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  • Torroba - Luisa Fernanda (Cobos, Madrid So/Chorus, Domingo) Torroba - Luisa Fernanda (Cobos, Madrid So/Chorus, Domingo) | DVD | (26/02/2007) from £6.99  |  Saving you £6.98 (27.90%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Recorded live at the Teatro Real, Madrid in July 2006.Placido Domingo heads an internationally renowned cast in Emilio Sagi's stylish new production for Madrid's Teatro Real of Moreno Torroba's Enduring Zarzuela, whose story itself is set in the Spanish capital. Filmed using High Definition cameras and recorded in true surround sound.

  • The Complete Drawing Course for Beginners - Part 1 The Complete Drawing Course for Beginners - Part 1 | DVD | (07/04/2008) from £4.79  |  Saving you £-0.80 (-20.10%)  |  RRP £3.99

    PART 1 - PERSPECTIVE You will be surprised at how much you learn in the very first exercise about perspective. Almost as soon as you switch your video on, you will be able to draw three-dimensions on a two dimensional surface. You will learn the principles of eye level and vanishing points, and you will soon be able to draw streets and objects, including those with elipses such as a wine glass. Be amazed as you watch your drawings come to life!

  • R. Strauss: Arabella -- Glyndebourne/Haitink [1984] R. Strauss: Arabella -- Glyndebourne/Haitink | DVD | (22/09/2003) from £N/A  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £17.99

    Richard Strauss's elegantly playful opera Arabella (sometimes close to operetta in style) gets a polished, light-hearted, but also serious production at the Glyndebourne Festival. Ashley Putnam gives a glowing performance in the title role and she has a strong supporting cast. John Cox's stage direction and Julia Trevelyan Oman's design create a convincing atmosphere of 19th-century Vienna (not without a dark side to provoke dramatic interest) and Bernard Haitink's conducting of the London Philharmonic is splendidly idiomatic, in the dramatic music as well as the waltz and folk dance melodies that brighten the score. Arabella is the last libretto written for Strauss by Hugo von Hofmannsthal before his untimely death, and it has the high literary value found in all his work, although he did not live to revise Acts II and III. The story focuses on a Viennese family--Count Waldemar, his wife Adelaide and two daughters, Arabella and Zdenka. They are living in genteel poverty and hoping that Arabella, who has several suitors, will marry well and recoup their fortune. They are so poor that Zdenka has been raised as a boy because the family cannot afford to bring out two daughters in Viennese society. A properly rich suitor, Mandryka, shows up and it is love at first sight, until Zdenka confuses the situation. She is in love with one of Arabella's suitors, Matteo, sends him love letters under Arabella's name and seduces him in a darkened bedroom under the pretence that she is Arabella. Mandrkya learns of the seduction but not of Zdenka's deception, and breaks off his engagement to Arabella. There is, of course, a happy ending. Putnam is sweet and troubled in stage presence, silvery in tone and totally charming. John Brocheler is an ardent, impetuous Mandryka and Gianna Rolandi is convincing in the rather difficult role of Zdenka. Gwendolyn Bradley makes an impressive appearance as Fiakermilli, the belle of the coachmen's ball in Act II, one of the opera's favourite features with Viennese audiences. --Joe McLellan

  • Handel: Alcina [1999] Handel: Alcina | DVD | (21/01/2002) from £21.03  |  Saving you £3.96 (15.80%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Produced with the cast of a year-2000 Stuttgart stage version, this performance of Handel's 1735 opera Alcina has been specially shot for home viewing without the audience present (though applause is heard during the closing credits). Director Janos Darvas enhances the usual low theatre illumination with stronger television-friendly lighting to provide more detail, and he also takes his cameras much closer to the artists than live performance permits, offering film-style close-ups that greatly enhance the drama. With just eight performers and an essentially static set--though some intriguing interesting things are done with a large "mirror"--this intimate approach proves an enormous advantage. Handel's complex tale of intense romantic entanglement on the island of the enchantress Alcina focuses as much on high-voltage acting as powerful music-making. The 20th-century costumes are initially disconcerting, but soon become part of a psychologically intense world where time seems out of joint and charged with otherwise-unimaginable emotional possibilities. As Alcina, Catherine Naglestad gives an extraordinary performance, both strikingly passionate and deeply sensual, her revealing costuming being just the most obvious sign of a production intent on the erotic. Though Naglestad dominates, each performer offers memorable characterisation and fine singing. On the DVD: Alcina comes to disc with an anamorphically enhanced 16:9 picture that is clear and detailed, while the PCM stereo audio is natural and is recorded with good presence. Other than various optional subtitles, including English, extras are entirely absent. Within the booklet is a brief biography of Handel, background notes on Alcina and a synopsis, but nothing on the artists or performance. --Gary S Dalkin

  • Romeo And Juliette - Berlioz Romeo And Juliette - Berlioz | DVD | (27/02/2006) from £16.75  |  Saving you £3.24 (16.20%)  |  RRP £19.99

    From the Kulturzentrum Gasteig MunichHector Berlioz - Romeo Et Juliette - Symphonie Dramatique op.17

  • Puccini: La Fanciulla del West Puccini: La Fanciulla del West | DVD | (22/09/2003) from £10.59  |  Saving you £7.40 (41.10%)  |  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

  • 20 Pack: Woman's Own (including Behind The Mask, Somewhere Tomorrow, Deadly Whispers, Do You Know The Muffing Man, Love Can Build A Bridge & 15 More) [2007] 20 Pack: Woman's Own (including Behind The Mask, Somewhere Tomorrow, Deadly Whispers, Do You Know The Muffing Man, Love Can Build A Bridge & 15 More) | DVD | (17/10/2007) from £N/A  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £19.99

    1. Behind the Mask (Dir. Tom McLoughlin 1999) 2. Somewhere Tomorrow (Dir. Robert Wiemer 1983) 3. Deadly Whispers (Dir. Bill L. Norton 1994) 4. Do You Know the Muffin Man? (Dir. Gilbert Cates 1989) 5. Love Can Build A Bridge (Dir. Bobby Roth 1995) 6. Murder Without Motive (Dir. Kevin Hooks 1992) 7. False Arrest (Dir. Bill L. Norton 1991) 8. Trapped in a Purple Haze (Dir. Eric Laneuville 2000) 9. Hard Evidence (Dir. Jan Egleson 1994) 10. Heart of the Lie (Dir. Jerry London 1992) 11. In a Stranger's Hand (Dir. David Greene 1991) 12. A Murderous Affair (Dir. Martin Davidson 1992) 13. Other Side of Love (Dir. Bethany Rooney 1991) 14. Out of the Ashes (Dir. Peter Werner 1990) 15. Rivals (Dir. Norma Bailey 2000) 16. Midwest Obsession (Dir. William A. Graham 1995) 17. Caged Seduction (Dir. Karen Arthur 1994) 18. The Rendering (Dir. Peter Svatek 2002) 19. Range of Motion (Dir. Donald Wyre 2000) 20. Stolen from the Heart (Dir. Bruce Pittman 2000)

  • 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.

  • Mozart: Cosi Fan Tutte --Gardiner Mozart: Cosi Fan Tutte --Gardiner | DVD | (14/10/2002) from £18.65  |  Saving you £-3.66 (-24.40%)  |  RRP £14.99

    A performance of Mozart's 'Cosi Fan Tutte' performed by the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists. Conducted by John Eliot Gardiner.

  • Leonard Cohen-Under Review 1978-2006 [2008] Leonard Cohen-Under Review 1978-2006 | DVD | (02/06/2008) from £5.89  |  Saving you £0.10 (1.70%)  |  RRP £5.99

    By 1978 Leonard Cohen had already produced a staggering body of work that had firmly set the standard for the singer-songwriter genre and contained numerous classic songs within its cannon. If like many of his contemporaries his muse had abandoned him around this time he would still today be regarded as a genius. But the 6 studio albums released between then and 2006 contained some of the finest work of Cohens entire career and on tracks such as First We Take Manhattan Dance Me To The End Of Love The Future I'm Your Man Ain't No Cure For Love Tower Of Song and so many others he augmented his music with a philosophy wisdom and enlightenment that both delighted his existing fanbase and endeared him to new generations in a manner that few others could hope to achieve. This film mixes rare performance footage studio recordings interviews rarely seen photographs location shoots and many other features with contributions from some of Cohens closest colleagues and from experts on his life and music. Featuring his official biographer Ira Nadel; Cohen producers John Lissauer David Gold and John Simon journalists Robert Christgau [Village Voice] Anthony De Curtis [Rolling Stone] and Nigel Williamson [Uncut] authors Johnny Rogan and Jim Devlin and many others.

  • Massenet - Manon [2008] Massenet - Manon | DVD | (07/01/2008) from £10.05  |  Saving you £9.94 (49.70%)  |  RRP £19.99

    For their first-ever encounter in a staged opera Natalie Dessay as Manon and Rolando Villazn as des Grieux were the much-awaited highlight of Barcelona's Liceu season in June 2007 in David McVicar's beautiful stage production of Massenet's Manon. The DVD captures this outstanding production of Massenet's most popular and enduring opera which has since its creation in Paris in 1884 maintained an important place in the repertory.

  • Verdi - Falstaff / Graham Vick, Bernard Haitink, Royal Opera House [1999] Verdi - Falstaff / Graham Vick, Bernard Haitink, Royal Opera House | DVD | (10/10/2001) from £24.99  |  Saving you £0.00 (0.00%)  |  RRP £24.99

    The Graham Vicks production of Falstaff opened the new Covent Garden Royal Opera House, and was not to everybody's taste; the garish primary colours of the costumes, especially Falstaff's unusually hideous get-ups, go several steps beyond the Breughelian effect Vicks intended. The staging is effective--the complicated counterpoint of the ensembles is reflected in unobtrusive blocking that keeps the vocal lines clear and separate, especially in the final fugue. Bryn Terfel's Falstaff is a memorable creation, self-mocking and self-aggrandising at the same time--so much so, in fact, that he almost does not need the vast prosthetic body he has to wear for the part. Desiree Rancatore is an admirably sweet-toned Nanetta; Bernadette Manca di Nissa an appropriately sardonic Mistress Quickly; Roberto Frontali as Ford, in his Act 2 scena, perfectly distils and parodies every jealousy aria ever written, including Verdi's own. Haitink's conducting is exemplary in the lyrical passages, gets almost everything out of the fast and furious comic sections. --Roz Kaveney On the DVD: The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound is powerful and filled with detail, capturing the excitement of the performance and the atmosphere of the Royal Opera House superbly. The anamorphically enhanced 1.77:1 widesceen image is very clear, and while given the source inevitably not up to the highest feature film standards, is among the best live classical titles yet released on DVD. The bold colours are particularly well realised, though the red lighting of the Garter Inn scenes causes the image to falter a little. There are optional subtitles in English, French and German. These are presented directly over the picture and would be easier to read had they been a little larger, or outlined in some way. The special features consist of a brief synopsis by James Naughtie, taken directly from the original television broadcast, a minute-long "comment" by conductor Bernard Haitink and short but interesting interviews with Bryn Terfel and director Graham Vick. Finally there is a nine-minute episode from the series of short BBC films, Covent Garden Tales on the 1999 modernisation of the Royal Opera House. --Gary S Dalkin

  • Tancredi [1992] Tancredi | DVD | (01/08/2005) from £9.87  |  Saving you £15.02 (60.10%)  |  RRP £24.99

  • 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

  • Rodelinda - Glyndebourne Festival Opera Rodelinda - Glyndebourne Festival Opera | DVD | (05/09/2005) from £10.25  |  Saving you £7.40 (41.10%)  |  RRP £17.99

    Handel wrote his Italian opera Rodelinda at the height of his musical powers and it is considered to be one of his greatest with music of astonishing power and beauty. This highly praised production filmed in 1998 was the first ever staging of a Handel opera by the Glyndebourne Festival Opera. Jean-Marie Villegier's stylish production sets Handel's tale of royal exile and fidelity in the silent movie era. Starring Anna Caterina Antonacci in a glamorous portrayal of Rodelinda an

  • 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.

  • 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 £10.79  |  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

  • The Medium - Menotti [1950] The Medium - Menotti | DVD | (30/08/2002) from £22.75  |  Saving you £0.24 (1.00%)  |  RRP £22.99

    Menotti - The Medium (Schippers Powers Alberghetti Dame)

  • Verdi - Otello [1992] Verdi - Otello | DVD | (31/03/2008) from £10.69  |  Saving you £4.30 (28.70%)  |  RRP £14.99

    Giuseppe Verdi - The Royal Opera Otello - At the Royal Opera House.

  • Wagner: Das Rheingold -- Metropolitan/Levine Wagner: Das Rheingold -- Metropolitan/Levine | DVD | (14/10/2002) from £12.40  |  Saving you £4.59 (27.00%)  |  RRP £16.99

    It takes a certain amount of forethought if Das Rheingold is to be more than a series of special effects scenes, though moments like the appearance of the giants through the mist or Alberich's transformations need to be as thrilling as they are here. As always in his Wagner, and perhaps especially in this very traditional 1990 Metropolitan Opera production of the Ring cycle, James Levine keeps to the forefront the underlying humanity of Wagner's gods and monsters. In the first scene, for example, he brings out the thoughtless, callous frivolity of the Rhine maidens as they precipitate the events of the four operas by taunting the gnome Alberich: it helps that they swirl around, green and gold, in a convincing representation of the bottom of the Rhine, but the emotions are the point. Ekkehaard Wlaschiha is a convincingly menacing Alberich partly because Levine brings out his vulnerability as well as his evil temper. James Morris is splendid as the younger less care-worn Wotan and Siegfried Jerusalem as Loge enjoys the sarcasm of his cynical commentary on Wotan's aspirations. The smaller parts have luxury casting: Matti Salminen as Fafner and Christa Ludwig as Fricka, for example. On the DVD: Das Rheingold comes with a photo gallery of the Metropolitan Opera production and with menus and subtitles in German, French, English, Spanish and Chinese. Disappointingly though it is presented in American NTSC format with standard TV 4:3 visual ratio. But it does have an excellent clear acoustic in all three of its audio options: PCM stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1. --Roz Kaveney

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