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Philomena Begley - Live in Concert | DVD | (03/03/2008)
from £7.99 | Saving you £-1.49 (-18.60%) | RRP
Recorded at The Whitehall Theatre, Dundee 1990
Rameau - Les Indes galantes / Petibon · Agnew · Croft · Hartelius · Rivenq · de Niese · Panzarella · Le Roi · Les Arts Florissants · Christe - Serban (Opéra de Paris 2004) | DVD | (27/06/2005)
from £25.35 | Saving you £4.64 (15.50%) | RRP
William Christie and Les Arts Florissants propel this exuberant production of Jean-Phillipe Rameau's second opera to great heights. Andrei Serban's extravagant highly baroque staging presents the four exotic love stories vibrantly. In Le Turc Genereux Osman sets free his captive Emilie whom he loves so that she may be reunited with her former lover Valere; Les Incas De Perou is all about the rivalry of the Inca Huascar and the Spaniard Don Carlos both in pursuit of Princess Phani; Les Fleurs offers a Persian love intrigue as the Sultana Fatime tries to detect whether her husband Tacmas has his eye on the lovely Atalide; and Les Sauvages takes us to North America where a Spaniard and a Frenchman compete for the love of Zima daughter of a native chief who prefers one of her own people.
Verdi - Un Ballo In Maschera - Verdi | DVD | (01/04/2005)
from £21.55 | Saving you £3.44 (13.80%) | RRP
John Schlesinger directs Placido Domingo in Verdi's opera...
Offenbach: Les Contes d'Hoffmann -- Royal Opera House/Pretre | DVD | (22/09/2003)
from £11.69 | Saving you £6.30 (35.00%) | RRP
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.
Peter Grimes | DVD | (22/09/2003)
from £10.83 | Saving you £7.16 (39.80%) | RRP
Benjamin Britten's powerful opera 'Peter Grimes' is considered to be one of the masterpieces of the 20th century. In this famous production by Elijah Moshinsky for The Royal Opera Canadian tenor Jon Vickers stars as the complex and misunderstood fisherman. The conductor is Sir Colin Davis who worked for several years with the cast of this production resulting in a masterly interweaving of characters in this gripping drama. ""One of the most riveting operatic impersonations o
Donizetti - La Fille Du Regiment (Bonynge) | DVD | (27/08/2007)
from £10.69 | Saving you £2.84 (18.90%) | RRP
Gaetano Donizetti: La Fille Du Regiment
Idomeneo - Mozart | DVD | (02/05/2006)
from £18.08 | Saving you £3.74 (15.00%) | RRP
This revised revival of the acclaimed 1986 Drottningholm production by Michael Hampe conducted by Arnold Ostman was staged during the Mozart Bicentenary year. Combining both tragedy and comedy with drama Idomeneo boasts a series of superbly expressive pieces which Einstein described as one of those works that even a genius of the highest rank like Mozart could write only once in his life.
La Scala Collection | DVD | (02/05/2006)
from £47.75 | Saving you £12.24 (20.40%) | RRP
Various Composers: La Scala Collection - 11 Operas
Verdi - Otello | DVD | (31/03/2008)
from £9.52 | Saving you £4.30 (28.70%) | RRP
Giuseppe Verdi - The Royal Opera Otello - At the Royal Opera House.
Monteverdi: Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria -- Zurich/Harnoncourt | DVD | (10/01/2003)
from £13.32 | Saving you £4.94 (19.80%) | RRP
Klaus-Michael Gruber's austere staging of Monteverdi's Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria ("Ulysses' Return") gives the impression of a sun-drenched ancient Greek island by the simplest of means: a bleached white wall against a dazzling sky-blue backcloth. It is an ideal setting for conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt's pared-down reading of the score (fewer "authentic" rasps and rattles than 25 years ago) and Vesselina Kasarova's intense, restrained performance of Penelope, all the more powerful for being held back. For example, her repeated cry of "Torna!" ("Return to me!")--an excuse for much hand-wringing on the part of some mezzos--rarely rises above mezzo-forte here. Dietrich Henschel is equally impressive as Ulisse, and uses his rich, flexible voice with inventiveness: he handles the moment of recognition with his son Telemaco (the outrageously handsome Jonas Kaufmann) beautifully. There are some off-the-rail moments to the staging which might not appeal to English theatrical tastes: Penelope's suitors are presented in a rather silly puppet show and the comedy scenes with Iro (Rudolf Schasching) fall flat. But it doesn't prevent the final moments of reconciliation and recognition reaching powerful heights. On the DVD: Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria is presented in 16:9 ratio and has PCM Stereo or Dolby Digital 5.1 sound options. There are subtitles in Italian, German, English, French and Spanish. A handsome, well-lit production is rendered on the small screen with as much subtle shading as possible by video director Felix Breisach, and falls very easily on the eye. --Warwick Thompson
Mozart - Le Nozze Di Figaro | DVD | (14/03/2008)
from £25.35 | Saving you £4.64 (15.50%) | RRP
Recorded live at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden London on 10th 13th and 17th February 2006.
Verdi: Don Carlos | DVD | (20/11/2000)
from £12.55 | Saving you £7.44 (37.20%) | 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
Berg: Lulu - Glyndebourne Festival Opera | DVD | (23/02/2004)
from £12.55 | Saving you £5.44 (30.20%) | RRP
Alban Berg's second and last opera Lulu is one of the monuments of modernism, constructed around serial technique and containing scenes conceived of as Sonata-form, Suite and so on. The bliss of Andrew Davis's conducting in this classic Glyndebourne production is that we forget all of this--Davis doesn't gloss over the music's intellectual content, but that's not what we think about as we watch and listen. Part of the production's strength is the prodigious performance by Christine Schafer as Lulu--for once we believe in the character's sexual energy and power; and Schafer makes her real enough as a person that we largely forget the work's intrinsic misogyny. The rest of the cast are admirable too: Norman Bailey brings something perversely sweet to the disreputable painter Schigolch; Kathryn Harries makes the dying words of Lulu's lesbian lover Geschwitz one of the work's lyric high points; David Kuebler is equally powerful as Alwa. The final duet between Lulu and her destroyer Jack the Ripper is one of Wolfgang Schone's great moments, but he is equally good as Dr Schon, the man Lulu marries and kills. This is a performance of energy and beauty, matched by a simple but effective production. On the DVD Lulu on disc is presented in disappointingly in NTSC format with a 4:3 picture ratio. Fortunately, the Dolby 2.0 digital sound is ideal for the fine detail of this complex score and these nuanced performances. There are subtitles in English, French, German, Spanish and Japanese. --Roz Kaveney
Don Giovanni - Mozart | DVD | (30/01/2006)
from £10.50 | Saving you £10.66 (35.50%) | RRP
Calixto Bieto's famously controversial 2002 production of Mozart's great opera sets the action in the late twentieth century and brings to life an ancient story brilliantly retold. Bertrand de Billy conducts an energetic cast by Wojtek Drabowicz in the title role with the Liceu's Orchestra Academy.
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.
Don Giovanni - Mozart | DVD | (14/03/2005)
from £9.25 | Saving you £6.05 (27.50%) | RRP
The Opera Don Giovanni drama in two acts.
Ponchielli: La Gioconda | DVD | (05/11/2001)
from £11.50 | Saving you £N/A (N/A%) | RRP
The Vienna State Opera's 1986 production of La Gioconda, Amilcare Ponchielli's only lasting success, was an increasingly rare event. The story--based on a long forgotten Victor Hugo drama--is an emotional roller coaster of high passion and self-sacrifice, but has fallen out of favour with the major international opera companies; instead, Ponchielli's contemporary Verdi and one-time pupil Puccini are today's guaranteed crowd-pullers. This is a shame. Ponchielli's score might be sumptuous to the point of occasional over-ripeness but it contains some marvellous arias, not least Enzo's "Cielo e mar". And whenever La Gioconda herself is on stage, it's hard not become enthralled by the richness of her suffering as painted by Ponchielli's lush, explosive music. Here is a woman who is given every opportunity to ensure the removal of her rival (Laura) for Enzo's affections, but who always does the decent thing, ultimately leaving herself with a stark choice between suicide and the repulsive paws of the evil Barnaba who has pursued her since Act I. As La Gioconda, Hungarian soprano Eva Marton is utterly compelling. It's a role that places extraordinary emotional demands on the singer (Callas, not surprisingly, had a field day with it). Marton maintains total credibility. In voice, she is well matched by Placido Domingo's Enzo, who is at the virile peak of his vocal powers, rather suggesting a strength that the suggestible Enzo doesn't really possess. But perhaps the strongest aspect of Ponchielli's opera is the way in which the vocal jewels are distributed throughout the cast. Ludmilla Schemtschuk is an elegant Laura and Margarita Lilowa as La Gioconda's blind mother, La Cieca, sings an unforgettable "Voce di donna o d'angelo". And the ballet within the opera, the "Dance of the Hours", assumes its rightful place as a gleaming component of the whole work. On the DVD: Originally filmed for television, this La Gioconda is presented in PCM Stereo with 4:3 picture format, neither of which do the overall quality any favours. The sound is uneven; when the singers turn upstage it is sometimes impossible to hear what they are singing and the orchestra, conducted by Adam Fischer, sounds dull. The colours are muted. And while the booklet provides the customary comprehensive notes we have come to expect from Arthaus products, it is surprising that the cover photograph is not of the magnificent Eva Marton in the title role.--Piers Ford
Zdenek Benaclova - Smetana - Bartered Bride | DVD | (14/08/2006)
from £11.85 | Saving you £1.00 (6.70%) | RRP
What oprea fan doesn't know the famous opera arias 'Our True Love' 'Make Up Your Mind Marenka' or 'I Know A Maiden Fair' ageless classics from that treasure of Czech opera Bedrich Smetana's The Bartered Bride? These outstanding singers Gabriela Benackova as Marenka Peter Dvorsky as Jenik and Richard Novak as Kecal as well as brilliant performances by the Czech Philharmonic and Prague Philharmonic Chorus conducted by Zdenek Kosler became the basis for this 1981 television programme directed by Frantisek Filip. Sets by Jan Zazvorka costumes by Lida Novotna cinematography by Ilja Bojanovsky directed by Frantisek Filip.
Waaris | DVD | (15/03/2004)
from £12.99 | Saving you £N/A (N/A%) | RRP
Dulla and Gajjan are two brothers but their father engaged by Dulla's wayward ways names Gajjan's son Sarwan as his sole heir. A furious Dulla slays his father for which he is imprisoned. Meanwhile Gajjan's only son Sarwan grows up and falls in love with the virtuous Paro who has a young sprightly carefree sister Seebo who is in love with her childhood friend Binder. Dulla returns from the prison on the day Sarwan and Paro get married. He plots to get the land from his brother Gajjan by getting rid of his only heir. Immediately after the marriage through the connivance of Dulla Sarwan is fatally stabbed and killed. Dulla is now confident that he can acquire the land. Here begins Paro's struggle to acquire a rightful heir for the land and to save herself from the wicked intentions of Dulla. She spurns all his advances. Dulla tortures the family's faithful employees into leaving their master and creates every possible difficulty and hardship for Paro. She convinces her unwilling father-in-law Gajjan to marry her younger sister Seebo so the family can get a legal heir. Does she succeed in her struggle? Does the family get its heir? Watch the family drama Warris.
Donizetti: L'Elisir D'Amore (The Elixir of Love) | DVD | (11/03/2002)
from £13.45 | Saving you £1.10 (6.90%) | 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