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  • Puccini: Tosca -- 1976 film version Puccini: Tosca -- 1976 film version | DVD | (15/10/2001) from £N/A  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Opera is an inherently theatrical medium that does not lend itself readily to the realism of film treatment. The shining exception is Puccini's Tosca, an action-packed melodrama that unfolds in three taut and gripping acts, like the meatiest of Hollywood films noir. And unlike most operas, these three acts are set in three very specific Roman locales. Thus this 1976 film takes place in the church of Sant'Andrea della Valle (Act 1), the Palazzo Farnese (Act 2) and the Castel Sant'Angelo (Act 3). The evocative settings, however, would be mere window-dressing if the cast wasn't just right; fortunately here Placido Domingo is at his virile peak in the heroic tenor role of Cavaradossi; Raina Kabaivanska is a sultry, vocally beautiful Tosca; while a more infamous and domineering Scarpia than that of Sherrill Milnes can hardly be imagined. Bruno Bartoletti and the New Philharmonia Orchestra give lustily dramatic support. Here the music and vocals are pre-recorded and the singers mime to the playback. Occasionally the result is a little unnatural, but overall the cast are good enough actors to bring off the conceit even in the close-ups. It all pays off triumphantly with the gripping realism of the rooftop finale, the one place where film can improve on stage. With the authenticity of the settings assured and such distinguished leads singing so well, this is an almost ideal filmed Tosca. On the DVD: Tosca on disc is presented in 4:3 ratio with a choice of Dolby 5.1 or LPCM Stereo. The picture is adequate but a little flat (possibly because the format is NTSC not PAL) and the same can be said for the sound, which does what it should but is never revelatory. Subtitles are provided in the main European languages and Chinese. --Mark Walker

  • La Bayadere [1994] La Bayadere | DVD | (25/10/1999) from £10.59  |  Saving you £7.40 (41.10%)  |  RRP £17.99

    A ballet in three acts by Rudolf Nureyev from the Palais Garnier. The story follows the doomed love affair between a warrior and a bayadere who is later killed by her rival...

  • Peter Grimes - Benjamin Britten [1994] Peter Grimes - Benjamin Britten | DVD | (25/03/2003) from £17.83  |  Saving you £7.16 (28.70%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Benjamin Britten's dour masterpiece Peter Grimes has been well-served in video recordings, yet this stark, intense production may become the top choice for most viewers. One of its major attractions is outstanding camerawork, under the direction of Barrie Gavin, powerfully reinforcing the shifting moods created by the music. The photography is notable in frequent close-ups, particularly those that focus on the ravaged, vulnerable and intensely expressive face of Philip Langridge in the title role. His interpretation is strikingly different from that of his chief video rival, Jon Vickers, who presents a more burly characterisation. The ambiguities in the role of Grimes make it possible to emphasise either strength or vulnerability in this story of an alienated fisherman, who stands virtually alone against a small (and small-minded society), vast forces of nature and a run of bad luck. His young apprentice has died (possibly because of his neglect or brutality); he is legally acquitted but found guilty by his neighbours and forbidden to take another boy as apprentice. He ignores that warning, the second boy dies accidentally, and he commits suicide under intense public pressure. Langridge gives a striking account of the role's psychological depth and complexity, aided by a well-chosen and directed cast. James Atherton conducts expertly. The chorus and orchestra are first-class, and the famous sea interludes, which have found a secure place in the concert repertoire, are visually enhanced by views of the ocean and shoreline. --Joe McLellan

  • Parsifal - Wagner Parsifal - Wagner | DVD | (29/03/2005) from £25.99  |  Saving you £9.00 (25.70%)  |  RRP £34.99

    Nikolaus Lehnoff's visionary staging of Wagner's opera for ENO.

  • Andrea Bocelli - Sacred Arias [1999] Andrea Bocelli - Sacred Arias | DVD | (03/12/2007) from £6.30  |  Saving you £3.50 (23.30%)  |  RRP £14.99

    In reflecting on this DVD of sacred arias it is significant that Andrea Bocelli refers to the dawn of 'a new millennium' and it is appropriate that this concert was taped in Rome. In no other city of the world did the millennium have such immediate resonance and what better place for the recording of a universal jubilee celebrating the two-thousandth anniversary of the birth of Christ?

  • Lesley Garrett - Desert Dreams [2003] Lesley Garrett - Desert Dreams | DVD | (12/07/2004) from £15.68  |  Saving you £-9.58 (-59.90%)  |  RRP £15.99

    Lesley Garrett is the focus of a small performing troupe who choose the desert as their stage. With songs and arias from the Barogue period to the modern day she brings this stark mysterious location to life.Tracklisting01. Soave Sia Il Vento02. If Music Be The Food Of Love03. Stabat Mater - 1st movement04. O Delle Mie Speranze05. Dido's Lament06. Where The Bee Sucks07. Song To The Moon08. Apres Un Reve09. Sure On This Shinin

  • New York City Ballet Workout [2000] New York City Ballet Workout | DVD | (03/01/2005) from £13.92  |  Saving you £4.07 (22.60%)  |  RRP £17.99

    The New York City Ballet Workout routine was developed by Peter Martins and the New York City Ballet along with the New York Sports Club. If you envy the ballet dancer's long, lean body and graceful, elegant movements, then this beautifully produced video is for you. First watch the rippling muscles of four gorgeous ballet dancers (two bare-midriffed women and two bare-chested men) performing the warm-up moves to classical ballet music, while Martins narrates: no ballet technique is taught, so it's look-and-follow if you have no previous ballet training. Then get down on a mat for slow lower-body stretches. A difficult abdominal series is next, followed by "floor barre" exercises to tone the thighs and buttocks while still using the abdominals, then moves to strengthen the back and upper body. Next is a series of standing exercise segments using various ballet movements to strengthen the legs and postural/balance muscles. The workout is divided into 17 short sections, which may give it a disjointed feeling if you're used to more continuity. At the end is a bonus sequence with profiles of the four performers, all dancers with the New York City Ballet. We get to watch them performing, practicing, and eating. One dancer makes the point that ballet is very athletic, but because it's supposed to look ethereal, the hard work stays hidden from the audience. If you love ballet (even just watching it), you'll enjoy this workout. (By the way, Sarah Jessica Parker introduces the video, but does not have any other role in it.) --Joan Price, Amazon.com

  • New York City Ballet - The Complete Workout - 1 And 2 [2006] New York City Ballet - The Complete Workout - 1 And 2 | DVD | (15/01/2007) from £26.35  |  Saving you £3.64 (12.10%)  |  RRP £29.99

    A deluxe edition DVD set comprised of the best-selling fitness videos New York City Ballet Workout Volume 1 and 2. These workouts are designed to help you develop the strength grace and poise of a dancer. An excellent alternative to fast paced high-energy workout routines this unique exercise program balances art life and fitness into the perfect workout for any age or fitness level. Whether you love ballet or are simply searching for an alternative workout regimen designed to produce a strong graceful body this program will deliver exceptional results.

  • Verdi - Aida Verdi - Aida | DVD | (10/09/2007) from £13.59  |  Saving you £1.40 (9.30%)  |  RRP £14.99

    Alagna: Aida

  • My First Ballet Lesson My First Ballet Lesson | DVD | (18/12/2006) from £5.98  |  Saving you £-0.99 (-19.80%)  |  RRP £4.99

    'Today I went to Ballet class and made some new friends. Our teacher's name is Terri Williams who writes all her own songs and dances which are great fun and helps us to remember our moves. My first Ballet lesson was great!'

  • Romeo And Juliet Romeo And Juliet | DVD | (27/06/2005) from £10.59  |  Saving you £7.40 (41.10%)  |  RRP £17.99

    Since its performance by The Royal Ballet in 1965 Sir Kenneth MacMillan's masterpiece Romeo and Juliet has been one of the greatest successes in the repertory winning world wide acclaim. His powerful and sensual choreography thrillingly captures the passion and agony of Shakespeare's tragedy alongside Prokofiev's glorious score. The classic performance filmed at Covent Garden in 1984 stars Wayne Eagling and Alessandra Ferri as the lovers both of whom dance their roles with tremendous intensity.

  • New York City Ballet Workout 2 [2003] New York City Ballet Workout 2 | DVD | (03/01/2005) from £11.48  |  Saving you £6.51 (36.20%)  |  RRP £17.99

    New York City Ballet 2, like its bestselling predecessor, is still designed to sculpt and tone your body; but this second edition has also learned the lessons of the original routine, which was difficult to use for those without formal ballet training. This second workout attempts to be accessible to all, providing a glossary explaining ballet terminology and introducing such steps as Plies and Tendus. Be warned though, this will still take practise if you are new to ballet. The routine itself is also less demanding than the first, but includes one of the best abs workouts to be found on an exercise programme. While the steps do not offer a cardio workout, they are enjoyable once mastered and will make you feel more graceful. Combining ballet and yoga is all the rage at gyms, so a good tip is to tie this in with your favourite yoga programme for that ideal posture and definition. All in all this is a great improvement on the first edition and certainly more enjoyable than watching a Big Brother celebrity's dance routine. On the DVD: New York City Ballet 2 offers pristine images and a 5.1 Dolby sound. This works wonderfully on the choice of classical and contemporary tracks. There is also the option to develop your own routine, which is useful if you are never sure how much time you have spare to exercise. The DVD also offers a movement combination which slowly takes you through the steps to learn a dance sequence. --Nikki Disney

  • Masters of Cinema - Judex/Nuits Rouges Masters of Cinema - Judex/Nuits Rouges | DVD | (25/08/2008) from £8.59  |  Saving you £16.40 (65.60%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Judex (1963): The magical rarely seen Judex directed by the great Georges Franju (Eyes Without a Face) was largely unappreciated at the time of its release in 1963. This lyrical and dreamlike picture a putative remake of Louis Feuillade's own 1916 Judex is as evocative of the silent master's own works as it is the later films of Jean Cocteau and Salvador Dali. A French reviewer wrote in 1963: The whole of Judex reminds us that film is a privileged medium for the expression of poetic magic. Starring the magician Channing Pollock the divine Edith Scob and the mesmerising Francine Berg'' Judex concerns a wicked banker his helpless daughter and a mysterious avenger. It plays like a fairy tale one in which Franju creates a dazzling clash between good and evil eschewing interest in the psychological aspects of his characters for unexplained twists and turns in the action. The beautifully controlled imagery superbly rendered by Marcel Fradetal's black-against-white photography animates a natural world and the spirits of animals all at war with a host of diabolical forces. Franju's Judex and Nuits Rouges both paid overt homage to the surreal silent serial-works of Feuillade. Scripted in collaboration with Feuillade's grandson Jacques Champreux these films evince the same poetic magic that made the art of that earlier master a cause c''l''bre not only for the Surrealist movement but also for the world renowned Cin''math''que Fran''aise. It was the Cin''math''que (co-founded by the legendary Henri Langlois with Franju) that helped resurrect the reputation of Feuillade decades after he'd slipped out of the public consciousness. Nuits Rouges (1973): Nuits Rouges [Red Nights] released in the UK as Shadowman was the second Franju Champreux meditation upon the films of Feuillade. It aggressively escalates a pulp atmosphere steeped in shocking turns of events to an even more vertiginous level. Here the object of pursuit is the fabled treasure of the mythical order of the Knights Templar which the filmmakers use as the jump-off point for staging a series of fantastic set-pieces. As the Fant''mas-esque arch-criminal (known only as The Man Without a Face played by Jacques Champreux himself) violently pursues the treasure the action intensifies amongst a cadre of post '68 bohemians the Paris police bureau and a cult of cowled conspirators. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Georges Franju's two most mindbending films on DVD in the UK for the first time.

  • Sleeping Beauty Sleeping Beauty | DVD | (07/11/2011) from £16.49  |  Saving you £0.00 (0.00%)  |  RRP £17.99

    When Rudolf Nureyev created a new version of The Sleeping Beauty for the Paris Opera Ballet in 1989, Tchaikovsky's richest, most gem-studded score was about to celebrate its 100th birthday. He made some modifications to the original score and stagings, but basically took Marius Petipa's choreography and polished it with the greatest of respect for what he dubbed "the ballet of ballets". Ten years later, the Opera Bastille adopted his version in a sumptuous new production, and what a sensory experience it turns out to be. For one thing, the brilliance of the classical sets and costumes fills the huge stage of the Opera Bastille with extravagant glamour. For another, the quality of the dancing is superb at every level. Aurélie Dupont as Princess Aurore and Manuel Legris as her Prince Désiré trigger sublime romance in their ultimate pas de deux. Other highlights include Nathalie Aubin's sinuously evil Carabosse, finally managing to deliver the fateful needle in a bunch of flowers before meeting her match in the Lilac Fairy, and the parade of fairy-tale characters in Act III. This is a connoisseur's production, true. It celebrates one of the greatest classical ballets and the genius of one of the greatest dancers. But it is also a superb entertainment, certain to generate a festive thrill in the chilliest of hearts. On the DVD: Excellent sound quality (Dolby Digital 2.0) and the 16:9 picture format do proper justice to the sweeping, theatrical scale of the production. The disc also includes printable articles on Petipa's and Nureyev's choreography and a link to NVC Arts' Web site. The comprehensive booklet includes explanations of Nureyev's alterations, a brief history of the ballet and a plot synopsis. --Piers Ford

  • Rossini: L'Italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers) [1987] Rossini: L'Italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers) | DVD | (04/12/2000) from £6.60  |  Saving you £3.94 (15.80%)  |  RRP £24.99

    L'Italiana in Algeri, Rossini's first real hit as a writer of comic opera, is one of those almost unsinkable works difficult to get entirely right. Michael Hampe's production for the 1987 Schwetzinger festival captures both its charm and its sense of menace--the court of the Bey is both a setting for farce and a place in which the Italian characters are at the mercy of a despot who will not necessarily find things funny. Gunther von Kannen's Mustafa is a convincing Bey of Algiers, with all the arrogance of power and the vulnerability to mockery that goes with it. His adversary, the tough witty proto-feminist Isabella, is given real presence in Doris Soffel's performance--it is entirely credible, listening to her throaty mezzo, that everyone else should be more-than-a-little in love with her. The slightly effete tenor of Robert Gambill as her lover Lindoro makes him a perfect partner in intrigue for her. Conducting Rossini is not just a matter of winding the crescendos up and letting them go; Ralf Weikert is particularly fine in the complicated finale of Act One with its imitations of bells and drums and its complicated vocal lines. The DVD comes with menu material in English, French, German and Spanish, and with English, French and German subtitles; the stereo sound is particularly crisp. --Roz Kaveney

  • Michael Flatley - Celtic Tiger Michael Flatley - Celtic Tiger | DVD | (03/04/2006) from £2.94  |  Saving you £16.46 (74.90%)  |  RRP £21.99

    The international acclaimed master of dance Michael Flatley returns to the stage to spearhead his powerful new 90 minute dance spectacular Celtic Tiger. With his unrivalled skill and artistry Flatley ignites the world of dance once again with a bold dramatic and daring production which fuses the spirit of Ireland with its history with dance and music. The result is an epic masterpiece in which Irish dance is delivered as a dynamic and powerful art form. Perfromance list: Act I: 1.The Heartbeat of the Tiger 2.Dancing in the Dark 3.St Patrick 4.The Sleeping Tiger 5.The Vikings 6.Celtic Fire 7.The Garden of Eden 8.The Red Coats 9.The Famine 10.Four Green Fields 11.Bloody Sunday 12.A Call to Arms 13.The 1916 Rising 14.The Banshee 15.A Nation Once Again Act Two: 1.Freedom 2.A New World 3.The Lost Rose 5.Celtic Kittens 6.Capone 7.Forever Free 8.Cowboy Cheerleaders 9.These Colours Don't Run 10.Yankee Doodle Dandy 11.Celtic Fire II 12.The Celtic Tiger

  • Homage A Sevilla - Placido Domingo Homage A Sevilla - Placido Domingo | DVD | (19/03/2007) from £10.50  |  Saving you £3.49 (24.90%)  |  RRP £13.99

    Placido DomingoHommage A SevillaWith scenes from Don Giovanni, Carmen, Fidelio, Il Barbiere Di Siviglia, La Forza Del Destino, El Gato Montes.

  • Albert Herring - Glyndebourne Festival Opera Albert Herring - Glyndebourne Festival Opera | DVD | (05/09/2005) from £10.59  |  Saving you £7.40 (41.10%)  |  RRP £17.99

    Set in an English market town at the turn of 20th century a gangling greengrocer's lad is crowded May King. The break with the tradition of choosing a girl is virtuous enough to May Queen... The comic opera at Glyndebourne was conducted by Bernard Haitink. 'A Vintage production with a vintage cast.' - Sunday Times.

  • Turn Of The Screw - Britten Turn Of The Screw - Britten | DVD | (21/01/2005) from £18.99  |  Saving you £6.00 (24.00%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Benjamin Britten's haunting and sinister opera composed in 1954 is based on the famous novella written by Henry James in 1898. Katie Mitchell's atmospheric and innovative film of the opera returns to the late 19th century setting of the original tale to a world where it is hard to tell ghosts from mere reflections in the glass. There have been many discussions about what happened to the children in both the novella and Britten's opera. This production with an inspired cast led by excellent performances from Lisa Milne and Mark Padmore remains true to both sources. The rich dark imagery entices the viewer exposing the deepest layers of the tantalising unnamed and hidden past relationships between the two servants and the children in one of the greatest operas of the 20th century.

  • Red Star Red Army Chorus And Dance Ensemble Red Star Red Army Chorus And Dance Ensemble | DVD | (24/04/2006) from £10.59  |  Saving you £7.40 (41.10%)  |  RRP £17.99

    This concert given by the magnificent Russian troupe the Red Star Red Army Chorus and Dance Ensemble was recorded at the Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow prior to a nationwide tour of the United States in the autumn of 1992. The 100-strong Ensemble was first formed within the USSR armed forces in 1977 performing concerts primarily for the army. Their repertoire ranges from popular folk tunes and songs of battle from all corners of the former Soviet Union to spectacular Cossack dancing and includes Glinka's Patriotic Song and Kamarinskaya Rimsky- Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee and folk songs Kalinka Dark Eyes A Birch Tree Stood in the Meadow Happy Girl and Seven Sons-in-Law. All are performed with energy enthusiasm and patriotic fervour.

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