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Opera

  • The Flying Dutchman - Wagner The Flying Dutchman - Wagner | DVD | (09/05/2005) from £15.39  |  Saving you £1.60 (9.40%)  |  RRP £16.99

    One of the most acclaimed Wagner productions of the postwar period this electrifying revolutionary Bayreuth staging of The Flying Dutchman catapulted the German director Harry Kupfer to international fame. Kupfer's psychologically acute production presents the entire story as a hallucination in which Senta's yearning for the eternally wandering Dutchman sends her into a trance-like state. Senta is sung by Danish soprano Lisbeth Balslev the American bass-baritone Simon Estes portrays the Dutchman while the Finnish bass Matti Salminen is Daland.

  • Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen -- Metropolitan/Levine Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen -- Metropolitan/Levine | DVD | (14/10/2002) from £37.89  |  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

  • Verdi: La Traviata -- Sills [1976] Verdi: La Traviata -- Sills | DVD | (24/09/2007) from £24.99  |  Saving you £0.00 (0.00%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Before live opera telecasts became regular television events The Grater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association ( WETA ) embarked on an ambitious project. In the summer of 1974 WETA began videotaping live operatic and concert performances at the Filene Center Auditorium in Wolf Trap Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna Virginia for broadcast in a series entitled In Performance at Wolf Trap. The overwhelming success of the series proved to public television stations throughout the country that audiences were eager for this kind of programming.In 1976 In Performance at Wolf Trap presented Beverly Sills in one of her most celebrated portrayals that of Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata. Just months earlier Sills had performed the role at the Metropolitan Opera to great acclaim.

  • Previn: A Streetcar Named Desire [1998] Previn: A Streetcar Named Desire | DVD | (28/02/2001) from £18.79  |  Saving you £3.74 (15.00%)  |  RRP £24.99

    André Previn's first opera, A Streetcar Named Desire, is an intelligent adaptation of Tennessee Williams' play, written to be performed by two very strong principals. Renée Fleming's performance as Blanche Dubois is one of the best things she has done, full of a dangerous bravado and a vulnerability that wins us despite our irritation. The role is one which gives her voice ample opportunity both for extended displays of controlled, passionate singing and for those moments when singing by itself is enough and the voice has to break off in sorrow or madness. Rodney Gilfrey as Stanley Kowalski is equally fine--his voice has the right dangerous energy. In the important subsidiary roles of Stella and Mitch, Elizabeth Futral and Anthony Dean Griffey are also remarkable. Futral in particular gives a total performance in which we forget to make a distinction between her acting and her singing. The opera itself is, as you would expect, one of the most accessible new scores to arrive on the opera stage for some years, drawing heavily on the legacy of jazz and with that nervous musical intensity we associate with the play. Previn conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra effectively. A complete CD recording with the same cast is also available.On the DVD: The DVD comes with menus in English, French, German and Spanish and sub-titles in French and German. It is presented in 4:3 ratio and with PCM stereo sound. The booklet gives a moderately interesting account of the opera's genesis. --Roz Kaveney

  • Giacomo Puccini - Puccini - Turandot Giacomo Puccini - Puccini - Turandot | DVD | (21/07/2008) from £10.59  |  Saving you £4.40 (29.40%)  |  RRP £14.99

    Turandot: Puccini - Arena di Verona

  • 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.

  • Giordano: Andrea Chenier - Royal Opera House/Rudel [1985] Giordano: Andrea Chenier - Royal Opera House/Rudel | DVD | (23/02/2004) from £10.59  |  Saving you £7.40 (41.10%)  |  RRP £17.99

    Giordano's Andrea Chenier is one of the greatest of verismo operas, full of heart-stopping big tunes and powerful emotional situations. If it is not as well-known as it should be, it is because in summary it sounds a little too like Puccini's Tosca: there is a tussle between political opponents over a woman, an attempt to save a condemned man, a tenor aria about writing poetry on the eve of execution. The difference is that Gerard (Giorgio Zancanaro) is not a villain like Scarpia, he is an idealist whom the French Revolution has betrayed as much as it has his rival the poet Chenier (Placido Domingo). His temptation to abuse his power to seduce the virtuous Maddalena (Anna Tomowa-Sintow) is a momentary one, though its consequences are terrible. There is a streak of post-Wagnerian decadence in much of this--Maddalena is at least as much in love with death as she is with Chenier, and the final love duet has a deeply sinister aspect. Domingo is at his best in this Covent Garden Opera House performance from 1985; at once ardent and serious-minded, we believe in his Chenier as a poet and political figure. Conductor Julius Rudel gives the rich score all the weight and lyricism it demands and the Covent Garden chorus is at its occasional best in the scenes of revolutionary excess. On the DVD: Andrea Chenier is presented a little disappointingly in NTSC format and 4:3 picture ratio. At least the sound is sumptuous Dolby Digital 5.0. Subtitles are in English, French, German, Spanish and Japanese. --Roz Kaveney

  • The Rake's Progress - Stravinsky [1975] The Rake's Progress - Stravinsky | DVD | (01/08/2005) from £5.84  |  Saving you £3.42 (22.80%)  |  RRP £14.99

    Recorded at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera 1975

  • Great Puccini Love Scenes Great Puccini Love Scenes | DVD | (08/11/2004) from £3.90  |  Saving you £1.14 (6.30%)  |  RRP £17.99

    A feast of highlights from some of the world's favourite operas featuring great artists in some of their best roles. Placido Domingo features in four of the opera highlights: La Fanciulla del West Manon Lescaut Ernani and Les Contes d'Hoffmann. Other stars include Kiri Te Kanawa Carol Neblett Nicola Martinucci Eva Marton Giacomo Aragall Neil Shicoff Ileana Cotrubas Hermann Prey Mirella Freni among many others. These superb performances were filmed at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden the Arena di Verona and La Scala Milan.

  • Verdi - Il Corsaro Verdi - Il Corsaro | DVD | (23/05/2005) from £17.28  |  Saving you £2.04 (10.20%)  |  RRP £19.99

    Verdi: Il Corsaro - Renato Palumbo (Parma Teatro Regio Chorus)

  • Landi - Sant' Alessio Landi - Sant' Alessio | DVD | (19/05/2008) from £10.59  |  Saving you £3.40 (24.30%)  |  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.

  • Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg - Wagner Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg - Wagner | DVD | (17/01/2005) from £14.99  |  Saving you £7.00 (31.80%)  |  RRP £21.99

    A performance of Wagner's opera 'Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg'.

  • The Opera Gala - Live From Baden-Baden The Opera Gala - Live From Baden-Baden | DVD | (22/10/2007) from £15.39  |  Saving you £1.60 (9.40%)  |  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!

  • Mozart - Le Nozze Di Figaro Mozart - Le Nozze Di Figaro | DVD | (14/03/2008) from £16.30  |  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.

  • I Now Pronounce You Vince and Ralph I Now Pronounce You Vince and Ralph | DVD | (31/12/2007) from £4.25  |  Saving you £-1.49 (-21.30%)  |  RRP £6.99

    I Now Pronounce You Ralph And Vince

  • Great Tenor Performances [1997] Great Tenor Performances | DVD | (04/04/2012) from £13.75  |  Saving you £-3.76 (-37.60%)  |  RRP £9.99

    A glittering collection of performances from the extensive NVS ARTS catalogue and beyond. Including Jose Carreras ""La mia letizia infondere"" Robert Alagna ""Fontainebleu!..."" Placido Domingo ""Ch'ella mi creda"" Giacomo Aragall ""E lucevan le stelle"" John Mark Ainsley ""Dalla sua pace"" Vladamir Atlantov ""Nuin mi tema"" Max-Rene Cosotti ""Ecco ridente in cielo"" Luciano Pavarotti ""Celeste Aida"" Neil Shicoff ""Che gelida manina"" Placido Domingo ""Il etait une fois a la cour d'Eisenach""

  • Peter Grimes Peter Grimes | DVD | (22/09/2003) from £10.59  |  Saving you £7.40 (41.10%)  |  RRP £17.99

    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

  • Salome [1992] Salome | DVD | (09/09/2002) from £16.94  |  Saving you £21.05 (55.40%)  |  RRP £37.99

    A one-act production performed at The Royal Opera House Covent Garden with Maria Ewing in the lead role ably supported by Michael Devlin and Kenneth Riegel. The Orchestra of The Royal Opera House is conducted by Edward Downes. Directed by Derek Bailey. English subtitles.

  • Manon [1982] Manon | DVD | (01/07/2000) from £9.80  |  Saving you £8.19 (45.50%)  |  RRP £17.99

    Kenneth MacMillan's tragic lyric ballet to sumptuous music by Jules Massenet orchestrated for the ballet by Leighton Lucas is a Royal Opera House favourite returning season after season. The story of Manon Lescaut is a moving tale of corrupted innocence in early 18th century Paris in which the lovely girl finds both happiness and grief at the hands of men who love and abuse her. Manon is one of MacMillan's most highly regarded works featuring several passionate and moving pas

  • 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

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