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Opera

  • Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) -- Stuttgart [1988] Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) -- Stuttgart | DVD | (06/03/2001) from £11.99  |  Saving you £13.00 (52.00%)  |  RRP £24.99

    The point of a good production of Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia is to have a Rosina and a Figaro who will knock your socks off in their respective arias, while holding back enough in all those crescendo ensembles in which the farce plot reaches its several culminations that the other stars get a chance to shine too. Cecilia Bartoli and Gino Quilico give full-blooded enough performances when on stage by themselves that self-effacement seems far from imminent, yet both are capable of less, and give it when it is needed. Of the others, David Kuebler is an attractively raffish Almaviva, while Robert Lloyd turns Basilio into a memorable cameo. Gabriele Ferro is one of the most intelligent of Rossini conductors--he understands the relationship between the pulse of the music and its dramatic function, and he is also outstanding in the delicacy of phrasing, even in climaxes, that ensures that every voice, every instrument, gets the moment of glory Rossini intended. Michael Hampe's solid reliable unfussy production keeps everything moving without drawing attention to itself. The DVD has subtitles in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish, as well as trailers for other Arthaus Musik discs. --Roz Kaveney

  • Fidelio [1979] Fidelio | DVD | (28/11/2005) from £12.15  |  Saving you £2.84 (18.90%)  |  RRP £14.99

    Fidelio - Recorded At The Glyndebourne Festival Opera 1979.

  • Die Zauberflote - Mozart [1989] Die Zauberflote - Mozart | DVD | (29/05/2006) from £21.25  |  Saving you £3.74 (15.00%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Mozart: Die Zauberflote (Ostman)

  • Idomeneo - Mozart [1974] Idomeneo - Mozart | DVD | (29/10/2004) from £5.75  |  Saving you £3.10 (20.70%)  |  RRP £14.99

    Although Idomeneo is one of Mozart's lesser known operas it sparkles with the composer's usual brilliant melodies. Glyndebourne became the main advocate of the opera in the 50s and 60s and yet despite this Idomeneo was still considered by 1974 something of a rarity.During a ferocious storm Idomeneo the King of Crete makes a vow to Neptune offering a sacrifice (the first human being Idomeneo sees) in return for the god's help in bringing his ship safely to shore. As it turns out this is his own son Idamante. This dilemma can only be solved by the unselfish love of Ilia who is willing to give her life in his stead.Richard Lewis once again confirms his position as the world's leading exponent of this opera in the title role of Idomeneo with Josephine Barstow equally mesmerising in her portrayal of Elettra's agony. This significantly shortened version begins with Idomeneo alone on the beach after having survived the fierce storm. John Cox uses strikingly dark staging echoing the drama of the action and according to Mozart's original directions includes drowning sailors and the infamous Act II sea monster.

  • Giacomo Puccini - Puccini - Turandot Giacomo Puccini - Puccini - Turandot | DVD | (21/07/2008) from £12.09  |  Saving you £2.90 (19.30%)  |  RRP £14.99

    Turandot: Puccini - Arena di Verona

  • Puccini: La Boheme -- San Francisco/Severini [1988] Puccini: La Boheme -- San Francisco/Severini | DVD | (28/08/2000) from £99.97  |  Saving you £-74.98 (-300.00%)  |  RRP £24.99

    One way to use the DVD format for opera is to provide a video format with a clear picture and sumptuous sound and let a good performance speak more or less for itself. Severini's La Boheme comes with a minimum of trimmings--subtitles in English, French and German; even a short account of the performance history is relegated to text in a booklet. The live performance has real theatrical presence, even to the extent that, at times, the vocal and orchestral subtleties get lost in wild applause. Pavarotti's Rodolfo was, in 1988, as plangently lyrical as ever and Freni's care-worn Mimi is a deeply touching and musical performance; Pacetti is a beefy full-blooded no-nonsense Musetta--the waltz song and ensuing duet with Marcello is for once the Broadway show-stopper it ought to be. Of the supporting roles, though, perhaps the most moving is Ghiaurov's Colline--his farewell to his old coat is a short passage of deep pathos which he has rarely sung as well as he does here. --Roz Kaveney

  • Masters of Cinema - Judex/Nuits Rouges Masters of Cinema - Judex/Nuits Rouges | DVD | (25/08/2008) from £8.59  |  Saving you £16.40 (65.60%)  |  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.

  • Offenbach: Les Contes d'Hoffmann -- Royal Opera House/Pretre [1981] Offenbach: Les Contes d'Hoffmann -- Royal Opera House/Pretre | DVD | (22/09/2003) from £12.09  |  Saving you £5.90 (32.80%)  |  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.

  • Verdi: Nabucco -- La Scala/Muti Verdi: Nabucco -- La Scala/Muti | DVD | (26/04/2004) from £12.09  |  Saving you £5.90 (32.80%)  |  RRP £17.99

    This magnificent production of Verdi's biblical epic Nabucco marked the return of Riccardo Muti as Musical Director of La Scala Milan Italy's greatest opera house. Nabucco was Verdi's first real success. This vast opera has great scenes for the chorus most famously in 'Va pensiero' the hymn of longing sung by the Hebrew slaves on the banks of the Euphrates. This DVD is a marvellous opportunity to hear La Scala's famous Chrous on top form.

  • Verdi: Rigoletto -- Vienna/Chailly [1983] Verdi: Rigoletto -- Vienna/Chailly | DVD | (12/06/2006) from £N/A  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £19.99

  • Rodelinda - Glyndebourne Festival Opera Rodelinda - Glyndebourne Festival Opera | DVD | (05/09/2005) from £12.09  |  Saving you £5.90 (32.80%)  |  RRP £17.99

    Handel wrote his Italian opera Rodelinda at the height of his musical powers and it is considered to be one of his greatest with music of astonishing power and beauty. This highly praised production filmed in 1998 was the first ever staging of a Handel opera by the Glyndebourne Festival Opera. Jean-Marie Villegier's stylish production sets Handel's tale of royal exile and fidelity in the silent movie era. Starring Anna Caterina Antonacci in a glamorous portrayal of Rodelinda an

  • Salome Salome | DVD | (03/03/2003) from £14.78  |  Saving you £2.21 (13.00%)  |  RRP £16.99

    A performance of Strauss's biblical 'Salome' at the Royal Opera House.

  • Patience - Gilbert And Sullivan Patience - Gilbert And Sullivan | DVD | (29/05/2006) from £11.98  |  Saving you £2.84 (18.90%)  |  RRP £14.99

    Gilvert And Sullivan: Patience (Stanhope Elizabethan Philharmonic Orchestra)

  • Le Corsaire [1998] Le Corsaire | DVD | (21/06/2000) from £6.46  |  Saving you £13.66 (54.70%)  |  RRP £24.99

    A story of love between a young girl sold by a slave trader and a pirate who is sentenced to death for stealing her away.

  • Die Zauberflote - Mozart Die Zauberflote - Mozart | DVD | (29/08/2005) from £26.21  |  Saving you £3.78 (12.60%)  |  RRP £29.99

    Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's expert direction of this Mozart masterpiece from the 1982 Salzburg Festival provides a feast of colour drama and wit featuring the supreme talents of Edita Gruberova Ileana Cotrubas and Peter Schreier with James Levine at the podium.This production of Mozart's Magic Flute from the Salzburg Festival received enormous and unanimous approval when it was premiered in Salzburg on July 29 1978. Endless applause on the night and an unusual state of accord from the international press quickly gave this staging legendary status with each soloist receiving individual acclaim.Recorded live at the Felsenreitschule Salzberg 21 August 1982.

  • Bizet: Carmen -- film version [1984] Bizet: Carmen -- film version | DVD | (13/03/2000) from £11.16  |  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

  • Puccini: Turandot -- Vienna PO/Gergiev [2002] Puccini: Turandot -- Vienna PO/Gergiev | DVD | (23/06/2003) from £N/A  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Puccini's 'Turandot' as directed by David Pountney. His production is based on the idea of fear of civilisation: the fear that the fatal combination of rapid technological progress gradually spinning out of control and inhuman political systems poses a fundamental threat to all human values.

  • The Ultimate Opera Collection The Ultimate Opera Collection | DVD | (14/05/2007) from £6.97  |  Saving you £11.62 (58.10%)  |  RRP £19.99

    Titles Comprise: CARMEN by Bizet from the St. Margarethen Opera Festival 1998 AIDA by Verdi from the St. Margarethen Opera Festival 1997 DON GIOVANNI by Mozart from the Prague National Theatre 1991 TOSCA by Puccini from the O'Keefe Centre Toronto 1989 NABUCCO by Verdi from the St. Margarethen Opera Festival 2000.

  • Tchaikovsky: Pique Dame (The Queen of Spades) Tchaikovsky: Pique Dame (The Queen of Spades) | DVD | (24/03/2003) from £15.39  |  Saving you £1.60 (9.40%)  |  RRP £16.99

    In terms of vocal power, lyrical beauty and idiomatic authenticity, the casting for this 1992 live recording of the Kirov production of Pique Dame ("The Queen of Spades") could hardly be bettered. Gegam Grigorian (Herman) hits his fearsome, anguished high notes with the accuracy of a laser and Maria Gulegina (Liza) has a voice the size of the QEII but uses it with great subtlety--her opening duet with Pauline floats like gossamer, and her declarations of love for Herman at the end of Act 1 are spine-tingling. Kirov superstars Sergei Leiferkus (Tomsky) and rich-toned Olga Borodina (Pauline) also sound divine. In the pit Valery Gergiev renders every nuance of Tchaikovsky's score with clarity, and drives the strings to produce an almost unbearably tense atmosphere of foreboding; Herman's manslaughter of the Countess is preceded by shallow, haunted phrases which rise and fall like a beating heart. It isn't all rosy, however. The production comes from the traditional old Kirov "stand-and-sing" tradition and is somewhat static. The characters don't interact with much detail or generate much chemistry, and the chorus moves in unwieldy blocks. For a more gripping production (though not quite as well sung) try the Glyndebourne performance. But for sheer musical pleasure, you won't find anything to beat this. On the DVD: Pique Dame doesn't feature particularly inventive camerawork, though it does give a good solid account of the production. The sound recording captures all the most important moments with clarity, though just occasionally singers stray away from the microphones. There are subtitles in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Chinese, and some trailers for other Universal Music DVDs. --Warwick Thomson

  • Tosca - Puccini/Terfel/Malfitano/Chailly Tosca - Puccini/Terfel/Malfitano/Chailly | DVD | (16/07/2007) from £15.99  |  Saving you £1.00 (5.90%)  |  RRP £16.99

    Riccardo Chailly conducts the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and an outstanding cast in Nikolaus Lehnhoff's sensational staging of Puccini's great operatic thriller. Stars Catherine Malfitano as Tosca Bryn Terfel as Scarpia and Richard Margison as Cavaradossi. Bryn Terfel plays the 'tough guy' in contrast to many of his other stage characters which makes this Tosca immediately stand out as unusual from others. Outstanding orchestral performance with Riccardo Chailly conducting the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam.

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