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Opera

  • Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen -- Metropolitan/Levine Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen -- Metropolitan/Levine | DVD | (14/10/2002) from £36.68  |  Saving you £0.00 (0.00%)  |  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

  • Discover America - Yellowstone National Park Discover America - Yellowstone National Park | DVD | (21/07/2008) from £10.40  |  Saving you £6.59 (38.80%)  |  RRP £16.99

    The Discover America DVD series takes you behind the scenes and beyond the well trodden tourist path to America's most popular National Parks and modern wonders. Yellowstone National Park is a land forged by the fires of ancient volcanoes and sculpted by the forces of water ice and time. Established in 1872 it was America's first national park--and the first created anywhere in the world! Known as America's Serengeti this is home to the largest population of North American wildlife found in the United States. Bison elk moose pronghorn bighorn sheep trumpeter swan wolf and the formidable grizzly bear all interact in this wild landscape. Witness the spectacle of Old Faithful and numerous others as they explode in breathtaking eruptions. At Mammoth Hot Springs mineral-laden waters create ornate travertine terraces. Thermal waters - brilliantly colored by algaes and cyano-bacterias - create colorful tapestries at Norris Hot Springs and Grand Prismatic Spring. Watch as the Yellowstone River plummets more than 200 feet at Lower Falls and tumbles into the bizarre landscape of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. Experience Yellowstone's dramatic landscape of geysers mud pots and hot springs; mountains lakes and waterfalls; bison elk wolves and grizzly bears - all are revealed in breathtaking footage and incredible sound. Explore this astonishing landscape and its denizens in all seasons of the year--from the lushness of summer to the harsh spectacle of deep winter's beauty.

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

    Verdi Macbeth

  • Wagner - Das Rheingold Wagner - Das Rheingold | DVD | (04/02/2008) from £6.25  |  Saving you £0.00 (0.00%)  |  RRP £13.99

    This film is the one existing record of Karajan's Salzburg Ring on video. Made in 1978, with imagination extra film sequences to complement the original stage production for the Easter Festival, it brings to life the epic grandeur of Karajan's concept, with the fallible gods, headed by Thomas Stewart's nobly-sung Wotan, depicted in all their mythic majesty.

  • R. Strauss: Die Frau Ohne Schatten -- Salzburg Festival/Solti [1992] R. Strauss: Die Frau Ohne Schatten -- Salzburg Festival/Solti | DVD | (09/09/2002) from £18.65  |  Saving you £3.34 (15.20%)  |  RRP £21.99

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

  • 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).

  • Charlie and Lola - 2 Charlie and Lola - 2 | DVD | (15/05/2006) from £4.99  |  Saving you £3.00 (37.50%)  |  RRP £7.99

    Charlie And Lola is a fun-filled and imaginative animated series for young children. It focuses on the relationship between brother and sister Charlie and Lola and tells the story of how they handle the little issues that they as young children encounter everyday.

  • Die Fledermaus [1985] Die Fledermaus | DVD | (22/09/2003) from £12.09  |  Saving you £5.90 (32.80%)  |  RRP £17.99

    The operetta 'Die Fledermaus' is Johann Strauss' most brilliant and best-known stage work. It's a glittering comedy packed with Viennese music that has become a firm favourite in opera houses all over the world. A top international cast really have a ball in this highly-acclaimed 1983 New Years Eve performance from The Royal Opera Covent Garden in which Placido Domingo makes a very stylish British conducting debut. Kiri Te Kanawa stars with her celebrated performance as Rosalinde

  • Mozart: Don Giovanni -- Zurich/Harnoncourt Mozart: Don Giovanni -- Zurich/Harnoncourt | DVD | (12/03/2002) from £9.99  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £29.99

    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

  • 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.

  • Gershwin: Porgy And Bess [1992] Gershwin: Porgy And Bess | DVD | (14/05/2001) from £N/A  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £15.99

    This production is directed by Trevor Nunn and is based on his highly successful Glyndebourne staging in 1986/87 which was revived at Covent Garden in the autumn of 1992 with most of the original cast including Willard White and Cynthia Haymon. Immediately after that performance the production was moved to the giant stage at Shepperton Studios with much expanded sets and lighting. It was then recorded using the original award-winning EMI soundtrack. The romance and beauty of this tender story its dramatic development and the sheer vitality of the characters come alive in this exciting visual production.

  • Bizzy Bone - Ouija Board [2008] Bizzy Bone - Ouija Board | DVD | (07/07/2008) from £12.71  |  Saving you £0.28 (2.20%)  |  RRP £12.99

    Ouija Board gives you a glimpse into the life of Bizzy Bone from award winning rap group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. This DVD is a behind the scenes look at Bizzy in his rawest form. It also supplies the viewer with the full details on why Bizzy was kicked out of the group and how he feels about the groups gold selling success after his departure. This DVD features 10 unreleased music videos from his recently released album Ruthless. Ouija Board is a must have for any Bone Thugs-NHarmony fan.

  • Helene Fischer - Mut Zum Gefuehl - Live [2008] Helene Fischer - Mut Zum Gefuehl - Live | DVD | (14/03/2008) from £16.06  |  Saving you £8.93 (35.70%)  |  RRP £24.99

  • Bizet - Carmen (Levine, Metropolitan Opera) Bizet - Carmen (Levine, Metropolitan Opera) | DVD | (20/11/2000) from £13.99  |  Saving you £0.00 (0.00%)  |  RRP £13.99

    George Bizet's opera 'Carmen' performed by the Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra. Conducted by James Levine.

  • The Rake's Progress - Stravinsky [1975] The Rake's Progress - Stravinsky | DVD | (01/08/2005) from £6.41  |  Saving you £3.42 (22.80%)  |  RRP £14.99

    Recorded at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera 1975

  • Mozart: Die Enftuhrung Aus Dem Serail (Abduction from the Seraglio) [1995] Mozart: Die Enftuhrung Aus Dem Serail (Abduction from the Seraglio) | DVD | (11/02/2002) from £8.85  |  Saving you £11.14 (55.70%)  |  RRP £19.99

    Peter Ustinov presents this production of Mozart's opera at the world famous Salzburg Marionette theatre.

  • Verdi: La Traviata -- Venice [1992] Verdi: La Traviata -- Venice | DVD | (10/04/2000) from £12.09  |  Saving you £5.90 (32.80%)  |  RRP £17.99

    This performance of Verdi's La Traviata comes from the Gran Teatro La Fenice, Venice in 1992. The intimacy and social realism of the story make it one of the most dramatically successful of all operas, while the score contains some of the finest music of the 19th century. Despite the strong production values and well-staged party scenes, any production of La Traviata stands or falls on the performers in the vital roles of the lovers Violetta and Alfredo, and that of Alfredo's father, Giorgio. Here Giorgio Zancanaro is suitably decent and morally serious as Giorgio, and Neil Shicoff makes a strong impression as an ordinary man suddenly overwhelmed by love. The drawback is that--and there is no polite way to say this--Edita Gruberova is not only too old to play the sparkling young society girl, Violetta, but she is a much better singer than she is an actress. She comes into her own in the tragic last act, but is otherwise awkward and uncomfortable when the part requires her to demonstrate confidence and sensuality. This remains a production with considerable merits, but overall a more dramatically, not to say visually, compelling version is that originally broadcast world-wide live from Paris in 2000 starring Eteri Gvazava and José Cura.On the DVD: The production is presented at 4:3 with above average picture quality for a live opera DVD, and with excellent PCM stereo sound. The disc and booklet both offer a synopsis, but other than the option to watch with or without subtitles there are no special features. --Gary S. Dalkin

  • Mozart: Cosi Fan Tutte --Gardiner Mozart: Cosi Fan Tutte --Gardiner | DVD | (14/10/2002) from £14.99  |  Saving you £0.00 (0.00%)  |  RRP £14.99

    A performance of Mozart's 'Cosi Fan Tutte' performed by the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists. Conducted by John Eliot Gardiner.

  • 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

  • Bizet: Carmen -- film version [1984] Bizet: Carmen -- film version | DVD | (13/03/2000) from £13.13  |  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

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