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Theodora - Glyndebourne Festival Opera | DVD | (05/07/2004)
from £12.69 | Saving you £5.30 (29.50%) | RRP
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.
Puccini: Madama Butterfly -- La Scala/Maazel | DVD | (31/10/2000)
from £23.25 | Saving you £1.74 (7.00%) | RRP
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.
Mozart: Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) -- Metropolitan Opera/Levine | DVD | (24/03/2003)
from £10.88 | Saving you £5.11 (30.10%) | RRP
A performance of Mozart's 'The Magic Flute' by puppet theatre.
Natural World | DVD | (25/06/2007)
from £12.99 | Saving you £N/A (N/A%) | RRP
Fromthe ice age and woolly mammoth to the oceans and rainforests Discovery looks at all that is incredible about our world
R. Strauss: Die Frau Ohne Schatten -- Salzburg Festival/Solti | DVD | (09/09/2002)
from £18.75 | Saving you £3.24 (14.70%) | RRP
A performance of Richard Strauss' opera 'Die Frau Ohne Schatten' performed at the Salzburg Festival in 1992.
Handel: Julius Caesar -- ENO | DVD | (21/06/2002)
from £20.15 | Saving you £4.84 (19.40%) | RRP
Dame Janet Baker in one of her greatest roles leads a cast of some of Britain's finest interpreters of baroque opera under the baton of Sir Charles Mackerras. John Copley's acclaimed English National Opera production was restaged in studio skilfully using all the technical advantages offered to create this top quality recording.
Tosca's Kiss | DVD | (06/09/2004)
from £14.59 | Saving you £-0.60 (-4.30%) | RRP
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
Tristan Und Isolde - Wagner/Daniel Barenboim | DVD | (16/07/2007)
from £18.49 | Saving you £3.24 (14.70%) | RRP
Daniel Barenboim conducts Bayreuth's landmark 1983 production of Wagner's quintessential Romantic music-drama Tristan Und Isolde. The great Wagnerian singers Ren'' Kollo and Johanna Meier perform the title roles in Wagner's romantic masterpiece. Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's celebrated Bayreuth production is filmed on the Festspielhaus stage with six cameras and in digital sound to recreate the unique intensity of a live performance in studio quality. With its exceptional cast of singers - plus the thoughtful staging by Ponelle and the musical expertise of Daniel Barenboim - this DVD is one of the finest Tristan and Isolde productions ever
Die Entfuhrung Aus Dem Serail - The Royal Opera - Mozart | DVD | (01/11/1997)
from £11.09 | Saving you £6.90 (38.40%) | RRP
Mozart's comic masterpiece is set in a Turkish palace and tells the exciting and amusing story of the 'escape from the harem'. In this acclaimed production from The Royal Opera by Elijah Moshinsky filmed in 1988 the Turkish atmosphere is created by Timothy O'Brien's imaginative set of garden and crumbling palace strikingly complemented by Sir Sidney Nolan's colourful front and backcloths. The Spanish nobleman Belmonte is ably sung by Deon van der Walt and his beloved Konstanze is sung by Inga Nielsen with both dramatic conviction and brilliant secure coloratura. The actor Oliver Tobias gives a sensuous and powerful performance in the speaking role of Pasha Selim and Lillian Watson is a charming Blonde.
Inside the Actors Studio - Clint Eastwood | DVD | (26/01/2009)
from £4.99 | Saving you £3.00 (37.50%) | RRP
Clint Eastwood's career is the stuff of legend and so is the man. As riveting as many of the characters he has created from the Man With No Name to the man with an unforgettable one Dirty Harry Clint Eastwood has left an indelible mark on every role he has played and on the films he has directed with such distinction that they have earned him two Best Director Oscars'' for Unforgiven and Mystic River. In his interview with the Actors Studio the two-time Academy Award''-winner reveals the frank knowledgeable highly articulate man behind the laconic images that have made him world-famous for forty years.
Verdi: Don Carlos | DVD | (20/11/2000)
from £5.29 | Saving you £14.70 (73.50%) | RRP
This is a 1996 all-star-cast version from Paris of the original French version of Verdi's epic five-act opera, Don Carlos. First produced in 1867, only Wagner would write musical drama on a grander scale, and due to the three-and-a-half-hour running time most subsequent productions have made substantial cuts. This is therefore a rare opportunity to witness Verdi's tragedy in its entirety.Set in the 16th century in the aftermath of war between Spain and France, Don Carlo (Roberto Alagna), the heir to the Spanish throne comes to France to meet with his beloved Elizabeth de Valois (Karita Mattila). Inevitably politics divide the lovers, and while Rodrigue (Thomas Hampson) falls in with Flemish rebels, the Inquisition is determined to be the power behind the peace. This is certainly not Verdi's greatest work, but it contains great music and the stars are allowed to shine with strong characterisations in an elegantly designed production. There are no gimmicks or attempts at spurious contemporary relevance here, simply singers of the calibre of Alagna, Mattila, Hampson, plus the outstanding Eric Halfvarson as the Grand Inquisitor. This is a production that continues in the 19th-century tradition, and in the process delivers the frisson of world-class opera. --Gary S. DalkinOn the DVD: While the running time precludes much in the way of special features, via DVD-ROM the libretto can be printed in French, together with an article and biographies. The picture is presented at approximately 1.7:1 and while far superior to video could still benefit from anamorphic enhancement. The sound is stereo or excellent Dolby Digital 5.0. The booklet offers a detailed synopsis in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish and there are subtitles in the same languages. The disc is encoded for regions two to six. --Gary S. Dalkin
Luciano Pavarotti - Donizetti - L'Elisir D'Amore | DVD | (26/02/2008)
from £13.29 | Saving you £3.70 (21.80%) | RRP
Donizetti's L' Elisir D' Amore recorded live at the Metropolitan Opera, March 2nd, 1981.
Eugene Onegin - Glyndebourne Festival Opera | DVD | (21/11/2005)
from £12.69 | Saving you £5.30 (29.50%) | RRP
Graham Vick s acclaimed production of Eugene Onegin for Glyndebourne Festival Opera was premiered and recorded in the first season of Glyndebourne s new opera house in 1994. Pushkin s tale of doomed love tragedy and rejection is set against an acutely observed backdrop of Russian society with spectacular choruses and dances yet in a staging of breathtaking simplicity. The star of this production is undoubtedly Russian soprano Elena Prokina an enthralling singing actress whose shy
Mozart: Don Giovanni -- Zurich/Harnoncourt | DVD | (12/03/2002)
from £N/A | Saving you £N/A (N/A%) | RRP
In this Zurich Opera House staging of Mozart’s darkly comic cautionary fable Don Giovanni the lighting and stage design keep the characters shaded in half-shadow: even Zerlina’s wedding feels like a subdued affair here, and the Don’s banqueting room is a suitably gloomy venue for the Stone Guest’s climactic visit for a spot of dinner and damnation. Both this staging and video director Brian Large’s filming play no tricks with the audience’s expectations, opting for a largely traditional presentation of this tragedy of swaggering bravado, cuckolded lovers and revenge from beyond the grave. Nikolaus Harnoncourt brings all the sensitivity of his historically informed approach to the orchestra pit. Heading a very strong cast are Rodney Gilfry, defiantly strong-voiced but also haughtily handsome as the seducing Don, and Cecilia Bartoli, a mercurial presence as Donna Elvira. Their scenes together crackle and fizz, even when Bartoli’s extremely ripe vibrato contrasts a little uncomfortably with Harnoncourt’s authenticity. Liliana Nikiteanu makes for a pretty, naïve Zerlina, convincingly torn between her Masetto (Oliver Widmer) and the animalistic attraction of the Don. Laszlo Polgar’s Leporello is wheedling and base, but still the inheritor of his master’s charisma; Isabel Rey and Roberto Sacca are solid as the colourless moralists Anna and Ottavio; while Matti Salminen’s powerful Commendatore isn’t expected to do anything more than stand still and declaim. Overall this is an excellent musical performance, unexceptionally staged. On the DVD: Don Giovanni on disc has a good 24-minute "Behind the Scenes" feature, including interviews with Cecilia Bartoli, Harnoncourt, Gilfry and Isabel Rey. There’s also a trailer for other ArtHaus releases. The 16:9 picture sometimes struggles to bring definition to the dimly lit sets; sound though is crisp and clean PCM stereo or Dolby 5.1. There are subtitles in five languages. --Mark Walker
Salome - Deutsche Oper Berlin | DVD | (30/01/2006)
from £12.19 | Saving you £5.80 (32.20%) | RRP
Richard Strauss's powerful and erotic one-act opera caused such a sensation when it was first performed in 1905 that it caused protests and was banned in several cities. In Petr Weigl's production for the Deutsche Opera Berlin filmed in 1990 Catherine Malfitano gives a suitably graphic portrayal of Salome a role which demand the utmost physical and emotional commitment throughout the complex vocal passages and choreographed scenes. Simon Estes is Jokannan and Herodias is sung by one of the greatest dramatic singers of the 20th century Leonie Rysanek. The conductor is Giuseppe Sinopoli.
Andrea Bocelli - Sacred Arias | DVD | (03/12/2007)
from £11.59 | Saving you £3.40 (22.70%) | RRP
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?
Donizetti: L'Elisir D'Amore (The Elixir of Love) | DVD | (11/03/2002)
from £15.04 | Saving you £0.95 (5.90%) | RRP
It's hard to think of a couple better suited to play the romantic leads in Donizetti's comedy L'Elisir d'amore than husband-and-wife team Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu. Both are charming on stage, and both have voices to die for: Gheorghiu's dark liquid tones are particularly spine-tingling, and her coloratura abilities awe-inspiring, and though Alagna has mainly concentrated on the more spinto (powerful) roles of the tenor repertoire, in 1996 when this live production was recorded his voice was just a little fresher and lighter and thus perfect for the bel canto gracefulness of Donizetti's writing. His performance of "Una furtiva lagrima", for example, is meltingly sung and free from all temptation to overplay the high notes. Frank Dunlop's 1920s-set production doesn't quite produce the belly laughs some stagings manage (in Dulcamara's patter song, for example), but has a certain small-town wistful charm nonetheless. The orchestral accompaniment under Donizetti expert Evelino Pidò is spot on, and never falls into the banal "oom-pah" trap that such simple writing can often lead to. Overall, it's a production of great charm. On the DVD: L'Elisir d'amore comes to disc with a 52-minute film on the history of the opera and its recording, with contributions from Alagna and Gheorghiu, and subtitles in English, French, German, Spanish and Chinese. The Lyon opera house is particularly well set up for video recording, and Brian Large does a sophisticated job of capturing a live performance: it's hard to believe at some points that the cameras aren't actually on stage in the middle of the action. Just occasionally this leads to the singers not knowing where to look and seeming a trifle lost, but generally the performances work superbly well on the small screen. --Warwick Thomson
Turn Of The Screw - Britten | DVD | (21/01/2005)
from £19.20 | Saving you £5.33 (21.30%) | RRP
Benjamin Britten's haunting and sinister opera composed in 1954 is based on the famous novella written by Henry James in 1898. Katie Mitchell's atmospheric and innovative film of the opera returns to the late 19th century setting of the original tale to a world where it is hard to tell ghosts from mere reflections in the glass. There have been many discussions about what happened to the children in both the novella and Britten's opera. This production with an inspired cast led by excellent performances from Lisa Milne and Mark Padmore remains true to both sources. The rich dark imagery entices the viewer exposing the deepest layers of the tantalising unnamed and hidden past relationships between the two servants and the children in one of the greatest operas of the 20th century.
Mozart - Le Nozze Di Figaro | DVD | (14/03/2008)
from £23.57 | Saving you £6.42 (21.40%) | RRP
Recorded live at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden London on 10th 13th and 17th February 2006.
The Golden Ring - Wiener Philharmoniker/Sir Georg Solti | DVD | (11/06/2007)
from £14.60 | Saving you £-1.05 (-7.50%) | RRP
The legendary 1965 BBC film on the pioneering recording by Sir Georg Solti of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. Filmed during the recording of Gotterdammerung in the Sofiensale with the Vienna Philharmonic, it features performances by the great Wagner singers Birgit Nilsson, Wolfgang Windgassen, Gottlob Frick, and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. The DVD also includes ORF's German-language version of the programme (Hinter den Kulissen der Gotterdammerung) featuring different interview footage with Sir Georg Solti.