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Opera

  • England Cricket's Greatest Matches England Cricket's Greatest Matches | DVD | (17/03/2008) from £7.93  |  Saving you £7.06 (47.10%)  |  RRP £14.99

    The ultimate collection of England's most memorable test perfomances from over 35 years of cricket

  • Madama Butterfly - Puccini [1974] Madama Butterfly - Puccini | DVD | (09/05/2005) from £13.81  |  Saving you £0.18 (1.30%)  |  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

  • 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.

  • The Complete Drawing Course for Beginners - Part 1 The Complete Drawing Course for Beginners - Part 1 | DVD | (07/04/2008) from £4.79  |  Saving you £-0.80 (-20.10%)  |  RRP £3.99

    PART 1 - PERSPECTIVE You will be surprised at how much you learn in the very first exercise about perspective. Almost as soon as you switch your video on, you will be able to draw three-dimensions on a two dimensional surface. You will learn the principles of eye level and vanishing points, and you will soon be able to draw streets and objects, including those with elipses such as a wine glass. Be amazed as you watch your drawings come to life!

  • Verdi: Simon Boccanegra - Abbado [2002] Verdi: Simon Boccanegra - Abbado | DVD | (22/12/2003) from £20.41  |  Saving you £4.58 (18.30%)  |  RRP £24.99

    A performance of Verdi's Simon Boccanegra which tells the story of the struggle for power in 14th Century Genoa. Claudio Abbado conducts.

  • Andrea Bocelli - Sacred Arias [1999] Andrea Bocelli - Sacred Arias | DVD | (03/12/2007) from £9.76  |  Saving you £5.23 (34.90%)  |  RRP £14.99

    In reflecting on this DVD of sacred arias it is significant that Andrea Bocelli refers to the dawn of 'a new millennium' and it is appropriate that this concert was taped in Rome. In no other city of the world did the millennium have such immediate resonance and what better place for the recording of a universal jubilee celebrating the two-thousandth anniversary of the birth of Christ?

  • Berlioz: La Damnation de Faust [1999] Berlioz: La Damnation de Faust | DVD | (15/05/2000) from £20.05  |  Saving you £4.94 (19.80%)  |  RRP £24.99

    This imaginative staging of Berlioz's dramatic symphony for chorus, soloists and orchestra relies heavily on the moving of massed choirs across a large stage. It has vivid lighting effects--rather too many of them using strobes--and monolithic multi-purpose sets, in particular a revolving glass drum which functions both as cinema screen and rostrum for singers, so that the final ride to Hell, for example, is sung by Mephistopheles and Faust above a cavalcade of projected horses, like the inside of a zoetrope. The three main soloists have voices on a scale that can compete with these flashy production values--White and Kasarova, in particular, sing at a level of intensity that would swamp anything less; the climactic seduction trio has rarely been sung so well or with such an overpoweringly polymorphous eroticism. Cambreling marshals his forces effectively, giving full rein to the work's showstoppers like the "Hungarian March" but not neglecting the subtler less kinetic Gluckian side of Berlioz's vocal writing. The DVD has subtitles in English, German and Dutch, and menus in those languages, as well as French, Italian, Spanish and Swedish. --Roz Kaveney

  • Puccini: Madama Butterfly -- Verona/Arena [1983] Puccini: Madama Butterfly -- Verona/Arena | DVD | (11/06/2001) from £11.31  |  Saving you £6.68 (37.10%)  |  RRP £17.99

    This traditional production of Puccini's enduringly popular opera Madama Butterfly should give much pleasure. It was recorded at the open-air theatre in Verona in 1983 with the local orchestra and chorus under the aptly named Maurizio Arena. The video direction is by an expert in the field, Brian Large, who brings home all the intimate moments of Puccini's drama from an open set that ascends and sprawls across rows of seating. His camera draws the viewer into scenes that the audience cannot witness at their distance--most movingly when Sharpless, the American consul in Nagasaki, gives up his attempt to read Pinkerton's letter to Butterfly saying he has no intention of seeing her again (set to that magical melody which will recur as the humming chorus). It's of little matter that there are no operatic stars in the cast for this ensemble consists of experienced singers who fill the night air with lungs to match Puccini's heaviest demands. The audience, many of them evidently on holiday, greet the show-stopping moments with waves of applause. Their enthusiasm may drown a few bars of orchestral continuity but the orchestra itself is always at the service of the singers on a soundtrack that captures the atmosphere of an open-air performance with astonishing verisimilitude. Butterfly, sung by the statuesque Raina Kabaivanska, may not see Cio-Cio San (to give "butterfly" her real name) 16 years again and some of her arm movements are overdone but her big number "Un bel di" and its reprise when she's holding her child by Pinkerton are touchingly conveyed. Neither does she overplay the final scene where she prepares to follow her father's example using the Mikado's dagger to commit suicide--a moment that sends a shiver down the spine in its economy. Nazzareno Antinori as her Pinkerton, with his matinée idol looks and resonant voice, complements her well; their singing of Puccini's spacious love duet at the close of Act One goes down a treat with the crowd. --Adrian Edwards

  • Donizetti: La Fille du Regiment -- La Scala [1996] Donizetti: La Fille du Regiment -- La Scala | DVD | (24/03/2003) from £16.25  |  Saving you £3.96 (15.80%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Libretto by J.H. Vernoy de Saint-Georges / Jean F.A. Bayard Comical Opera in two acts recorded at the Teatro alla Scala MilanOrchestra and Chorus of the Teatro alla ScalaConducted by Donato Renzetti

  • 100 Premiership Goals - Vol. 1 100 Premiership Goals - Vol. 1 | DVD | (26/11/2007) from £1.63  |  Saving you £2.36 (59.10%)  |  RRP £3.99

    100 Premiership Goals 15th Anniversary Edition Vol 1

  • Patience - Gilbert And Sullivan Patience - Gilbert And Sullivan | DVD | (29/05/2006) from £11.99  |  Saving you £3.00 (20.00%)  |  RRP £14.99

    Gilvert And Sullivan: Patience (Stanhope Elizabethan Philharmonic Orchestra)

  • The Workshop The Workshop | DVD | (21/07/2008) from £4.74  |  Saving you £15.25 (76.30%)  |  RRP £19.99

    Get In Touch With Yourself... Like so many before Jamie Morgan asked the question 'What's it all about?' His spiritual search took him to California to a workshop run by a white-haired spiritual 'guru' promoting sexual adventure and the possible existence of aliens. Jamie shed his clothes inhibitions and defences on an emotional amusing and provocative roller coaster ride towards enlightenment.

  • Exploring The Northumberland Coast Path [2007] Exploring The Northumberland Coast Path | DVD | (17/12/2007) from £15.09  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £16.99

    Join Keith Hartnell as he explores the six stages of this beautiful coastal path exploring the many fascinating places of interest and meeting some of the characters that make this part of the North East so special. Stunning widescreen digital film makes this DVD the perfect souvenir for anybody interested in Northumberland. The Northumberland Coast is best known for its sweeping beaches rolling dunes high rocky cliffs and isolated islands. Amidst this striking landscape is the evidence of an area steeped in history covering 7000 years of human activity. A host of conservation sites including two National Nature Reserves testify to the great variety of wildlife and habitats also found on the coast. The special qualities of this coastal landscape led to it being designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty.

  • Britten: Owen Wingrave - Berlin/Nagano Britten: Owen Wingrave - Berlin/Nagano | DVD | (22/12/2003) from £20.05  |  Saving you £4.94 (19.80%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Owen Wingrave is perhaps Britten's most radical opera, both politically and artistically. Originally written for television, and here presented in a 2001 Channel 4 version, the 1970 score is based, like The Turn of the Screw, on a Henry James ghost story. Britten, though, is more in tune than James with the pacifism into which Owen revolts from a long family tradition of military service. The fluid, impassioned, often declamatory music given Owen makes him one of the most sympathetic of Britten's outsider protagonists, though he has a streak of self-centredness, which stops him being an implausible paragon. Gerald Finley is quite admirable in the part, conveying fully the sense that by losing and dying at the hands of family ghosts, Owen demonstrates the integrity which is central to his character. The other parts are admirably filled here, notably Martyn Hill as Owen's harsh General grandfather, Josephine Barstow as his aunt and Charlotte Hellekant as the fiancee who unknowingly sends him to his death. They and Elizabeth Gale are quite extraordinary in the first act quartet of recrimination and condemnation. This excellent performance compares vocally with the original on almost entirely equal terms--modern technology means that the ghost scenes are far more dramatic and plausible. Kent Nagano and the Berlin Orchestra do full subtle justice to the chamber orchestra sonorities of one of Britten's most interesting scores, never overstressing its complex musical architecture at the expense of the drama. On the DVD: Owen Wingrave is presented in a widescreen 16:9 visual aspect ratio with PCM stereo sound. It is accompanied by The Tender Heart, a documentary about Britten's career full of personal reminiscences by his surviving friends, colleagues and family, that concentrates on Peter Grimes, the War Requiem and Death in Venice, the three popular masterpieces of his early, middle and late career. It has menus and subtitles in English, French, German and Spanish. --Roz Kaveney

  • Billy Budd Billy Budd | DVD | (01/04/2004) from £19.59  |  Saving you £4.94 (19.80%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Benjamin Britten's opera 'Billy Budd' in two acts tells of the sadism and injustice abroad a British man-of-war.

  • Verdi - Otello [1992] Verdi - Otello | DVD | (31/03/2008) from £11.99  |  Saving you £3.00 (20.00%)  |  RRP £14.99

    Giuseppe Verdi - The Royal Opera Otello - At the Royal Opera House.

  • Prokofiev - Cinderella Prokofiev - Cinderella | DVD | (19/05/2008) from £18.99  |  Saving you £6.00 (24.00%)  |  RRP £24.99

  • Verdi: Aida -- Metropolitan Opera Verdi: Aida -- Metropolitan Opera | DVD | (20/11/2000) from £13.34  |  Saving you £3.65 (21.50%)  |  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.

  • Tosca's Kiss Tosca's Kiss | DVD | (06/09/2004) from £14.59  |  Saving you £-0.60 (-4.30%)  |  RRP £13.99

    Daniel Schmid's film set in a home for retired opera singers in Casa Di Riposa in Milan. Characters are seen re-enacting their greatest moments in a film which centres on the aging process and inspirational music

  • Lehar - The Land Of Smiles Lehar - The Land Of Smiles | DVD | (01/01/2005) from £25.21  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Lehar: Das Land Des Lachelns (Bibl Habermann)

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