann is in an agitated state of mind but is soon persuaded to sing the ballad of Kleinzack. While doing so he is distracted and recalls his first love. His friends bring him back to reality and he finishes the song. Suddenly Hoffmann sees Lindorf and a heated argument develops between them. Hoffmann reveals that Lindorf has always brought him bad luck. When three of the poet's friends boast about their mistresses Hoffmann declares that Stella embodies three types of woman: the young girl the artist and the courtesan. Hoffman asks his friends if they would like to hear about three of his past loves. Despite Luther's warning that the curtain is about to rise on Act II of Don Giovanni the crowd fill their glasses and prepare to listen to Hoffmann's tales.

  • Powder Her Face [1999] Powder Her Face | DVD | (12/12/2005) from £7.82  |  Saving you £12.17 (60.90%)  |  RRP £19.99

    A performance of Thomas Ades first opera Powder Her Face. The story follows the Duchess of Argyll as she looks back at her life. Ades' brilliant score incorporates skewed imitations of the popular music of her prime: tangos tea dances and Cole Porteresque songs. The fifteen strong orchestra consists of clarinets saxophones brass strings accordion and percussion an emsemble similar to the dance bands of yesteryear. Adapted and filmed specially for television in stu

  • Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) -- Paris/Gardiner Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) -- Paris/Gardiner | DVD | (15/10/2001) from £8.99  |  Saving you £1.93 (11.40%)  |  RRP £16.99

    It is an oft-repeated saw, about life in the heavenly spheres, that the angels revere Bach but listen to Mozart. If they have DVD players, you can bet theyre now watching this stunning production of Le Nozze di Figaro ("The Marriage of Figaro"), which comes about as close to Mozartian perfection as one could possibly hope to get. The faultlessly cast youthful performers bubble with infectious energy. Alison Hagley is a sprightly Susanna with a voice as clear as a bell, and brilliantly matched by a 28-year-old Bryn Terfel both acting and sounding in fine form. Hillevi Martinpelto demonstrates why she is one of the worlds favourite Mozart singers with her melting tones, richly coloured voice and generous stage presence, and Rodney Gilfry gives a muscular, wonderfully controlled performance as the Count. Olivier Milles direction mixes knockabout comedy and restrained pathos with fluid inventiveness, and there are even--heavens, can this really be an opera?--quite a few belly laughs, and deliciously amusing details. (Susannas guitar playing during Cherubinos "Voi che sapete" is a comic delight, and Figaros hidden sneers at Count Almaviva are hilarious.) John Eliot Gardiner draws exquisite playing from his authentic-instrument orchestra and employs tempos that are ideal. Add to that gorgeous 18th-century costumes and effective sets--it doesnt get much better than this. On the DVD: the production is beautifully realised for home viewing, with clear sound (the sets are simple wooden panels, which continually and flatteringly push the sound to the front) and great camera direction. There are subtitles in Italian, English, French, German, Spanish and Chinese but no other special features.--Warwick Thompson

  • Journey to 10 000 Bc Journey to 10 000 Bc | DVD | (14/07/2008) from £7.98  |  Saving you £2.01 (20.10%)  |  RRP £9.99

    It is 10 000 BC it is a time of fantastic change on earth early humans are just beginning to inhabit North America and great climate fluctuations swing the world back into a mini-Ice Age. Creatures such as the saber tooth cat the giant ground sloth the camel and the woolly mammoth are suddenly becoming extinct. What is causing these sudden changes...over hunting...a mysterious disease...a meteor? What species cope and adapt? How does man survive? In this fascinating and ground breaking programme we will travel with scientists to major mammoth and early human archaeological sites in North America and uncover fossilized bones ancient homes and weapons of stone. Explore and uncover the secrets behind the lives of our ancestors. Using state of the art special effects the world of the saber tooth cats woolly mammoths and prehistoric man is brought to life in stunning realism. Be prepared to...Journey to 10 000 BC!

  • 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

  • Aida [2003] Aida | DVD | (21/05/2004) from £5.45  |  Saving you £24.54 (81.80%)  |  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.

  • 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.

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