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Opera

  • The Singing Kettle The Singing Kettle | DVD | (07/05/2007) from £N/A  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £11.99

  • Donizetti: L'Elisir D'Amore (The Elixir of Love) Donizetti: L'Elisir D'Amore (The Elixir of Love) | DVD | (11/03/2002) from £15.39  |  Saving you £0.60 (3.80%)  |  RRP £15.99

    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

  • Puccini: Madama Butterfly -- Verona/Arena [1983] Puccini: Madama Butterfly -- Verona/Arena | DVD | (11/06/2001) from £7.99  |  Saving you £7.69 (42.70%)  |  RRP £17.99

    This traditional production of Puccini's enduringly popular opera Madama Butterfly should give much pleasure. It was recorded at the open-air theatre in Verona in 1983 with the local orchestra and chorus under the aptly named Maurizio Arena. The video direction is by an expert in the field, Brian Large, who brings home all the intimate moments of Puccini's drama from an open set that ascends and sprawls across rows of seating. His camera draws the viewer into scenes that the audience cannot witness at their distance--most movingly when Sharpless, the American consul in Nagasaki, gives up his attempt to read Pinkerton's letter to Butterfly saying he has no intention of seeing her again (set to that magical melody which will recur as the humming chorus). It's of little matter that there are no operatic stars in the cast for this ensemble consists of experienced singers who fill the night air with lungs to match Puccini's heaviest demands. The audience, many of them evidently on holiday, greet the show-stopping moments with waves of applause. Their enthusiasm may drown a few bars of orchestral continuity but the orchestra itself is always at the service of the singers on a soundtrack that captures the atmosphere of an open-air performance with astonishing verisimilitude. Butterfly, sung by the statuesque Raina Kabaivanska, may not see Cio-Cio San (to give "butterfly" her real name) 16 years again and some of her arm movements are overdone but her big number "Un bel di" and its reprise when she's holding her child by Pinkerton are touchingly conveyed. Neither does she overplay the final scene where she prepares to follow her father's example using the Mikado's dagger to commit suicide--a moment that sends a shiver down the spine in its economy. Nazzareno Antinori as her Pinkerton, with his matinée idol looks and resonant voice, complements her well; their singing of Puccini's spacious love duet at the close of Act One goes down a treat with the crowd. --Adrian Edwards

  • Wagner: Parsifal Wagner: Parsifal | DVD | (14/10/2002) from £18.65  |  Saving you £3.34 (15.20%)  |  RRP £21.99

    A performance of Wagner's opera 'Parsifal' featuring the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus. Conducted by James Levine. The action takes place in the Middle Ages. At the castle of Monsalvat cut off from the rest of the world the brotherhood of Grail Knights guards the chalice in which the blood of the crucified Saviour had once been caught. In an effort to seize possession of the Grail Klingsor a powerful magician has established his realm at the foot of the mountain peop

  • Puccini: Manon Lescaut Puccini: Manon Lescaut | DVD | (24/08/2001) from £5.39  |  Saving you £17.51 (70.10%)  |  RRP £24.99

    The Flemish Opera Symphony Orchestra conducted by Silvio Varviso perform The Manon Lescaut opera in four acts.

  • Landi - Sant' Alessio Landi - Sant' Alessio | DVD | (19/05/2008) from £12.09  |  Saving you £1.90 (13.60%)  |  RRP £13.99

    First performed at the Palazzo Barberini in Rome in 1632 Landis Sant Alessio (Saint Alexius) is recognised as the earliest opera on an historical rather than mythological subject. Staged in Caen (where the DVD was filmed) and Paris in October 2007 the opera was subsequently presented in concert form in London and New York and is scheduled for the opera houses of Luxembourg and Nancy in early 2008.

  • Tosca - Puccini [2003] Tosca - Puccini | DVD | (18/06/2004) from £19.11  |  Saving you £10.88 (36.30%)  |  RRP £29.99

    The story of betrayal and lust performed by the Teatro Real Chorus and Orchestra; conducted by Maurizio Benini. Recorded during the 2003-2004 season at Teatro Real.

  • Patience - Gilbert And Sullivan Patience - Gilbert And Sullivan | DVD | (29/05/2006) from £5.84  |  Saving you £2.84 (18.90%)  |  RRP £14.99

    Gilvert And Sullivan: Patience (Stanhope Elizabethan Philharmonic Orchestra)

  • TDK DVD Opera Sampler 2006 TDK DVD Opera Sampler 2006 | DVD | (30/01/2006) from £14.49  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £4.99

    A compilation of opera excerpts from the 2006 TDK catalogue.

  • The Opera Gala - Live From Baden-Baden The Opera Gala - Live From Baden-Baden | DVD | (22/10/2007) from £14.78  |  Saving you £2.21 (13.00%)  |  RRP £16.99

    The new faces of opera present opera favourites in a glamorous live concert recording: Anna Netrebko El'na Garan''a Ram''n Vargas and the highly acclaimed young French baritone Ludovic T''zier sing a wide range of Italian and French opera arias. This recording features highlights from three gala concerts (28 & 31 July 3 August 2007) at Baden-Baden's Festspielhaus - surely the hottest event of the summer!

  • Bizet - Les Pecheurs De Perles Bizet - Les Pecheurs De Perles | DVD | (04/04/2005) from £16.75  |  Saving you £3.24 (16.20%)  |  RRP £19.99

    Widely remembered as the composer of one of the most popular operas of all time CARMEN Georges Bizet was also responsible for this lesser-known gem. Written when he was only 25 the work was not well-recieved upon its initial performance in 1863 but has since come to be appreciated for its beauty and orchestral subtlety. The libretto deals with two men King Zurga of Ceylon and his friend Nadir who are both in love with a high priestess Lla. Though each claim to be over Leila when Nadir recognizes her in the temple he cannot deny his feelings which are returned; though she has vowed celibacy they meet in secret and are discovered. The jealous Zurga condemns Lla to death but when he realizes she intervened on his behalf years ago he changes his mind with catastophic results. This production of the only Bizet opera to remain in the repertoire was performed in Venice with an extraordinary Annick Massis as Lla while the staging was executed by Pier Luigi Pizzi. Highlights of the show include Leila's aria ""Comme autrefois dans la nuit sombre "" and the stunning duet between Lla and Nadir ""Ton coeur n'a pas compris le mien.""

  • Verdi: La Forza del Destino [1998] Verdi: La Forza del Destino | DVD | (16/08/2000) from £21.55  |  Saving you £3.44 (13.80%)  |  RRP £24.99

    This is a 1998 performance from the Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg of the original 1862 St Petersburg version of Verdi's La Forza del Destino. While the world famous version premiered in Italy in 1867 is the superior work, few will want to miss the rare opportunity to see and hear such a well-staged version of Verdi's first thoughts. Here the earlier libretto by Francesco Maria Piave is restored, the original, considerably darker ending is intact and even the sets are constructed to the 1862 designs. There are other differences, though the story remains the familiar mixture of love, misunderstanding and war, the characters ranging from the nobility to monks, soldiers and gypsies, the tone spanning low comedy to high drama. The result is a lavish production, full of life and vitality, shot through with musical urgency and some tremendously powerful singing. Particularly striking is Gegam Grigorian, making a commanding Don Alvaro, whose role here is rather more expansive than in the later version. Galina Gorchakova reprises her Leonara from the 1997 CD recording of the work with passionate intensity, and conductor Valéry Gergiev keeps the epic scale tightly focused. The direction for video unobtrusively brings out the heart of the drama on stage.On the DVD: The disc is presented at 16:9 and is anamorphically enhanced for widescreen televisions. The result is a good but not exceptional picture with clear PCM stereo sound. Other than the booklet and the option to view with or without subtitles there are no special features. --Gary S. Dalkin

  • 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.

  • Mountain Of The Cannibal God Mountain Of The Cannibal God | DVD | (25/08/2008) from £8.84  |  Saving you £4.15 (31.90%)  |  RRP £12.99

    Mountain Of The Cannibal God

  • The Complete Drawing Course for Beginners - Part 1 The Complete Drawing Course for Beginners - Part 1 | DVD | (07/04/2008) from £4.79  |  Saving you £-0.80 (-20.10%)  |  RRP £3.99

    PART 1 - PERSPECTIVE You will be surprised at how much you learn in the very first exercise about perspective. Almost as soon as you switch your video on, you will be able to draw three-dimensions on a two dimensional surface. You will learn the principles of eye level and vanishing points, and you will soon be able to draw streets and objects, including those with elipses such as a wine glass. Be amazed as you watch your drawings come to life!

  • Mozart: Cosi fan tutte [2000] Mozart: Cosi fan tutte | DVD | (30/06/2001) from £N/A  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £29.99

    Mozart's third and final opera with librettist Lorenzo da Ponte, the hugely ambitious dramatic comedy Così fan Tutte (roughly translated as: "They're All Like That"), is brought passionately to life in a first-class production conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt and featuring one of the great starring roles for Cecilia Bartoli. Filmed live at the Zurich Opera House in February 2000 on a set which visualises the subtitle "The School for Lovers", the plot revolves around two army officers arguing about the fidelity of their brides, then setting out to test their chastity. Despite the often playful humour, this is not only psychologically telling music-making, but reveals Mozart exploring the structure of opera, discarding convention to mix large ensemble sections with arias for as many different combinations of singers as possible. With Liliana Nikiteanu attractively contrasted with Bartoli, and thoroughly convincing performances by Roberto Sacca (Ferrando) and Oliver Widmer (Guilelmo), this Così has a freshness and flow which, coupled with the timeless romantic themes, feels very contemporary. On the DVD: the presentation, which includes an interesting 22-minute behind-the-scenes documentary, is spread over two DVDs. There is a multi-language booklet minus libretto, though there is the option to watch with English subtitles. Given the difficult live stage lighting conditions the 16:9 anamorphically enhanced picture is as good as can be expected. There are both stereo and Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks, though the latter gives the voices a disconcertingly disembodied character, leaving the former to be preferred. The total running time is approximately 213 minutes, not 275 minutes stated on the packaging. --Gary S Dalkin

  • Runrig - Beat the Drum Drumnadrochit Runrig - Beat the Drum Drumnadrochit | DVD | (20/03/2008) from £12.26  |  Saving you £10.73 (46.70%)  |  RRP £22.99

  • 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

  • Charlie and Lola - 2 Charlie and Lola - 2 | DVD | (15/05/2006) from £4.79  |  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.

  • Otello - Verdi Otello - Verdi | DVD | (12/04/2004) from £15.39  |  Saving you £1.60 (9.40%)  |  RRP £16.99

    Filmed at the Metropolitan Opera House in 1995 this rendition of Verdi's 'Otello' is beautifully crafted by leading stars Placido Domingo and Renee Fleming. This was the first major success for Fleming at the Met and as this release illustrates she tackled the character of Desdemona wonderfully.

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