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  • How To Be A Ballet Dancer How To Be A Ballet Dancer | DVD | (15/03/2004) from £N/A  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £5.99

    Every young girl loves ballet! It's every young girl's dream to be a ballet dancer and this magical DVD will show them how. Instructional and enjoyable this delightful production contains sections for those who want to practice ballet and home and for those who just wish to watch!

  • Rameau - Les Indes galantes / Petibon · Agnew · Croft · Hartelius · Rivenq · de Niese · Panzarella · Le Roi · Les Arts Florissants · Christe - Serban (Opéra de Paris 2004) [2003] 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 £22.59  |  Saving you £7.40 (24.70%)  |  RRP £29.99

    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.

  • Three By Rambert [1986] Three By Rambert | DVD | (01/07/2002) from £16.75  |  Saving you £3.24 (16.20%)  |  RRP £19.99

    The Rambert Dance Company first made its name in the 1920s for its creative melding of tradition and innovation. That tenet has remained central to the company's ethos and Three by Rambert showcases its particular strengths to great effect in three highly contrasting ballets. Musically, we have three utterly different scores: Janacek’s searing Second String Quartet (subtitled "Intimate Letters", from which the ballet adapts its name), the moody, evocative songs of Bill Withers and, finally, a medley of folk songs from various climes. Though stylistically at odds, all three explore the twin themes of desire and loss. The other link is that, heard in isolation, none of these pieces seems remotely danceable. It’s a tribute both to the choreography (Robert North in the jazz ballet "Lonely Town" , the company's artistic director Christopher Bruce in the remaining two) and to the dancers themselves that the results are so stunningly effortless. Time and again, you’re struck not simply by the liquid perfection of both solo and ensemble work, but by the directness of the physical language, and the depth of emotions expressed. A brilliant showcase for one of the cultural treasures of our age. On the DVD: Three by Rambert has good sound and excellent picture, with the 16:9 format doing full justice to the different visuals encapsulated by the three ballets. The booklet is useful for basic information, though more analysis of the works would have been helpful for non-experts. Rather than 14 minutes of trailers for other titles, an introduction to the work of the company, and maybe to the ballets themselves, would have been more helpful and user-friendly.--Harriet Smith

  • Lord of the Dance [1996] Lord of the Dance | DVD | (01/10/1999) from £23.80  |  Saving you £-7.81 (-48.80%)  |  RRP £15.99

    Billed as an updating and retelling of an Irish folk legend, Lord of the Dance is less Erin Go Bragh than Hooray for Hollywood. Michael Flatley gives us the old razzle-dazzle, fashioning a Celtic-influenced spectacular that wanders far away from its Riverdance roots. The light-show presentation is closer kin to another contemporary Irish musical group, U2. Flatley himself has gone designer chic, too: with close-cropped haircut, earring, buffed abs and tight black pants he bears more than a passing resemblance to Bono. But you have to hand it to the guy--he works hard for the money, as does his attractive corps. The one maddening aspect of this glitzy, entertaining 90-minute festival is the overzealous editing. No image remains on screen for more than a few seconds. Neither Flatley nor his talented troupe deserves to have such craftsmanship sliced and diced like an MTV music video.--Richard Natale, Amazon.com

  • Tchaikovsky - Sleeping Beauty [2002] Tchaikovsky - Sleeping Beauty | DVD | (27/08/2007) from £34.28  |  Saving you £-18.29 (-114.40%)  |  RRP £15.99

    Filmed at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco in 2002 Jean-Christophe Maillot has revived the essence of the original 'Sleeping Beauty' fairy tale by Charles Perrault. The well-known fairy tale has been softened and sentimentalised over the years by both the Petipa and Tchaikovsky ballet and also the Walt Disney animated film. Maillot essentially puts the sex back into the story interweaving the fantastic and the natural; he constantly amazes us throughout this exceptional dance piece which was honoured with a Nijinsky Award.

  • The Car Man [2001] The Car Man | DVD | (24/12/2001) from £16.55  |  Saving you £1.44 (8.00%)  |  RRP £17.99

    This latest dance version of Carmen comes courtesy of choreographer Matthew Bourne, who has devised his own scenario of Bizet’s opera set in a garage-diner in the American mid-West, circa 1960. The Car Man toured the UK in 2000 finishing with a four-month run to packed houses at the Old Vic. This film treatment details all the excitement of the occasion. The cinematography assists in capturing the atmosphere of Bourne’s treatment--film noir with allusions to Hitchcock--through employment of chiaroscuro. The use of the split-screen technique also enhances the cinematic feel. The music sounds seductive and full-bodied, befitting the new story line (Bourne calls it an “auto-erotic thriller”) in which an enigmatic stranger, Luca, walks into town seducing both Lana (Carmen) and Angelo (Don Jose). A swarthy individual, Luca looks an unlikely dancer until his first solo galvanises the company. The single stage set adapts into eight different permutations, taking us from diner through nightclub and prison and then out on the road in a cinematic finale where the Chevrolet cars of the period are destroyed in a pile up. The period look is further enhanced with the girls in tight-waisted colourful frocks and the men in Brando-esque T-shirts and jeans. The dance ensembles are an extraordinarily versatile group: classical, jazz, modern and flamenco seem natural expressions of their body movements. Will Kemp deserves a special mention for his sensitivite portrayal of Angelo. On the DVD: the soundtrack comes in a choice of stereo or 5.1. surround sound where the subtle employment of percussion instruments in the orchestration makes a telling effect. A picture gallery of 25 stills from the production and a 14-minute interview with Bourne expressing his initial doubt about doing another version of Carmen are further assets. He needn’t have had a qualm. This Car Man is destined to give much pleasure. --Adrian Edwards

  • Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) -- Paris/Gardiner Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) -- Paris/Gardiner | DVD | (15/10/2001) from £14.58  |  Saving you £2.41 (14.20%)  |  RRP £16.99

    It is an oft-repeated saw, about life in the heavenly spheres, that the angels revere Bach but listen to Mozart. If they have DVD players, you can bet theyre now watching this stunning production of Le Nozze di Figaro ("The Marriage of Figaro"), which comes about as close to Mozartian perfection as one could possibly hope to get. The faultlessly cast youthful performers bubble with infectious energy. Alison Hagley is a sprightly Susanna with a voice as clear as a bell, and brilliantly matched by a 28-year-old Bryn Terfel both acting and sounding in fine form. Hillevi Martinpelto demonstrates why she is one of the worlds favourite Mozart singers with her melting tones, richly coloured voice and generous stage presence, and Rodney Gilfry gives a muscular, wonderfully controlled performance as the Count. Olivier Milles direction mixes knockabout comedy and restrained pathos with fluid inventiveness, and there are even--heavens, can this really be an opera?--quite a few belly laughs, and deliciously amusing details. (Susannas guitar playing during Cherubinos "Voi che sapete" is a comic delight, and Figaros hidden sneers at Count Almaviva are hilarious.) John Eliot Gardiner draws exquisite playing from his authentic-instrument orchestra and employs tempos that are ideal. Add to that gorgeous 18th-century costumes and effective sets--it doesnt get much better than this. On the DVD: the production is beautifully realised for home viewing, with clear sound (the sets are simple wooden panels, which continually and flatteringly push the sound to the front) and great camera direction. There are subtitles in Italian, English, French, German, Spanish and Chinese but no other special features.--Warwick Thompson

  • Verdi - Gran Gala Di Verdi (Mehta, Orchestra Del Mmf, Cura) Verdi - Gran Gala Di Verdi (Mehta, Orchestra Del Mmf, Cura) | DVD | (05/03/2007) from £6.77  |  Saving you £1.80 (7.80%)  |  RRP £22.99

  • Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro -- 1966 Salzburg Festival/Bohm Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro -- 1966 Salzburg Festival/Bohm | DVD | (19/09/2003) from £29.99  |  Saving you £0.00 (0.00%)  |  RRP £29.99

    A performance of Mozart's Le Nozze Di Figaro featured at the Salzburg Festival in 1966. Karl Bohm conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

  • Carmen - Bizet Carmen - Bizet | DVD | (29/10/2004) from £6.95  |  Saving you £3.96 (15.80%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Bizet: Carmen (Zeffirelli)

  • 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

  • Offenbach: Les Contes d'Hoffmann -- Royal Opera House/Pretre [1981] Offenbach: Les Contes d'Hoffmann -- Royal Opera House/Pretre | DVD | (22/09/2003) from £10.59  |  Saving you £7.40 (41.10%)  |  RRP £17.99

    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.

  • Poulenc: Dialogues des Carmelites [1999] Poulenc: Dialogues des Carmelites | DVD | (16/08/2000) from £20.05  |  Saving you £4.94 (19.80%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Poulenc's late pious works for voice share the sprightliness of his early secular orchestral and chamber pieces; this is perhaps especially true of his 1952 work of devotion and martyrdom. Young aristocrat Blanche seeks refuge in the cloister from her fear of death only to find the Carmelites she joins the object of persecution by the Jacobin Revolution; she flees, but then comes back to share her sisters' death--a powerful scene in which a hymn is stripped down a voice at a time, and finally silenced when Blanche joins them on the guillotine. Anne Sophie Schmidt as Blanche is convincing both in her terror and her resignation; Patricia Petibon is delightful as her closest friend, the lively young nun Constance to whom fear is never especially an issue and who has sought death cheerfully from the start, praying that the dying Prioress might be saved and she taken in her place. The older women--the two Prioresses and Mere Marie who persuades the nuns to refuse compromise--are equally fine in their graver music. --Roz Kaveney

  • Lohengrin - Richard Wagner [1990] Lohengrin - Richard Wagner | DVD | (28/03/2003) from £25.35  |  Saving you £4.64 (15.50%)  |  RRP £29.99

    Richard Wagner was a one-man artistic movement a figure so massive that his influence was felt by all of his contemporaries and all of his major successors.Wolfgang Weber's simple staging muted colours dark clouds barren landscapes and simple shapes succeeds in evoking clear middle ages symbolism. His staging does not impress by means of the spectacular but underlines the dramatic sense embodied in the music allowing the outstanding singers full scope to express themselves.This remarkable production under Claudio Abbado has a stellar cast. Cheryl Studer as Elsa and Placido Domingo as Lohengrin (a role which he first performed on debut at the Hamburg State Opera in 1968 at the age of 27) are the cornerstone of a dream cast.

  • Les Troyens - Berlioz/The Met/James Levine Les Troyens - Berlioz/The Met/James Levine | DVD | (16/07/2007) from £14.99  |  Saving you £0.00 (0.00%)  |  RRP £14.99

    Filmed at the Metropolitan Opera in 1983 Berlioz's masterpiece Les Troyens is a tragic tale of love and fate based on Virgil's Aeneid. Under the baton of James Levine Jessye Norman is stunning in the part of Cassandra and Pl''cido Domingo makes for a strong compelling Aeneas. This benchmark performance was hailed by both critics and audiences and performed to greatest critical acclaim. Norman's role debut as Cassandra emerged as one her most significant and compelling performances and this DVD is also a stand-out release among Domingo's extensive filmography.

  • Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake [1996] Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake | DVD | (20/07/1998) from £9.80  |  Saving you £8.19 (45.50%)  |  RRP £17.99

    This Swan Lake was the unexpected popular hit of 1996, when radical choreographer Matthew Bourne took Tchaikovsky's traditional ballet by the scruff of the neck and reworked it with a myriad of modern influences and themes to astonishing effect. Seldom have the dark psychological riptides at the heart of so many classical ballets been so brilliantly exposed. The Prince (Scott Ambler) is a wretched and dissolute young man dominated by his mother, the Joan Collins-like Queen (Fiona Ambler). Shades of Tennessee Williams, indeed. Von Rothbart becomes a press secretary, more sinister éminence grise than hissable villain. Most startling of all, The Swan (Adam Cooper) is a muscular, emphatically masculine male. Bourne has stressed the universality of his interpretation, which proved such a success for his Adventures in Motion Pictures dance company. And indeed this is never an overtly "gay" Swan Lake, although the electricity of the pas de deux at the height of Act 2 delivers a palpably homoerotic charge. Its universal threads--as Bourne suggests, the need to be held and understood is common to us all--are synthesised in the utterly moving conclusion as the Swan cradles the lifeless Prince and raises him to a better place. Swan Lake becomes a human, rather than simply romantic, tragedy. On the DVD: Swan Lake is presented in full screen 4:3 video format and this version would certainly have benefited from widescreen to show off the dazzling court and night club scenes as well as the lake and the impact of the all-male swan corps de ballet. But the lush Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound serves the rich interpretation of Tchaikovsky's score from The New London Orchestra to handkerchief-wringing effect. Extras include menu-driven resumes and a synopsis. --Piers Ford

  • Liszt - Mayerling Liszt - Mayerling | DVD | (03/03/2008) from £11.99  |  Saving you £3.00 (20.00%)  |  RRP £14.99

    Recorded live at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden London on 1st and 5th February 1994.

  • Madama Butterfly - Puccini [2004] Madama Butterfly - Puccini | DVD | (27/02/2006) from £N/A  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £24.99

    The production stars Fiorenza Cedolins in the lead role and renowned tenor Marcello Giordani as her Pinkerton. The performance was conducted by Daniel Oren who has worked with the opera festival for more than two decades.Recorded live at the Arena di Verona 10 July 2004.

  • Tchaikovsky Gala (Swan Lake/Sleeping Beauty/The Nutcracker) Roberto Bolle / La Scala [Blu-ray] [2007] Tchaikovsky Gala (Swan Lake/Sleeping Beauty/The Nutcracker) Roberto Bolle / La Scala | Blu Ray | (24/11/2008) from £21.25  |  Saving you £8.74 (29.10%)  |  RRP £29.99

  • Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) -- Glyndebourne [1994] Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) -- Glyndebourne | DVD | (25/10/1999) from £6.67  |  Saving you £7.20 (40.00%)  |  RRP £17.99

    Mozart's immortal adaptation of Beaumarchais' satirical tale has always been a Glyndebourne staple, so it was appropriate that this delightfully traditional production of Le Nozze di Figaro was chosen to reopen a refurbished Gyndebourne in May, 1994. Here, John Gunter's set design is airy and uncluttered, leaving the actors plenty of breathing space, while director Stephen Medcalf likewise allows the characters to speak (and sing) for themselves. Gerald Finley's Figaro and Alison Hagley's Susanna make a charming central pairing; Renee Fleming and Andreas Schmidt are a formidable aristocratic duo, while Marie-Ange Todorovitch fills Cherubino's trousers with pleasing playfulness. Haitink and the London Philharmonic sparkle, as of course they should. Unfussily filmed, this is as close to the real thing as you are likely to get without a Glyndebourne season ticket.On the DVD: This is a double-sided disc requiring a changeover between Acts 2 and 3. With a running-time of 189 minutes, the disc is no longer than some epic Hollywood movies, so such flipping is hard to justify. But at least opera lends itself to natural breaks like this. The sound options are Dolby stereo or 5.1 and the picture is in 4:3 ratio. Subtitles are provided in English, French or German and the booklet contains a plot synopsis. --Mark Walker

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