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Opera

  • Bizet: Carmen -- film version [1984] Bizet: Carmen -- film version | DVD | (13/03/2000) from £8.05  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £19.99

    This movie version of Bizet's popular opera Carmen was filmed on location, conveying a kind of atmosphere, a sense of space, movement, and presence that's hard to achieve in a staged performance. It takes the action out of doors for many scenes, with the opening titles superimposed on the bloody conclusion of a bullfight. Elsewhere the changing of the guard, the crowd scenes, the dance number that opens Act 2, and the panoramic scenery of the smugglers' mountain hideout all benefit from the freedom granted by movie cameras. It's an exciting Carmen, too, with a young-looking Placido Domingo in top form for a role he has sung hundreds of times. For Julia Migenes, though, it was her first performance in a role she would have trouble performing in an opera house. Her voice does not fit easily into Carmen's range, and she spent months training it, very successfully, before singing the role in a recording studio where the soundtrack was taped before the film was shot. Casting her in the role was a gamble, but it worked; she is a convincing actress. Unlike most opera-house performances this movie version uses the opera's original opera comique form with some spoken dialogue rather than recitatives.--Joe McLellan, Amazon.com

  • Offenbach: Des Contes D'Hoffmann [1993] Offenbach: Des Contes D'Hoffmann | DVD | (25/04/2001) from £11.22  |  Saving you £4.84 (19.40%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Unfortunately the qualities that make Jacques Offenbach's operetta The Tales of Hoffmann an irresistible melodic profusion of wit, dash and unfailing high spirits are only in evidence in the playing of the Lyon Opera Orchestra under Kent Nagano: operetta, more than its serious cousin, continues to be fair game for the whims of producers and designers. In this case an excellent cast including Daniel Galvez-Vallejo as Hoffmann, Natalie Dessay as Olympia, Brigitte Balley as Nicklausse and Isabelle Vernet as Giulietta, as well as Gabriel Bacquier who sings three roles, are obliged to perform Offenbach's operetta in a lunatic asylum designed by Philippe Starck as a three-dimensional grey set, topped with barbed wire. The production by Louis Erlo adapts and cuts scenes to fit this concept, so the tavern scene where Hoffmann sings his celebrated number "The Legend of Kleinzack" disappears, as do the chorus who are banished to the wings. In this environment there's no room for charm or even a kind of mad-hatter behaviour. The cast are reduced to stereotypes and of necessity singularly unlovable ones. What a wasted opportunity. The sound is excellent as it is on two fillers: a short film of Penderecki conducting his choral work, The Seven Gates to Jerusalem from the Midem festival at Cannes and a trailer for a Lyon Opera House production of Berlioz's Damnation of Faust. --Adrian Edwards

  • Mozart: The Mozart Glyndebourne Collection [1973] Mozart: The Mozart Glyndebourne Collection | DVD | (28/11/2005) from £45.39  |  Saving you £14.60 (24.30%)  |  RRP £59.99

    Six Mozart features: 'Cosi Fan Tutte (1975)' 'Don Giovani (1977)' 'Die Entfuhrung Aus Dem Serail (1980)' 'Idomeneo (1974)' 'Le Nozze Di Figaro (1973)' and 'Die Zauberflote (1978)'.

  • Verdi: Il Trovatore Verdi: Il Trovatore | DVD | (20/11/2000) from £13.75  |  Saving you £1.50 (8.80%)  |  RRP £16.99

    A performance of Verdi's opera 'Il Trovatore' by the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus; conducted by James Levine. Singers include: Eva Marton Luciano Pavarotti Sherril Milnes and Dolora Zajick; directed by Brian Large.

  • The Three Tenors - In Concert 1994 The Three Tenors - In Concert 1994 | DVD | (29/06/1998) from £11.25  |  Saving you £6.70 (37.20%)  |  RRP £17.99

    Featuring Jose Carreras Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti in concert on July 16th 1994 at the Dodger Stadium Los Angeles California. Zubin Mehta conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the Los Angeles Music Center Opera Chorus. Tracklist includes: 'America' (West Side Story) 'O Sole Mio' (Di Capua) 'Brindisi' (La Traviata) and 'Tribute To Hollywood' (Medley).

  • Otello - Verdi Otello - Verdi | DVD | (12/04/2004) from £11.99  |  Saving you £5.00 (29.40%)  |  RRP £16.99

    Filmed at the Metropolitan Opera House in 1995 this rendition of Verdi's 'Otello' is beautifully crafted by leading stars Placido Domingo and Renee Fleming. This was the first major success for Fleming at the Met and as this release illustrates she tackled the character of Desdemona wonderfully.

  • Puccini: La Fanciulla del West Puccini: La Fanciulla del West | DVD | (22/09/2003) from £12.69  |  Saving you £5.30 (29.50%)  |  RRP £17.99

    Piero Faggioni's highly-acclaimed Royal Opera production of 'The Girl of the Golden West' filmed in 1983 stars the incomparable Placido Domingo and American soprano Carol Neblett. It is considered by many the definitive production of this work and hasn't been available on video for 10 years. Faggioni's amazing production brings the opera vividly to life. The realistic timbered sets are by Oscar-winning designer Ken Adam whose film work includes ""Dr Strangelove"" and a number of Ja

  • Verdi: Aida -- San Francisco/Navarro [1981] Verdi: Aida -- San Francisco/Navarro | DVD | (11/05/1998) from £12.69  |  Saving you £5.30 (29.50%)  |  RRP £17.99

    This spectacular 1981 San Francisco production of Aida, directed by Sam Wanamaker, boasts production values more commonly associated with Hollywood to portray scenes from the time of the Pharaohs, notably a striking interior for the temple of Vulcan from where Radames is sent forth on his mission to conquer the invading Ethiopian army. With Margaret Price in the title role and Luciano Pavarotti as Radames, there is much going for this version, both musically and visually. Price and Pavarotti are in superb voice throughout. Pavarotti sings his initial aria, "Celeste Aida", very much as a showpiece, ignoring Verdi's quadruple pianissimo ending for the very opposite, milking (dare one say it) the audience for a thunderous round of applause which he duly receives! Initial doubts about his commitment to the drama, however, are dispelled in Act 3 when he denies Amneris his hand and bids farewell to life entombed in the same temple from where he'd once been sent forth as conqueror. Margaret Price may not be a natural actress but her singing throughout, particularly in the concluding farewell with Pavarotti ("O terra, addio"), is very touching. Stefania Toczyska is a compelling Amneris and no more so than when she's offering Radames a lifeline at the start of the last act. With assured conducting from Garcia Navarro, this Aida is a very desirable acquisition. On the DVD Aida on disc has both subtitles and surtitles, depending on the picture image, in the main European languages. Brian Large's direction for video homes in on the salient points of the drama and also picks up on an uncomfortable looking extra or two in the "Grand March" where space on stage seems at a premium. The picture quality and sound are satisfactory.--Adrian Edwards

  • Die Fledermaus [1985] Die Fledermaus | DVD | (22/09/2003) from £11.25  |  Saving you £5.30 (29.50%)  |  RRP £17.99

    The operetta 'Die Fledermaus' is Johann Strauss' most brilliant and best-known stage work. It's a glittering comedy packed with Viennese music that has become a firm favourite in opera houses all over the world. A top international cast really have a ball in this highly-acclaimed 1983 New Years Eve performance from The Royal Opera Covent Garden in which Placido Domingo makes a very stylish British conducting debut. Kiri Te Kanawa stars with her celebrated performance as Rosalinde

  • A Midsummer Night's Dream - Glyndebourne Festival Opera [1981] A Midsummer Night's Dream - Glyndebourne Festival Opera | DVD | (02/08/2004) from £12.69  |  Saving you £5.30 (29.50%)  |  RRP £17.99

    Benjamin Britten's enchanting opera adapted from Shakespeare's most English play is just the thing for a summer evening at Glyndebourne. In Peter Hall's magical and highly-acclaimed production for Glyndebourne Festival Opera filmed in 1981 the wood literally comes alive a perfetc setting for the mystical world of lovers fairies and rustics. The gorgeous and imaginative sets costume and lighting designs are by John Bury. Ileana Cotrubas is a majestic Tytiana James Bowman is a

  • Madama Butterfly - Puccini [1974] Madama Butterfly - Puccini | DVD | (09/05/2005) from £11.26  |  Saving you £-1.50 (-10.70%)  |  RRP £13.99

    Of all Puccini's major operas, the intimate tragedy of Madama Butterfly is least in need of elaborate staging and might therefore benefit most from the close scrutiny of film. The story is domestic, the setting Spartan, the incidental characters kept to a minimum. This 1974 version, however, demonstrates that Butterfly still needs a healthy injection of proscenium arch melodrama. Director Jean-Pierre Ponelle's production strives for realism but remains unfortunately studio-bound, having neither the benefit of location filming nor the heightened reality of an opera stage. The exterior is a perpetually fog-shrouded heath of indeterminate locale; the interior is cramped and unadorned. The setting is just too prosaic to contain the epic emotions of grand opera. Thankfully, the cast is superb, headed by Placido Domingo's rakish Pinkerton and Mirella Freni's rubicund Butterfly. Their singing is incomparable, as is Herbert von Karajan's musical direction of the Vienna Phil. The singers mime to pre-recorded music, which is occasionally disconcerting since when film demands close-ups opera provides broad gestures. Musically, this Butterfly is impeccable. Visually it adds nothing that could not be seen to better effect in a stage version. On the DVD: Madama Butterfly is presented disappointingly on disc in a poor NTSC transfer full of distracting graininess that makes every scene, both inside and out, look like it takes place in an omnipresent drizzle. Sound is reasonable stereo and adequate 5.0 surround. There are subtitles in the major European languages as well as Chinese, and the booklet contains a background essay plus synopsis. --Mark Walker

  • Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg -- Australian Opera / Mackerras [1988] Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg -- Australian Opera / Mackerras | DVD | (20/02/2004) from £11.15  |  Saving you £8.76 (29.20%)  |  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

  • Ivan The Terrible - Prokofiev Ivan The Terrible - Prokofiev | DVD | (27/06/2005) from £3.19  |  Saving you £11.80 (78.70%)  |  RRP £14.99

    Ballet in Two ActsIn 1942 Sergey Prokofiev was commissioned by Sergey Eisenstein to write music for his film Ivan the Terrible. The score caught the attention of highly acclaimed choreographer Yuri Grigorovich who set out to make the material and music into a self-contained ballet. But it took until the 1970s for the idea of this ambitious project to be put into action with the help of Mikhail I. Tchulaki director of the Bolshoi who composed a ballet score for the new production on the basis of Eisenstein's musical film material. The score of Ivan the Terrible is a collage of no less than 377 fragments of the original film score but also of other works by Prokofiev.

  • Prokofiev - Cinderella Prokofiev - Cinderella | DVD | (19/05/2008) from £20.29  |  Saving you £4.70 (18.80%)  |  RRP £24.99

  • Francesca Da Rimini - Zandonai/Levine Francesca Da Rimini - Zandonai/Levine | DVD | (16/07/2007) from £15.49  |  Saving you £1.50 (8.80%)  |  RRP £16.99

    Over the centuries the story of Francesca da Rimini has inspired many Italian artists including verismo composer Riccardo Zandonai. A cast of three acclaimed singing actors - Renata Scotto Pl''cido Domingo and Cornell MacNeil - bring the medieval characters to life in this beautiful production filmed at the Metropolitan Opera in 1984 First performed in 1914 Francesca da Rimini is a prime example of the lush musical style of the late Romantic era superbly conducted here by James Levine.

  • Tristan Und Isolde - Wagner/Daniel Barenboim Tristan Und Isolde - Wagner/Daniel Barenboim | DVD | (16/07/2007) from £16.94  |  Saving you £3.37 (15.30%)  |  RRP £21.99

    Daniel Barenboim conducts Bayreuth's landmark 1983 production of Wagner's quintessential Romantic music-drama Tristan Und Isolde. The great Wagnerian singers Ren'' Kollo and Johanna Meier perform the title roles in Wagner's romantic masterpiece. Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's celebrated Bayreuth production is filmed on the Festspielhaus stage with six cameras and in digital sound to recreate the unique intensity of a live performance in studio quality. With its exceptional cast of singers - plus the thoughtful staging by Ponelle and the musical expertise of Daniel Barenboim - this DVD is one of the finest Tristan and Isolde productions ever

  • Verdi - La Traviata Verdi - La Traviata | DVD | (12/11/2007) from £13.29  |  Saving you £3.70 (21.80%)  |  RRP £16.99

    Acclaimed film and stage director Franco Zeffirelli spared no costs to reproduce the opulent setting of Violetta Val''ry''s happiness and downfall. The unparalleled musical quality of the production is guaranteed by some of the world''s most famous musicians: The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York conductor James Levine and singers Teresa Stratas and Placido Domingo. As Violetta soprano Teresa Stratas strikes the right balance between emotional grandeur and physical weakness. And with his meltingly lyrical voice and magnetic stage presence Placido Domingo embodies Alfredo Germont with a rarely seen passion.

  • Cavalleria Rusticana - Mascagni / Pagliacci - Leoncavallo [1983] Cavalleria Rusticana - Mascagni / Pagliacci - Leoncavallo | DVD | (09/05/2005) from £12.24  |  Saving you £-1.05 (-7.50%)  |  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.

  • The Merry Widow - Lehar The Merry Widow - Lehar | DVD | (23/06/2003) from £21.55  |  Saving you £3.44 (13.80%)  |  RRP £24.99

    A production of the Franz Lehar opera The Merry Widow. New dialogue was commissioned from the playwright Wendy Wasserstein.

  • Verdi: Aida -- Metropolitan Opera Verdi: Aida -- Metropolitan Opera | DVD | (20/11/2000) from £12.24  |  Saving you £1.50 (8.80%)  |  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.

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