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Rudolf Nureyev's Romeo And Juliet | DVD | (10/04/2000)
from £10.57 | Saving you £7.42 (41.20%) | RRP
The combination of Prokofiev's masterful score with Nureyev's choreography for the ballet company of the Paris Opera could hardly make this Romeo and Juliet anything but a success. However, as it's Nureyev, God is in the detail, and while the sheer exuberance of Manuel Legris and Monique Loudieres in the leading roles is undeniable, it's the little things that count, such as Romeo's shyness as he shuffles from one foot to another in the presence of the object of his affections (it's one thing to do dying swans and amorous raptures, but not everyone can effectively choreograph a fidget). The production is visually stunning, although there's an am-dram overstatedness to the glary lighting thatcan take one aback somewhat. What's very good indeed, however, is the presence of surround and stereo audio options and a multi-angle option, which are all too often omitted altogether from dance DVDs. The booklet notes are detailed but unfussy.--Roger Thomas
Stravinsky: The Firebird & Les Noces -- Royal Ballet | DVD | (12/09/2002)
from £20.41 | Saving you £4.58 (18.30%) | RRP
Two very different Stravinsky ballets are here presented by The Royal Ballet: the traditional, colourful designs perfectly suit the opulence of The Firebird, contrasting with the later, more austere, ritualistic scoring and choreography of Les Noces ("The Wedding"). Firebird is a traditional fairytale: the Prince gets his girl (a princess, naturally), with a little help from a magical Firebird, by defeating the evil Kostchei, who's holding the Princess and her fellow maidens captive. The devil notoriously gets all the best tunes, and with the riveting presence of David Drew's Kostchei it's apparent that baddies get the best moves in dance, too. Leanne Benjamin is an immensely athletic Firebird and Jonathan Cope, as the Prince, dances with style and personality. Les Noces is, by contrast, a genuine ensemble piece, with the principals (the bride and groom) being almost less important than the corps de ballet itself. There are a few moments of less-than-perfect ensemble here, but these pale into insignificance in the face of the raw power of Stravinsky's angular music (scored for four pianos, percussion and chorus with solo voices). A third item finds Stravinsky conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra in his own Firebird Suite. The date was 1965 and he was a frail 83 at the time, but the concentration of the reading is compelling, as is his own stern visage, only breaking into a smile at the very end of the performance. This is an excellent filler for a first-rate ballet release. On the DVD: The Firebird & Les Noces on this disc are presented with terrific technical values, both visually and in sound quality (the Stravinsky archive performance is in mono, however, but it's perfectly respectable). This is a real feast for the eye, backed up by solid documentation in the booklet and excellent additional features--David Drew's arch and entertaining "Nijinska's World" and behind-the-scenes rehearsal footage--that will appeal to both seasoned ballet fans and those who are new to the art form. --Harriet Smith
Stricly Come Dancing: The Live Tour | DVD | (10/11/2008)
from £5.59 | Saving you £15.35 (69.80%) | RRP
Packed full of glitz glamour show-stopping moves and more sequins than ever the hit BBC show Strictly Come Dancing is now live on stage... Glittering glamourous exciting and funny Strictly Come Dancing The Live Tour features all of your favourite elements from the series - including sequins and feathers bickering judges even the glitter ball - as each couple performs two dances to receive the expert judges scores and face the audience vote. Stars from all five series including celebrities Zo'' Ball Louisa Lytton James Martin Chris Parker Denise Lewis Letitia Dean Matt Di Angelo and Darren Gough join their professional partners such as Darren Bennett Flavia Cacace and Vincent Simone to tango foxtrot waltz jive rumba cha-cha-cha and pasa doble in front of judges Len Goodman Arlene Philips and Craig Revel Horwood and a packed arena audience. Introduced by Kate Thornton the show sees the couples battling for the glitter ball trophy.
Romeo And Juliet | DVD | (03/12/2001)
from £11.61 | Saving you £13.38 (53.50%) | RRP
Fonteyn And Nureyev - The Perfect Partnership | DVD | (02/07/2001)
from £8.75 | Saving you £6.64 (41.50%) | RRP
Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn created one of the most memorable partnerships in ballet history. This documentary features clips of the dynamic duo's most popular performances including the pas de deux from ""Le Corsaire"" and ""Swan Lake"" and excerpts from ""Romeo and Juliet"" and ""Les Sylphides"".
Cavalleria Rusticana - Mascagni / Pagliacci - Leoncavallo | DVD | (09/05/2005)
from £13.46 | Saving you £-0.90 (-6.40%) | RRP
The great Italian stage and screen director Franco Zeffirelli made these widely acclaimed films both starring Placido Domingo with Georges Pretre conducting the Orchestra and Chorus of La Scala. Pagliacci which co-stars the great singing actress Teresa Stratas brought Zeffirelli the coveted Emmy as Best Director in the category of Classical Music Programming. Cavalleria was filmed on location in Sicily which adds immeasurably to the power and atmosphere of this timeless story of love honour justice and violence.
Il Ritorno D'Ulisse In Patria - Monteverdi | DVD | (28/11/2005)
from £12.88 | Saving you £1.64 (10.90%) | RRP
Il Ritorno D'Ulisse In Patria - Recorded At The Glyndebourne Festival Opera 1973.
Madama Butterfly - Puccini | DVD | (09/05/2005)
from £13.85 | Saving you £0.14 (1.00%) | RRP
Of all Puccini's major operas, the intimate tragedy of Madama Butterfly is least in need of elaborate staging and might therefore benefit most from the close scrutiny of film. The story is domestic, the setting Spartan, the incidental characters kept to a minimum. This 1974 version, however, demonstrates that Butterfly still needs a healthy injection of proscenium arch melodrama. Director Jean-Pierre Ponelle's production strives for realism but remains unfortunately studio-bound, having neither the benefit of location filming nor the heightened reality of an opera stage. The exterior is a perpetually fog-shrouded heath of indeterminate locale; the interior is cramped and unadorned. The setting is just too prosaic to contain the epic emotions of grand opera. Thankfully, the cast is superb, headed by Placido Domingo's rakish Pinkerton and Mirella Freni's rubicund Butterfly. Their singing is incomparable, as is Herbert von Karajan's musical direction of the Vienna Phil. The singers mime to pre-recorded music, which is occasionally disconcerting since when film demands close-ups opera provides broad gestures. Musically, this Butterfly is impeccable. Visually it adds nothing that could not be seen to better effect in a stage version. On the DVD: Madama Butterfly is presented disappointingly on disc in a poor NTSC transfer full of distracting graininess that makes every scene, both inside and out, look like it takes place in an omnipresent drizzle. Sound is reasonable stereo and adequate 5.0 surround. There are subtitles in the major European languages as well as Chinese, and the booklet contains a background essay plus synopsis. --Mark Walker
Verdi - Simon Boccanegra | DVD | (10/09/2007)
from £15.99 | Saving you £1.00 (5.90%) | RRP
Sir Georg Solti - Verdi: Simon Boccanegra
The Bolshoi Ballet 2 | DVD | (31/03/2008)
from £24.81 | Saving you £8.70 (21.80%) | RRP
The Bolshoi Ballet 2 contains performances of:- Ivan The Terrible- The Stone Flower- Spartacus- RaymondaPerformances recorded at the Bolshoi Theatre, 1989, 1990.
Four Eyed Monsters | DVD | (01/09/2008)
from £N/A | Saving you £N/A (N/A%) | RRP
Arin and Susan met online - falling in love through e-mails notes videos and pictures. As their intimacy grew so did their fears. Neglect cheating and jealousy force the couple to question if they were actually in love or just engaged by their artistic collaboration together. As they try to escape the reality they've created together they are forced to finally address the question that kept them committed for so long in their romance and in their collaboration What is love?. This award winning project has engaged millions around the world who have followed this real couples story. For the first time ever the entire project now exists on one DVD that captures the evolution of a real modern relationship. Includes the original 8 episodes that put the relationship on a global stage plus 5 new highly anticipated episodes that expose the deterioating relationship and provide the conclusion to the relationship and the project.
Wagner-Der Ring Des Nibelunge | DVD | (02/07/2007)
from £32.67 | Saving you £27.32 (45.50%) | RRP
This legendary Bayreuth Festival production of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen directed by Harry Kupfer with designs by Hans Schavernoch and conducted by Daniel Barenboim is considered perhaps the finest video recording of these four operas ever made. For their innovative modernist staging Kupfer and his team turned away from the work's time of origin and located The Ring at a road of history a meeting-place of past present and future which sets the scene for the story's struggles of power and love. Barenboim's authoritative yet highly responsive reading of the immense score and the extraordinary performances of the cast help to make this a truly memorable Ring.
Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) -- Stuttgart | DVD | (06/03/2001)
from £20.05 | Saving you £4.94 (19.80%) | RRP
The point of a good production of Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia is to have a Rosina and a Figaro who will knock your socks off in their respective arias, while holding back enough in all those crescendo ensembles in which the farce plot reaches its several culminations that the other stars get a chance to shine too. Cecilia Bartoli and Gino Quilico give full-blooded enough performances when on stage by themselves that self-effacement seems far from imminent, yet both are capable of less, and give it when it is needed. Of the others, David Kuebler is an attractively raffish Almaviva, while Robert Lloyd turns Basilio into a memorable cameo. Gabriele Ferro is one of the most intelligent of Rossini conductors--he understands the relationship between the pulse of the music and its dramatic function, and he is also outstanding in the delicacy of phrasing, even in climaxes, that ensures that every voice, every instrument, gets the moment of glory Rossini intended. Michael Hampe's solid reliable unfussy production keeps everything moving without drawing attention to itself. The DVD has subtitles in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish, as well as trailers for other Arthaus Musik discs. --Roz Kaveney
Various Artists - Stars of the Russian Ballet | DVD | (05/04/2004)
from £17.43 | Saving you £2.64 (11.50%) | RRP
The second part of this three-part ballet film contains a most unusual event a one of a kind sequence in which two of the world's greatest ballerinas Galina Ulanova and Maya Plisetskaya dance together in a memorable performance of scenes from Boris Asafiev's ballet The Fountain of Bakhchisarai. This is the only filmed record of these two great dancers performing together and it provides a unique opportunity to compare their different styles.The first part of this film features Galina Ulanova in an abridged version of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. Utilizing dazzling visual effects this production takes full advantage of the artistic qualities of the cinema rather than merely recording the event.The great Georgian dancer Vakhtang Chabukiani is featured in the third part of this film in scenes from Boris Asafiev's homage to the French Revolution The Flames of Paris.
Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen -- Metropolitan/Levine | DVD | (14/10/2002)
from £45.99 | Saving you £0.00 (0.00%) | RRP
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
Carmen - Glyndebourne Festival Opera | DVD | (24/10/2005)
from £14.28 | Saving you £3.71 (20.60%) | RRP
Bernard Haitink conducts Maria Ewing and Barry McCauley in an interpretation of Bizet's Carmen. Maria Ewing's electric portrayal of the gypsy Carmen is one of the finest in recent memory. Her dark alluring looks and feline grace are exactly suited to playing the hot-blooded Spanish temptress who charms men with her sensuous wild spirit. Peter Hall's production filmed in 1985 reveals Bizet's opera as a torid drama of passion blood and squalor with sets by John Bury that capture the earthy warmth of Spain in an unglamorised view of the factory girls of Seville. Barry McCauley is a thrilling Don Jose Micaela is sung by Marie McLaughlin with Bernard Haitink conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Sylvia - Delibes And Neumeier | DVD | (03/01/2006)
from £N/A | Saving you £N/A (N/A%) | RRP
A performance by the Paris National Opera Company choreographed by John Neumeier. Recorded at the Opera National De Paris in March 2005.
Ballet Class for Beginners | DVD | (07/07/2008)
from £12.64 | Saving you £N/A (N/A%) | RRP
Tancredi | DVD | (01/08/2005)
from £9.97 | Saving you £15.02 (60.10%) | RRP
Bizet: Carmen -- film version | DVD | (13/03/2000)
from £9.10 | Saving you £N/A (N/A%) | RRP
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