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Opera

  • Mozart: Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) -- Metropolitan Opera/Levine Mozart: Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) -- Metropolitan Opera/Levine | DVD | (24/03/2003) from £8.99  |  Saving you £4.94 (29.10%)  |  RRP £16.99

    A performance of Mozart's 'The Magic Flute' by puppet theatre.

  • Runrig - Beat the Drum Drumnadrochit Runrig - Beat the Drum Drumnadrochit | DVD | (20/03/2008) from £13.69  |  Saving you £5.80 (25.20%)  |  RRP £22.99

  • Jon Vickers: Early Telecasts From Radio Canada - 1954-1956 Jon Vickers: Early Telecasts From Radio Canada - 1954-1956 | DVD | (17/10/2003) from £27.25  |  Saving you £-2.26 (-9.00%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Though Jon Vickers had a wide ranging repertory moving with stylistic ease from Monteverdi to Wagner to Britten he never took on such quintessentially Italian roles as Des Griux Cavaradossi or Manrico. Collected on this remarkable DVD however are scenes with Vickers in all three of these roles which he never performed on stage. They are taken from Radio-Canada's L'Heure du Concert a series of live TV broadcasts from Montreal studios in the 1950s. It was an exciting pioneering time for opera in Canada and a time of experimentation for Vickers. He tried on many operas during this time some of which he decided were too light for his voice - Cosi fan tutte Don Giovanni Rigoletto La Traviata. When it came to Manon Lescaut Vickers says I never thought I was a Puccini singer. He did have a yen to do Tosca but the right situation never arose. Of Il Travatore he says That really calls for a spinto-dramatic tenor which I never possessed. I felt it was not ideal for me.What we have here then is the only record of Vickers in the ardent music of Des Grieux and Cavarodossi and as Manrico in the final dramatic prison scenes. Although these roles never became a part of his repertory these performances offer a fascinating look at the beginnings of the unique dramatic and musical involvement that became the hallmark of the tenor's landmark portrayals.

  • Puccini: Madama Butterfly -- La Scala/Maazel [1986] Puccini: Madama Butterfly -- La Scala/Maazel | DVD | (31/10/2000) from £23.25  |  Saving you £1.74 (7.00%)  |  RRP £24.99

    This 1986 production of Madama Butterfly strives, with its Japanese director and designer, for authenticity in the Japanese setting, yet is somehow entirely Italian at the same time. Yasuko Hayashi's Cio-Cio-San is surprisingly tough, rejecting the arguments of her uncle and the marriage broker with more anger than usual, and her suicide is as much a moral statement of integrity as a sentimental gesture. Accordingly, Dvorsky's sexually magnetic Pinkerton is even less sympathetic--you can see what she sees in him, but he is arrogant and a user, except when he is being lyrical--and Zancanaro's Sharpless, the consul who expedites Pinkerton's betrayal of his wife but develops his own compassion for her, is all the more complex and interesting. The production has real charm as well as authenticity on its side; the staging of the love duet is impressive in its use of shadow and delicate light. Maazel's interpretation has a forceful energy that the recording impressively conveys. --Roz KaveneyOn the DVD: The DVD has scene selection, and subtitles in German, French and English; the menu adds Spanish.

  • Verdi: Un Ballo in Maschera -- Metropolitan Opera/Levine Verdi: Un Ballo in Maschera -- Metropolitan Opera/Levine | DVD | (09/09/2002) from £11.59  |  Saving you £5.40 (31.80%)  |  RRP £16.99

    A performance of Verdi's opera 'Un Ballo In Maschera' by the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra And Chorus; conducted by James Levine. Singers include: Luciano Pavarotti and Aprile Millo. Directed by Brian Large.

  • The Mikado The Mikado | DVD | (07/02/2005) from £7.92  |  Saving you £8.07 (50.50%)  |  RRP £15.99

    A lavish 1982 production of the Gilbert and Sullivan opera in which Nanki-Poo the son of the Mikado escaping a distasteful marriage arrives in the town of Titipu disguised as a musician...

  • Boris Godunov - Mussorgsky [1992] Boris Godunov - Mussorgsky | DVD | (05/08/2002) from £12.99  |  Saving you £-2.99 (-19.90%)  |  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.

  • Die Lustige Witwe - Lehar [2004] Die Lustige Witwe - Lehar | DVD | (30/05/2005) from £20.15  |  Saving you £4.84 (19.40%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Recorded Live from the Zurich Opera House 2004Based on the comedy L'Attache d'ambassade by Henri Meilhac.

  • Undercover Kids Undercover Kids | DVD | (07/04/2008) from £2.10  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £5.99

    Nicole and Nelson are not ordinary kids - they have psychic powers. With the help of the school boff George and his high-tech gadgets the twins embark on a mission to reveal who is vandalizing their school.

  • Peter Grimes Peter Grimes | DVD | (22/09/2003) from £11.29  |  Saving you £6.70 (37.20%)  |  RRP £17.99

    Benjamin Britten's powerful opera 'Peter Grimes' is considered to be one of the masterpieces of the 20th century. In this famous production by Elijah Moshinsky for The Royal Opera Canadian tenor Jon Vickers stars as the complex and misunderstood fisherman. The conductor is Sir Colin Davis who worked for several years with the cast of this production resulting in a masterly interweaving of characters in this gripping drama. ""One of the most riveting operatic impersonations o

  • Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen -- Metropolitan/Levine Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen -- Metropolitan/Levine | DVD | (14/10/2002) from £35.01  |  Saving you £10.98 (23.90%)  |  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

  • Rossini: La Cenerentola (Cinderella) -- Vienna/Chailly [1988] Rossini: La Cenerentola (Cinderella) -- Vienna/Chailly | DVD | (03/09/2001) from £9.24  |  Saving you £3.60 (14.40%)  |  RRP £24.99

    La Cenerentola is one of the few operas to have an important subtitle, "The Triumph of Virtue". This Salzburg production makes a point of its being a moral tale rather than a mere fairy tale like the version reflexively sung by Angelina in her "Cavatina": the defeat and forgiveness of the stepsisters and their greedy father is a settling of moral accounts. The production is also tremendous fun--partly because of gimmicks like the mechanical coach and horses that arrives on stage in the high wind of the Act Two storm--but mostly because of the endlessly energetic pulse of Riccardo Chailly's conducting of the Vienna Philharmonic. Anne Murray is an ideal Angelina, equally good at the heroine's witty intelligence and at the complexity of her emotional situation--loyal to the family that mistreats her. Francisco Araiza is an attractive Don Ramirez; the byplay between him and his servant Dandini (Gino Quilico)--in the duet "Zitto, zitto. Piano, piano", for example is for once genuinely amusing. Parts like Don Magnifico were the late Walter Berry's stock-in-trade--his occasionally menacing portrayal is far richer and more interesting than a mere buffoon. On the DVD: As usual with Arthaus Musik, an excellent production and performance is left to sink or swim without any detailed production notes either on the disc or in the leaflet. The sound is standard PCM stereo and the picture ratio 4:3. There are instructions in French, German, English and Spanish and subtitles in all of those languages plus Italian. --Roz Kaveney

  • R. Strauss: Die Frau Ohne Schatten -- Salzburg Festival/Solti [1992] R. Strauss: Die Frau Ohne Schatten -- Salzburg Festival/Solti | DVD | (09/09/2002) from £18.75  |  Saving you £3.24 (14.70%)  |  RRP £21.99

    A performance of Richard Strauss' opera 'Die Frau Ohne Schatten' performed at the Salzburg Festival in 1992.

  • Puccini: La Boheme -- Royal Opera House/Gardelli Puccini: La Boheme -- Royal Opera House/Gardelli | DVD | (21/08/2000) from £11.09  |  Saving you £6.90 (38.40%)  |  RRP £17.99

    This full-blooded 1982 performance of Puccini's most-loved opera demonstrates just how much drive and powerful emotion can make up for a certain lack of subtlety. Cotrubas' Mimi is entirely moving in both joy and death, while never quite feeling as thoroughly frail as some of her quieter rivals; stronger tenor voices than Neil Shicoff's have recorded the role, and yet he has a Romantic passion and a dignity that many of his rivals fail to bring to the role. That under-rated singer Gwynne Howell is especially moving in Colline's farewell to his cloak--one of those perfect little showcase sections Puccini sometimes gives to minor parts. Marilyn Zschau's Musetta is broad and comic and yet somehow includes the audience in the glorious joke that her sexuality is for her; when Thomas Allen sings, to her waltz theme, of youth that is not yet dead, his ardour transcends realism. Gardelli knew this score in his bones--the production bounces along from comedy to tears to eroticism to tragedy and neither cast nor orchestra miss a single one of Puccini's wonderful touches of emotional exploitation. --Roz Kaveney

  • R. Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier - Royal Opera House/Solti [1985] R. Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier - Royal Opera House/Solti | DVD | (23/02/2004) from £11.09  |  Saving you £6.90 (38.40%)  |  RRP £17.99

    Strauss' dazzling opera Der Rosenkavalier set in 1740's Vienna combines farce romance and a world of weary acknowledgement of getting older. It features some of the most gorgeous music ever written for the female voice.

  • La Clemenza Di Tito - Mozart La Clemenza Di Tito - Mozart | DVD | (03/01/2006) from £25.45  |  Saving you £4.54 (15.10%)  |  RRP £29.99

    Commissioned for the coronation of Leopold II in Prague Mozart's last opera is a deep humane reflection on relationships power and forgiveness. With the composition of some of the most beautiful passages in his oeuvre Mozart has succeeded in giving this opera seria both a noble sobriety and transparent instrumentation to which this commanding production by the Hermann partnership does full justice on all levels. Susan Graham's most extraordinary Sesto and Christoph Pregardien's Superb Tito set the standard for this riveting Opera National de Paris Performance conducted by the outstanding Sylvain Cambreling.

  • Die Verkaufte Braut - Smetana/Adam Fischer/Orchester Der Wiener Staatsoper Die Verkaufte Braut - Smetana/Adam Fischer/Orchester Der Wiener Staatsoper | DVD | (10/09/2007) from £7.40  |  Saving you £1.95 (11.50%)  |  RRP £16.99

    Smetana: Die Verkaufte Braut (Aka: The Bartered Bridge)

  • Manon [1982] Manon | DVD | (01/07/2000) from £9.80  |  Saving you £8.19 (45.50%)  |  RRP £17.99

    Kenneth MacMillan's tragic lyric ballet to sumptuous music by Jules Massenet orchestrated for the ballet by Leighton Lucas is a Royal Opera House favourite returning season after season. The story of Manon Lescaut is a moving tale of corrupted innocence in early 18th century Paris in which the lovely girl finds both happiness and grief at the hands of men who love and abuse her. Manon is one of MacMillan's most highly regarded works featuring several passionate and moving pas

  • Mozart - Le Nozze Di Figaro Mozart - Le Nozze Di Figaro | DVD | (14/03/2008) from £23.57  |  Saving you £6.42 (21.40%)  |  RRP £29.99

    Recorded live at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden London on 10th 13th and 17th February 2006.

  • 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 £11.59  |  Saving you £5.40 (31.80%)  |  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

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