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Opera

  • Pirates Of Penzance - Gilbert And Sullivan [1982] Pirates Of Penzance - Gilbert And Sullivan | DVD | (13/12/2004) from £7.92  |  Saving you £8.07 (50.50%)  |  RRP £15.99

    Having mistakenly been sent as an apprentice to pirates young Frederic is happy to leave his indentures on his 21st birthday. Falling in love with the beautiful Mabel one of the many daughters of Major-General Stanley he decides to marry. However the pirates are all to keen to marry the rest of Stanley's daughters! A spectacular interpretation of the Gilbert and Sullivan classic!

  • Monteverdi - Pierre Audi's Monteverdi Cycle Box Set Monteverdi - Pierre Audi's Monteverdi Cycle Box Set | DVD | (29/01/2007) from £22.95  |  Saving you £47.04 (67.20%)  |  RRP £69.99

    Opus Arte is proud to present Pierre Audi's profound and refined productions of Monteverdi's opera masterpieces from the Amsterdam Muziektheater as a complete 9.5 hours box set, which explores the depths of human emotions in compelling music drama. The brilliant cast of the beautifully styled, evocative L'Orfeo, under the sophisticated musical direction of Stephen Stubbs, includes John Mark Ainsley, Michael Chance and David Cordier. II ritorno d' Ulisse in patria features Anthony Rolfe Johnson and Graciela in patria features Anthony Rolfe Johnson and Graciela Araya, both commanding and very moving under Glen Wilson's transparent and inspired musical direction. In L'incoroazione di Poppea Christophe Roussel and the musicians of his Les Talens Lyriques lead an all-star cast, including Brigitte Balleys, Cynthia Haymon, Claron McFadden and Dominique Visse, together reaching great heights in a highly evocative production. As a bonus disc, this box set includes the previously unreleased II combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, starring Lorna Anderson and Maarten Koningsberger, with the ASKO Ensemble boldly led by David Porcelijn.Never before have these timeless Monteverdi masterworks been presented with such consistent and inspired vision, and the results is an astonishing theatrical experience. An essential for any serious opera collector's library!

  • La Cenerentola [2005] La Cenerentola | DVD | (30/01/2006) from £22.59  |  Saving you £7.40 (24.70%)  |  RRP £29.99

    Vladimir Jurowski and Sir Peter Hall are re-united for a fresh and vibrant but timelessly elegant production of Rossinin's much-loved setting of the Cinderella story with a fine cast led by Ruxandra Donose in the title role. Filmed in June 2005 with high definition cameras and recorded in multi-track 5.1 surround sound

  • 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

  • Giulio Cesare - Handel [2004] Giulio Cesare - Handel | DVD | (03/01/2006) from £24.39  |  Saving you £5.60 (18.70%)  |  RRP £29.99

    Recorded live at the Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona July 2004.Giulio Cesare is regarded by many as Handel's greatest and most exquisite work.This new adaptation comes from director Herbert Wernicke who includes in his version fragments of Rinaldo Orlando and Tolomeo. Wernicke concentrates on the psychology and politics of the story rather than seeking to set the opera in a contemporary context.In Handel's Giulio Cesare a far cry from the dark story of p

  • The Three Tenors - In Concert 1994 The Three Tenors - In Concert 1994 | DVD | (29/06/1998) from £12.09  |  Saving you £5.90 (32.80%)  |  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).

  • Wagner - Tannhauser Wagner - Tannhauser | DVD | (29/09/2006) from £18.89  |  Saving you £16.10 (46.00%)  |  RRP £34.99

    Wagner:Tannhauser (2 Discs)

  • 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

  • Bizet: Carmen -- film version [1984] Bizet: Carmen -- film version | DVD | (13/03/2000) from £13.68  |  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

  • Verdi - Macbeth Verdi - Macbeth | DVD | (22/10/2007) from £14.99  |  Saving you £7.00 (31.80%)  |  RRP £21.99

    Verdi Macbeth

  • La Grande-Duchesse De Gerolstein - Offenbach La Grande-Duchesse De Gerolstein - Offenbach | DVD | (09/01/2006) from £10.98  |  Saving you £5.01 (31.30%)  |  RRP £15.99

    Recorded at the Theatre Du Chatelet in Paris.

  • Mozart - Le Nozze Di Figaro Mozart - Le Nozze Di Figaro | DVD | (14/03/2008) from £22.59  |  Saving you £7.40 (24.70%)  |  RRP £29.99

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

  • Don Pasquale - Donizetti [2007] Don Pasquale - Donizetti | DVD | (10/09/2007) from £14.74  |  Saving you £2.25 (13.20%)  |  RRP £16.99

    Donizetti: Don Pasquale - Juan Diego Florez

  • L'Occasione Fa Il Ladro - Rossini [1992] L'Occasione Fa Il Ladro - Rossini | DVD | (28/04/2006) from £12.49  |  Saving you £12.50 (50.00%)  |  RRP £24.99

    L'occasione fa il ladro is one of the five one-act operas - farsa giocosa - in which the teenage Rossini first demonstrated his operatic genius and in musical terms is by far the most riotous one This sparkling production continues the Rossini one-act opera series emerging from the Schwetzingen Festival.

  • La Clemenza Di Tito - Mozart La Clemenza Di Tito - Mozart | DVD | (03/01/2006) from £5.49  |  Saving you £24.50 (81.70%)  |  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.

  • Madama Butterfly - Puccini [1974] Madama Butterfly - Puccini | DVD | (09/05/2005) from £13.26  |  Saving you £0.73 (5.20%)  |  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

  • Lohengrin - Richard Wagner [1990] Lohengrin - Richard Wagner | DVD | (28/03/2003) from £25.35  |  Saving you £4.64 (15.50%)  |  RRP £29.99

    Richard Wagner was a one-man artistic movement a figure so massive that his influence was felt by all of his contemporaries and all of his major successors.Wolfgang Weber's simple staging muted colours dark clouds barren landscapes and simple shapes succeeds in evoking clear middle ages symbolism. His staging does not impress by means of the spectacular but underlines the dramatic sense embodied in the music allowing the outstanding singers full scope to express themselves.This remarkable production under Claudio Abbado has a stellar cast. Cheryl Studer as Elsa and Placido Domingo as Lohengrin (a role which he first performed on debut at the Hamburg State Opera in 1968 at the age of 27) are the cornerstone of a dream cast.

  • 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

  • Turandot - Puccini [1988] Turandot - Puccini | DVD | (15/09/2003) from £15.39  |  Saving you £1.60 (9.40%)  |  RRP £16.99

    Puccini's 'Turandot' performed by the Metropolitan Opera. Artists include: Eve Marton and Placido Domingo. Conducted by James Levine. Directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Sung in Italian

  • Theodora - Glyndebourne Festival Opera [1996] Theodora - Glyndebourne Festival Opera | DVD | (05/07/2004) from £11.79  |  Saving you £6.20 (34.50%)  |  RRP £17.99

    This production of Handel's tragic and moving oratorio took Glyndebourne by storm when it was first staged in 1996. Sellars took Handel's tale of self-sacrificial love between a Christian virgin and a Roman imperial bodyguard in fourth century enemy occupied Antioch and by resetting it in modern-day America transformed it into a timeless parable of spiritual resistance to tyranny and persecution.

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