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  • Verdi: Il Trovatore -- Opera Australia [1983] Verdi: Il Trovatore -- Opera Australia | DVD | (05/06/2002) from £21.25  |  Saving you £3.74 (15.00%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Il Trovatore, Verdi's 1853 maelstrom of passion, infanticide, double-crossing and revenge, would be a mightily gamy affair if it didn't contain some of his finest arias, a cracker of a tenor's role and one of opera's most powerfully-written characters in the old gypsy woman, Azucena. Although Joan Sutherland, who plays the self-sacrificing lady-in-waiting Leonora in this 1983 Australia Opera production at Sydney Opera House, is the headline star, in truth the supreme assets of this recording are mezzo-soprano Lauris Elms' Azucena, a beautifully sung performance of haunted, wild-eyed sadness; and Sydney Nolan's wonderfully infernal sets, all purple and burnt ochre with suggestions of distorted faces. Sutherland came late to a part which allowed her to sing up a storm without taxing her rather stolid acting style. Her husband and musical director Richard Bonynge gives her the space to unleash some of Verdi's most fluidly opulent melodies--"D'amor sull'ali rosee" is a case in point--whose beauty is often at odds with the underlying horrors of the tale, based on a rather dodgy Spanish melodrama by Gutierrez. Sutherland has strong support from tenor Kenneth Collins as the doomed Manrico and Jonathan Summers as the vengeful Count. On the DVD: Il Trovatore on disc offers the inevitable shortcomings of a filmed for television performance: to the detriment of Nolan's designs (and the hard-pressed make-up team), the lighting doesn't translate well to video. Presented in 4:3 picture format, the quality is frequently murky. The PCM Stereo soundtrack also has its flat and fuzzy moments, particularly during chorus scenes ("Vedi! Le fosche notturne spoglie") when the orchestra drowns out the singing. But on the whole Sutherland et al sound great.--Piers Ford

  • Die Zauberflote - Mozart [1989] Die Zauberflote - Mozart | DVD | (29/05/2006) from £21.25  |  Saving you £3.74 (15.00%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Mozart: Die Zauberflote (Ostman)

  • Cecilia Bartoli - Live In Italy [1998] Cecilia Bartoli - Live In Italy | DVD | (25/06/2001) from £9.64  |  Saving you £7.35 (43.30%)  |  RRP £16.99

    Cecilia Bartoli gives a performance from Teatro Olimpico Vincenza Italy. The tracklist includes 'Voi Che Sapete' Seguedille' and many more.

  • Donizetti: La Fille du Regiment (Daughter of the Regiment) [1974] Donizetti: La Fille du Regiment (Daughter of the Regiment) | DVD | (24/09/2007) from £19.01  |  Saving you £5.98 (23.90%)  |  RRP £24.99

    The Daughter Of The Regiment - Opera in Two Acts by Gaetano Donizetti.Recorded at the Wolf Trap Festival 1974.

  • Tosca's Kiss Tosca's Kiss | DVD | (06/09/2004) from £14.59  |  Saving you £-0.60 (-4.30%)  |  RRP £13.99

    Daniel Schmid's film set in a home for retired opera singers in Casa Di Riposa in Milan. Characters are seen re-enacting their greatest moments in a film which centres on the aging process and inspirational music

  • A Gala Concert With Joan Sutherland And Marilyn Horne A Gala Concert With Joan Sutherland And Marilyn Horne | DVD | (06/08/2001) from £6.63  |  Saving you £11.47 (57.40%)  |  RRP £19.99

    In 1986 one of opera's legendary partnerships was celebrated in A Gala Concert with Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne at Sydney Opera House. Under the musical direction of Sutherland's husband and long term conductor Richard Bonynge, the great soprano and mezzo soprano treated their audience to an epic evening of solos and duets from works with which they had long since become indelibly linked. The concert was preserved and transmitted as an Esso-sponsored night at the opera by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Each diva is given ample room to shine individually. Here in all their glory are Sutherland's "Les Oiseaux dans la Charmille", the mechanical doll's aria from Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmann and Horne's "Iris, Hence Away" from Handel's Semele. Magical duets include "Serbami Ognor si Fido" (Rossini's Semiramide), "Viens Mallika, les Lianes en Fleurs" (Delibes' Lakme, much-used in their advertisements by British Airways) and of course the "Barcarolle" from Hoffmann. The overwhelming effect is of their passion for the music and the great professional respect and friendship which Sutherland and Horne clearly feel for each other as two of the greatest champions of the bel canto repertoire in living memory. Essential viewing for anyone remotely interested in operatic history. On the DVD: Digitally restored and remastered from the original tape, this disc at least offers the benefit of crystalline PCM stereo sound quality. In all other respects, it is a television production which inevitably shows its age. The curtain calls and long waits between every item, while Horne and Sutherland are fetched singly or together by Bonynge, are interminable and should have been cut. The 4:3 picture format is sharp enough and reveals the cumbersome dullness of the staging in all its glory. But none of this detracts from the wonder of two appealing prima donnas near their vocal peak. --Piers Ford

  • R. Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier - Royal Opera House/Solti [1985] R. Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier - Royal Opera House/Solti | DVD | (23/02/2004) from £10.59  |  Saving you £7.40 (41.10%)  |  RRP £17.99

    Strauss' dazzling opera Der Rosenkavalier set in 1740's Vienna combines farce romance and a world of weary acknowledgement of getting older. It features some of the most gorgeous music ever written for the female voice.

  • Giselle [1983] Giselle | DVD | (11/06/2001) from £10.59  |  Saving you £7.40 (41.10%)  |  RRP £17.99

    The strength of the Kirov Ballet's Giselle is also, in a sense, its principal weakness: this is a no-gimmicks, no-frills production in a performing tradition that goes back to the introduction of the work to Russia in the mid-19th century. The advantage of this is that, after all, Adam's ballet is a work of deliberate naiveté, in which a village maiden dies of a broken heart over the mere fact that her lover has deceived her about his social class; there is no subtext here nor any need for any. Galina Mezentseva is more or less perfect, both in the delicate simplicity of her every gesture and movement and in the overall sweetness and devotion that they convey; Konstantin Zaklinsky is an equally fine Albrecht--for once we entirely believe in his absence of malicious intent and welcome his salvation from her vengeful fellow ghosts. Of the others, Gennadi Selyutsky is a slightly melodramatic Hilarion, whose death in terror is a fine piece of high Victorian theatre, and Tatyana Terekhova makes the spirits' leader a figure in whom terrifying justice and vengefulness are united. On the DVD: The DVD has no frills either except for a link to the NVC-arts Web site; the booklet provides a synopsis and, criminally, no other information about either ballet, production or stars. --Roz Kaveney

  • Rudolf Nureyev's Romeo And Juliet [1995] Rudolf Nureyev's Romeo And Juliet | DVD | (10/04/2000) from £10.59  |  Saving you £7.40 (41.10%)  |  RRP £17.99

    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

  • Christopher Bruce's Triple Bill Christopher Bruce's Triple Bill | DVD | (12/07/2006) from £20.05  |  Saving you £4.94 (19.80%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Three features from choreographer Christopher Bruce including: 'Silence Is The End Of Our Song (1983)' 'Rooster (1994)' and 'Swansong (1989)'.

  • A Midsummer Night's Dream - Glyndebourne Festival Opera [1981] A Midsummer Night's Dream - Glyndebourne Festival Opera | DVD | (02/08/2004) from £12.43  |  Saving you £5.56 (30.90%)  |  RRP £17.99

    Benjamin Britten's enchanting opera adapted from Shakespeare's most English play is just the thing for a summer evening at Glyndebourne. In Peter Hall's magical and highly-acclaimed production for Glyndebourne Festival Opera filmed in 1981 the wood literally comes alive a perfetc setting for the mystical world of lovers fairies and rustics. The gorgeous and imaginative sets costume and lighting designs are by John Bury. Ileana Cotrubas is a majestic Tytiana James Bowman is a

  • Boris Godunov - Mussorgsky [1992] Boris Godunov - Mussorgsky | DVD | (05/08/2002) from £8.00  |  Saving you £0.83 (5.50%)  |  RRP £14.99

    The legendary Russian film director Andrei Tarkovsky helmed his one and only opera in 1983 with this famed production of Mussorgsky's 'Boris Godunov'. Staged at London's famed Royal Opera House the staging features Robert Lloyd giving a masterful performance in the title role. Conductor Valery Gergiev known primarily for his fine work leading St. Petersburg's Kirov Opera takes the baton.

  • Die Entfuhrung Aus Dem Serail - Mozart [1980] Die Entfuhrung Aus Dem Serail - Mozart | DVD | (01/08/2005) from £12.15  |  Saving you £2.84 (18.90%)  |  RRP £14.99

    Recorded at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera 1980

  • Verdi - Macbeth Verdi - Macbeth | DVD | (22/10/2007) from £14.99  |  Saving you £7.00 (31.80%)  |  RRP £21.99

    Verdi Macbeth

  • Tosca - Puccini [1976] Tosca - Puccini | DVD | (09/05/2005) from £15.39  |  Saving you £1.60 (9.40%)  |  RRP £16.99

    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

  • Wagner: Parsifal Wagner: Parsifal | DVD | (14/10/2002) from £18.65  |  Saving you £3.34 (15.20%)  |  RRP £21.99

    A performance of Wagner's opera 'Parsifal' featuring the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus. Conducted by James Levine. The action takes place in the Middle Ages. At the castle of Monsalvat cut off from the rest of the world the brotherhood of Grail Knights guards the chalice in which the blood of the crucified Saviour had once been caught. In an effort to seize possession of the Grail Klingsor a powerful magician has established his realm at the foot of the mountain peop

  • Lucia Di Lammermoor Lucia Di Lammermoor | DVD | (21/05/2004) from £8.85  |  Saving you £1.14 (11.40%)  |  RRP £9.99

    Donizetti's great tragedy is his undisputed masterpiece of melancholic romanticism with the doomed love between Lucia and Edgardo retold from Scott's novel The Bride of Lammermoor. The 1992 production heightens the story's powerful libretto with its dramatic visual design and first-class musical performances. Unlocked from the archives of RAI television this is a classic recording from one of the world's great opera houses.

  • Luciano Pavarotti - The Italian Opera Collection - L'Ellsir D'Amore/La Boheme/Pagliacci Luciano Pavarotti - The Italian Opera Collection - L'Ellsir D'Amore/La Boheme/Pagliacci | DVD | (18/02/2008) from £25.25  |  Saving you £4.00 (12.90%)  |  RRP £30.99

    Giacomo Puccini's La Boheme and Il tabarro, Ruggiero Leoncavallo's Pagliacci and Gaetano Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore, performed by The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by James Levine.

  • Puccini: La Fanciulla del West Puccini: La Fanciulla del West | DVD | (22/09/2003) from £10.19  |  Saving you £7.80 (43.40%)  |  RRP £17.99

    Piero Faggioni's highly-acclaimed Royal Opera production of 'The Girl of the Golden West' filmed in 1983 stars the incomparable Placido Domingo and American soprano Carol Neblett. It is considered by many the definitive production of this work and hasn't been available on video for 10 years. Faggioni's amazing production brings the opera vividly to life. The realistic timbered sets are by Oscar-winning designer Ken Adam whose film work includes ""Dr Strangelove"" and a number of Ja

  • Donizetti: L'Elisir D'Amore (The Elixir of Love) Donizetti: L'Elisir D'Amore (The Elixir of Love) | DVD | (11/03/2002) from £15.39  |  Saving you £0.60 (3.80%)  |  RRP £15.99

    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

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