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Opera

  • Offenbach: Les Contes d'Hoffmann -- Royal Opera House/Pretre [1981] Offenbach: Les Contes d'Hoffmann -- Royal Opera House/Pretre | DVD | (22/09/2003) from £10.27  |  Saving you £7.72 (42.90%)  |  RRP £17.99

    This famous and highly-praised Royal Opera production by film director John Schlesinger filmed in 1981 is as good as we are ever likely to see. The spectacular designs by Maria Bjornson and William Dudley vividly bring Hoffman's nightmare world to life. The brilliant cast is led by Placido Domingo as Hoffmann in one of his towering portrayals. He has become wholly identified with this part in a way that no other artist has.

  • Andrea Bocelli - Sacred Arias [1999] Andrea Bocelli - Sacred Arias | DVD | (03/12/2007) from £9.42  |  Saving you £5.57 (37.20%)  |  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?

  • Andrea Bocelli - Tuscan Skies [2001] Andrea Bocelli - Tuscan Skies | DVD | (10/11/2003) from £10.18  |  Saving you £4.81 (32.10%)  |  RRP £14.99

    Andrea Bocelli - Tuscan Skies

  • Anna Russell - The [1984] Anna Russell - The | DVD | (14/12/2001) from £18.99  |  Saving you £0.00 (0.00%)  |  RRP £18.99

    Tracklisting:How To Become A SingerWind Instruments I Have KnownOn Pink Chiffon DragA Gilbert & Sullivan OperettaWagner's Ring CycleJolly Old Sigmund Freud & Other Folk TunesRecorded live at the Baltimore Museum of Art November 7 1984

  • Zdenek  Benaclova - Smetana -  Bartered Bride Zdenek Benaclova - Smetana - Bartered Bride | DVD | (14/08/2006) from £7.95  |  Saving you £2.60 (17.30%)  |  RRP £14.99

    What oprea fan doesn't know the famous opera arias 'Our True Love' 'Make Up Your Mind Marenka' or 'I Know A Maiden Fair' ageless classics from that treasure of Czech opera Bedrich Smetana's The Bartered Bride? These outstanding singers Gabriela Benackova as Marenka Peter Dvorsky as Jenik and Richard Novak as Kecal as well as brilliant performances by the Czech Philharmonic and Prague Philharmonic Chorus conducted by Zdenek Kosler became the basis for this 1981 television programme directed by Frantisek Filip. Sets by Jan Zazvorka costumes by Lida Novotna cinematography by Ilja Bojanovsky directed by Frantisek Filip.

  • 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

  • Masters of Cinema - Judex/Nuits Rouges Masters of Cinema - Judex/Nuits Rouges | DVD | (25/08/2008) from £10.72  |  Saving you £14.27 (57.10%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Judex (1963): The magical rarely seen Judex directed by the great Georges Franju (Eyes Without a Face) was largely unappreciated at the time of its release in 1963. This lyrical and dreamlike picture a putative remake of Louis Feuillade's own 1916 Judex is as evocative of the silent master's own works as it is the later films of Jean Cocteau and Salvador Dali. A French reviewer wrote in 1963: The whole of Judex reminds us that film is a privileged medium for the expression of poetic magic. Starring the magician Channing Pollock the divine Edith Scob and the mesmerising Francine Berg'' Judex concerns a wicked banker his helpless daughter and a mysterious avenger. It plays like a fairy tale one in which Franju creates a dazzling clash between good and evil eschewing interest in the psychological aspects of his characters for unexplained twists and turns in the action. The beautifully controlled imagery superbly rendered by Marcel Fradetal's black-against-white photography animates a natural world and the spirits of animals all at war with a host of diabolical forces. Franju's Judex and Nuits Rouges both paid overt homage to the surreal silent serial-works of Feuillade. Scripted in collaboration with Feuillade's grandson Jacques Champreux these films evince the same poetic magic that made the art of that earlier master a cause c''l''bre not only for the Surrealist movement but also for the world renowned Cin''math''que Fran''aise. It was the Cin''math''que (co-founded by the legendary Henri Langlois with Franju) that helped resurrect the reputation of Feuillade decades after he'd slipped out of the public consciousness. Nuits Rouges (1973): Nuits Rouges [Red Nights] released in the UK as Shadowman was the second Franju Champreux meditation upon the films of Feuillade. It aggressively escalates a pulp atmosphere steeped in shocking turns of events to an even more vertiginous level. Here the object of pursuit is the fabled treasure of the mythical order of the Knights Templar which the filmmakers use as the jump-off point for staging a series of fantastic set-pieces. As the Fant''mas-esque arch-criminal (known only as The Man Without a Face played by Jacques Champreux himself) violently pursues the treasure the action intensifies amongst a cadre of post '68 bohemians the Paris police bureau and a cult of cowled conspirators. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Georges Franju's two most mindbending films on DVD in the UK for the first time.

  • A Midsummer Night's Dream - Glyndebourne Festival Opera [1981] A Midsummer Night's Dream - Glyndebourne Festival Opera | DVD | (02/08/2004) from £9.99  |  Saving you £7.83 (43.50%)  |  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

  • Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin -- film version/Solti [1988] Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin -- film version/Solti | DVD | (03/06/2002) from £7.99  |  Saving you £1.60 (9.40%)  |  RRP £16.99

    It's a common complaint that opera singers can't act, and actors can't sing opera. In this handsome 1988 film of Tchaikovsky's opera Eugene Onegin, director Petr Weigl attempts to solve the problem by letting each group of performers do what they do best. Thus the music is a studio recording with some great voices in the principal roles, and the film is a lip-synched performance shot in stunning locations by a good-looking cast of players. On the positive side this means that the whole thing looks gorgeous, and sun-drenched dachas, glittering ballrooms and snowy steppes are all captured with painterly verve. The musical performances are also splendid, with Bernd Weikl making a passionate, tortured Onegin, Teresa Kubiak a honeyed, fresh-sounding Tatyana, and Solti conducting with driven intensity. But realism and opera rarely make happy bed-fellows, and the down-side of this film is that the naturalistic "speaking-style" lip-synching and understated acting are entirely at odds with the grand musical gestures, and occasionally give rise to a somewhat absurd alienation effect. Thus while Kubiak's voice is at full blast, Magdalena Vasaryova looks like she's making polite chit-chat at a cocktail party. But the project feels like a brave experiment, nonetheless, and if the whole isn't quite the sum of its different elements, those elements are still jolly good. On the DVD: Eugene Onegin on disc has excellent picture quality (which is fortunate in such a visually exquisite film), though the sound is a little distant and muffled. The film starts with the entry of the peasants in Act 1, but the DVD includes the Prologue and music before this point as an audio bonus. There are subtitles in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Chinese, and a series of trailers for other Decca DVDs. --Warwick Thompson

  • Mozart: Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) -- Metropolitan Opera/Levine Mozart: Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) -- Metropolitan Opera/Levine | DVD | (24/03/2003) from £12.58  |  Saving you £4.41 (26.00%)  |  RRP £16.99

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

  • The Rape Of Lucretia - Britten [1987] The Rape Of Lucretia - Britten | DVD | (03/01/2006) from £18.89  |  Saving you £4.94 (19.80%)  |  RRP £24.99

    The English National Opera Orchestra provide sumptuous musical accompaniment to this moving interpretation of 'The Rape Of Lucretia'. The story evokes strong passionate themes as one would expect from a thrilling combination of opera and Greek tragedy. Anthony Rolfe Johnson Jean Rigby Russell Smythe and Kathryn Harries infuse the lead roles with just the right amount of tension and passion making this a fascinating spectacle for the enthralled audience present and now for viewers at home as well.

  • Attila - Verdi Attila - Verdi | DVD | (22/10/2004) from £8.85  |  Saving you £1.14 (11.40%)  |  RRP £9.99

    Attila Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)Ricardo Muti conducts a fine cast in the powerful and atmospheric 1991 production of Verdi's ninth opera whose story of the heroic tussle between Ezio a Roman general and Attila the Nordic invader was written for the 1846 Teatro la Fenice season and premiered there to huge acclaim. Unlocked from the archives of RAI televvision this is a classic recording from one of the world's great opera houses.Sung In Italian

  • Verdi - La Traviata [2007] Verdi - La Traviata | DVD | (12/11/2007) from £9.99  |  Saving you £0.40 (2.40%)  |  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.

  • I Lombardi [1984] I Lombardi | DVD | (06/09/2004) from £12.09  |  Saving you £5.90 (32.80%)  |  RRP £17.99

    The magnificent cast of this production of I Lombardi is headed by Ghena Dimitrova Jose Carreras Silvano Carroli and Carlo Bini. The haunting designs of Spartan grandeur are by Giovanni Agostinucci who uses the motif of a blood-red cross as a double-edged symbol throughout the opera which is set at the time of the first crusade. The performance is conducted by a La Scala conductor of long-standing repute Gianandrea Gavazzeni.

  • Adriana Lecouvreur - Cilea [1984] Adriana Lecouvreur - Cilea | DVD | (27/02/2006) from £11.99  |  Saving you £3.00 (20.00%)  |  RRP £14.99

    Francesco Cilea's most popular work is based on the 1849 play by Eugene Scribe and Ernest Legouve. Adriana Lecouvreur is a star of the stage who could seemingly have any man she desires but when she falls hopelessly in love with the Count of Saxony she discovers he's already been promised to the Princess of Bouillon leading to a battle of wills between them.Filmed at Sydney Opera House Australia.

  • Ruslan And Lyudmila Ruslan And Lyudmila | DVD | (12/05/2003) from £18.65  |  Saving you £-3.66 (-24.40%)  |  RRP £14.99

    A performance of Glinka's opera 'Ruslan And Lyudmila'.

  • Il Viaggio A Reims - Rossini [2003] Il Viaggio A Reims - Rossini | DVD | (22/10/2004) from £24.14  |  Saving you £5.85 (19.50%)  |  RRP £29.99

    From theGRAN TEATRE DEL LICEU BARCELONAGIOACHINO ROSSINIIl Viaggio a ReimsOssia l'Albergo del Giglio d'OroDramma giocoso in one act

  • Samson Et Dalila - The Royal Opera Samson Et Dalila - The Royal Opera | DVD | (27/02/2006) from £12.09  |  Saving you £5.90 (32.80%)  |  RRP £17.99

    Jon Vickers plays Samson while Shirley Verrett plays Dalila in this production of the classic tale which was performed at the Royal Opera House. The dramatic story based on Chapter 16 of the Book of Judges lends itself to spectacular presentation not least in the final scene as the blinded Samson summons all his strength to bring down the pillars of the temple. The opera also features a magnificent and voluptuous score.

  • Orfeo Ed Euridice - Glyndebourne Festival Opera [1982] Orfeo Ed Euridice - Glyndebourne Festival Opera | DVD | (02/08/2004) from £12.09  |  Saving you £5.90 (32.80%)  |  RRP £17.99

    The great British contralto Dame Janet Baker gave her very last stage appearance in Peter Hall's acclaimed production of Orfeo ed Euridice for Glyndebourne Festival Opera filmed in 1982. This is one her most famous roles and she gives a most moving portrayel of Orfeo the grieving musician of Greek myth who tries to bring his wife back form the depths of Hades. Elisabeth Speiser is Euridice and Elizabeth Gale is Amor with first-rate singing from the Glyndebourne Chorus. The Londo

  • Tosca - Puccini [1976] Tosca - Puccini | DVD | (09/05/2005) from £15.39  |  Saving you £1.60 (9.40%)  |  RRP £16.99

    Opera is an inherently theatrical medium that does not lend itself readily to the realism of film treatment. The shining exception is Puccini's Tosca, an action-packed melodrama that unfolds in three taut and gripping acts, like the meatiest of Hollywood films noir. And unlike most operas, these three acts are set in three very specific Roman locales. Thus this 1976 film takes place in the church of Sant'Andrea della Valle (Act 1), the Palazzo Farnese (Act 2) and the Castel Sant'Angelo (Act 3). The evocative settings, however, would be mere window-dressing if the cast wasn't just right; fortunately here Placido Domingo is at his virile peak in the heroic tenor role of Cavaradossi; Raina Kabaivanska is a sultry, vocally beautiful Tosca; while a more infamous and domineering Scarpia than that of Sherrill Milnes can hardly be imagined. Bruno Bartoletti and the New Philharmonia Orchestra give lustily dramatic support. Here the music and vocals are pre-recorded and the singers mime to the playback. Occasionally the result is a little unnatural, but overall the cast are good enough actors to bring off the conceit even in the close-ups. It all pays off triumphantly with the gripping realism of the rooftop finale, the one place where film can improve on stage. With the authenticity of the settings assured and such distinguished leads singing so well, this is an almost ideal filmed Tosca. On the DVD: Tosca on disc is presented in 4:3 ratio with a choice of Dolby 5.1 or LPCM Stereo. The picture is adequate but a little flat (possibly because the format is NTSC not PAL) and the same can be said for the sound, which does what it should but is never revelatory. Subtitles are provided in the main European languages and Chinese. --Mark Walker

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