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  • Giordano: Andrea Chenier - Royal Opera House/Rudel [1985] Giordano: Andrea Chenier - Royal Opera House/Rudel | DVD | (23/02/2004) from £10.59  |  Saving you £7.40 (41.10%)  |  RRP £17.99

    Giordano's Andrea Chenier is one of the greatest of verismo operas, full of heart-stopping big tunes and powerful emotional situations. If it is not as well-known as it should be, it is because in summary it sounds a little too like Puccini's Tosca: there is a tussle between political opponents over a woman, an attempt to save a condemned man, a tenor aria about writing poetry on the eve of execution. The difference is that Gerard (Giorgio Zancanaro) is not a villain like Scarpia, he is an idealist whom the French Revolution has betrayed as much as it has his rival the poet Chenier (Placido Domingo). His temptation to abuse his power to seduce the virtuous Maddalena (Anna Tomowa-Sintow) is a momentary one, though its consequences are terrible. There is a streak of post-Wagnerian decadence in much of this--Maddalena is at least as much in love with death as she is with Chenier, and the final love duet has a deeply sinister aspect. Domingo is at his best in this Covent Garden Opera House performance from 1985; at once ardent and serious-minded, we believe in his Chenier as a poet and political figure. Conductor Julius Rudel gives the rich score all the weight and lyricism it demands and the Covent Garden chorus is at its occasional best in the scenes of revolutionary excess. On the DVD: Andrea Chenier is presented a little disappointingly in NTSC format and 4:3 picture ratio. At least the sound is sumptuous Dolby Digital 5.0. Subtitles are in English, French, German, Spanish and Japanese. --Roz Kaveney

  • Luciano Pavarotti - Verdi: Ernani Luciano Pavarotti - Verdi: Ernani | DVD | (05/11/2007) from £15.39  |  Saving you £4.60 (23.00%)  |  RRP £19.99

    This version of Verdi's Ernani was a new Metropolitan Opera production filmed in 1983 and brought together an all-star billing of singers including Luciano Pavarotti in his absolute operatic prime. He was joined on stage by Leona Mitchell as the female heroine and the great baritone Sherrill Milnes and bass-baritone Ruggero Raimondi. James Levine conducts the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus on this DVD which has the wonderful atmosphere that only comes with live recordings. Tracklisting: 1. Verdi: Ernani - Opening Credits 2. Preludio 3. Evviva! Beviam! 4. Merc'' Diletti Amici 5. Come Rugiada Al Cespite 6. Oh Tu Che L'alma Adora 7. Surta ''ˆ La Notte 8. Ernani! Ernani Involami 9. Tutto Sprezzo Che D'ernani 10. Fa Che A Me Venga 11. Da Quel Di Che T'ho Veduta 12. Non T'ascolto Mia Sarai 13. Tu Se' Ernani 14. Che Mai Vegg'io! 15. Infelice! E Tuo Credevi 16. Infin Che Un Brando Vindice 17. Uscite ... Ma Signore 18. Mio Signor Dolente I Sono 19. Esultiamo! Letizia Ne Inondi! 20. Jago Qui Tosto Il Pellegrin Adduci 21. Oro Quant'oro Ogn'avido 22. Tu Perfida! 23. Ah Morir Potessi Adesso! 24. Scellerati Il Mio Furore 25. Cugino A Che Munito Il Tuo Castel Ritrovo? 26. Lo Vedremo Veglio Audace 27. Fu Esplorata El Castello Ogni Latebra Pi'' Occulta 28. Vieni Meco Sol Di Rose 29. Vigili Pure I Ciel Sempre Su Te 30. D'ernani I Fidi Chiedono 31. Odi Il Voto 32. E Questo Il Loco? 33. Gran Dio! Costor Sui Sepolcrali Marmi 34. Oh De'verd'anni Miei 35. Ad Augusta! 36. Si Ridesti Il Leon Di Castiglia 37. Qual Rumore? Che Sar'' 38. Io Son Conte Duca Sono 39. O Sommo Carlo Pi'' Del Tuo Nome 40. Oh Come Felici Gioiscon Gli Sposi! 41. Cessaro I Suoni Dispari Ogni Face 42. Ecco Il Pegno 43. Ferma Crudele Estinguere Perch'' Vuoi Tu Due Vite?

  • Otello - Arena Di Verona [1982] Otello - Arena Di Verona | DVD | (25/07/2005) from £10.32  |  Saving you £7.67 (42.60%)  |  RRP £17.99

    The spectacular open-air Arena di Verona is the setting for this production of Verdi's last tragic opera Otello a work some consider to be his masterpiece. In this recording from 1982 Otello is sung by the Russian tenor Vladimir Atlantov rightly famous for his magnificent interpretation of the title role. This DVD is the only chance to see and hear one of the great Otellos as no other recordings are currently available of Atlantov in this role. The role of Desdemona is beautifull

  • Cecilia Bartoli - Live In Italy [1998] Cecilia Bartoli - Live In Italy | DVD | (25/06/2001) from £9.60  |  Saving you £7.39 (43.50%)  |  RRP £16.99

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

  • Britten: Owen Wingrave - Berlin/Nagano Britten: Owen Wingrave - Berlin/Nagano | DVD | (22/12/2003) from £20.05  |  Saving you £4.94 (19.80%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Owen Wingrave is perhaps Britten's most radical opera, both politically and artistically. Originally written for television, and here presented in a 2001 Channel 4 version, the 1970 score is based, like The Turn of the Screw, on a Henry James ghost story. Britten, though, is more in tune than James with the pacifism into which Owen revolts from a long family tradition of military service. The fluid, impassioned, often declamatory music given Owen makes him one of the most sympathetic of Britten's outsider protagonists, though he has a streak of self-centredness, which stops him being an implausible paragon. Gerald Finley is quite admirable in the part, conveying fully the sense that by losing and dying at the hands of family ghosts, Owen demonstrates the integrity which is central to his character. The other parts are admirably filled here, notably Martyn Hill as Owen's harsh General grandfather, Josephine Barstow as his aunt and Charlotte Hellekant as the fiancee who unknowingly sends him to his death. They and Elizabeth Gale are quite extraordinary in the first act quartet of recrimination and condemnation. This excellent performance compares vocally with the original on almost entirely equal terms--modern technology means that the ghost scenes are far more dramatic and plausible. Kent Nagano and the Berlin Orchestra do full subtle justice to the chamber orchestra sonorities of one of Britten's most interesting scores, never overstressing its complex musical architecture at the expense of the drama. On the DVD: Owen Wingrave is presented in a widescreen 16:9 visual aspect ratio with PCM stereo sound. It is accompanied by The Tender Heart, a documentary about Britten's career full of personal reminiscences by his surviving friends, colleagues and family, that concentrates on Peter Grimes, the War Requiem and Death in Venice, the three popular masterpieces of his early, middle and late career. It has menus and subtitles in English, French, German and Spanish. --Roz Kaveney

  • 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.

  • R. Strauss: Die Frau Ohne Schatten -- Salzburg Festival/Solti [1992] R. Strauss: Die Frau Ohne Schatten -- Salzburg Festival/Solti | DVD | (09/09/2002) from £18.65  |  Saving you £3.34 (15.20%)  |  RRP £21.99

    A performance of Richard Strauss' opera 'Die Frau Ohne Schatten' performed at the Salzburg Festival in 1992.

  • Puccini: Madame Butterfly -- 1995 film version [1997] Puccini: Madame Butterfly -- 1995 film version | DVD | (04/03/2002) from £N/A  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £19.99

    Like the finest of film scores with its fluid beauty and succession of intensely romantic tunes, Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly has a surprisingly cinematic feel. In 1995 director Frederic Mitterand exploited this quality of the story, exposing a young woman's disillusionment against a backdrop of cultural chasms. Shot on location, with Tunisia doubling convincingly as a turn of the century Nagasaki, this Butterfly shines with fragile beauty. The house becomes a brilliantly used set; airy and full of the scent of flowers and at the same time a cage for the trapped woman. Archive footage of bygone Nagasaki is used skilfully to underline the distance between the 15-year-old bride and Pinkerton. Purists may prefer a more traditionally robust, stage-bound Butterfly, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a more visually heartbreaking interpretation. Chinese soprano Ying Huang doesn't rock the rafters with her vocal power; hers is a tender, delicately observed performance. Tenor Richard Troxton's self-seeking Pinkerton is well sung. Overall, this is a haunting cinematic treatment of an enduringly popular opera. On the DVD: Madame Butterfly is presented in a letterbox widescreen format (enhanced for 16:9 widescreen televisions). The Dolby Digital surround soundtrack engulfs the listener in some of Puccini's most memorable tunes, stringing you out and leaving you emotionally spent. The main special feature is a charming portrait of Ying Huan, providing interesting insights into how the film was made and how she won the role. --Piers Ford

  • 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.

  • Samson Et Dalila - Saint-Saens Samson Et Dalila - Saint-Saens | DVD | (09/08/2004) from £16.99  |  Saving you £0.00 (0.00%)  |  RRP £16.99

    A production of the Saint-Saens opera performed by the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus. Conducted by the esteemed James Levine.

  • Le Nozze Di Figaro - Mozart [1976] Le Nozze Di Figaro - Mozart | DVD | (09/05/2005) from £14.99  |  Saving you £7.00 (31.80%)  |  RRP £21.99

    This luxuriously cast film of Mozart's beloved opera buffa features a host of legendary interpretations including Kiri Te Kanawa's exquisite Countess Almaviva Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau as her philandering husband Hermann Prey as the wily title character Mirella Freni a delight as his no less savvy bride Susanna and Maria Ewing hilarious as the lovesick page Cherubino. Director Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's imaginative camera-work tellingly emphasizes character and mood of this immortal story of love intrigue and class struggle set against the historical background of ancien regime Europe sliding inexorably towards revolution.

  • Adams: El Nino [2000] Adams: El Nino | DVD | (15/10/2001) from £19.19  |  Saving you £3.74 (15.00%)  |  RRP £24.99

    John Adams set out to write an oratorio about the Nativity of Christ; but as he worked on it, El Nino became a more dramatic piece than he intended, flowering into a staged opera in which the oratorio's free-flowing singer's identity becomes an effective statement of a mystical point. Dawn Upshaw and Lorraine Hunt Lieberson--singing a mixture of biblical texts and Spanish/Mexican poetry--are both Mary and at the same time all women. The same is true of the dancer Daniela Graca, the women of the chorus and the young Hispanic-American woman who has her child and argues with her boyfriend in contemporary LA. Willard White is both Joseph and Herod, while the trio of counter-tenors are Angels and Shepherds and Kings. Because the work was written in close consultation with director Peter Sellars, it is a remarkably collaborative vision of music and staging. This is a gloriously sung piece, which continues Adams' voyage through minimalism into a lush tonal style still informed by minimalist simplicity, but it is also an impressive piece of theatre in which every physical gesture has a musical cue. This production from the Chatelet Theatre, Paris, under the baton of Kent Nagano, is more or less definitive. On the DVD: Unusually for an Arthaus Musik release, this DVD comes with an extended documentary in which Adams, Sellars, Nagano and Upshaw talk insightfully about the creation and nature of the piece. Sellars is particularly impressive in his talk of opera as the art form for a multicultural era. The picture format is 16:9 and the viewer is offered a choice of PCM stereo or Dolby Digital for the audio.--Roz Kaveney

  • Transglobal Underground Transglobal Underground | DVD | (26/05/2008) from £11.43  |  Saving you £3.56 (23.70%)  |  RRP £14.99

    The music of Transglobal Underground has always been a regular on British dancefloors. This film brings us another facet of the stellar 1990s band revealing them as a multicultural group with dazzling stage presence. TGU operates as a music collective with two producers at its core - Tim Whelan and Hamid Man Tu. Each new concert and recording is an opportunity to work with musicians from different backgrounds. Fusing Indian tonalities Arabic vocals Eastern European chants and electro rhythms their music is a reflection of the ethnic diversity in the London of today. The film was shot at the festival Les Escales de Saint-Nazaire 2007 (France) and in London. Tracklist includes: Mouth Wedding Drums Of Navarone Dancehall Operator Temple Head The Sikhman and the Rasta Yellow and Black Taxi Cab Awal Vanilka Mera Jhumka Emotional Yoyo

  • Puccini: La Boheme -- San Francisco/Severini [1988] Puccini: La Boheme -- San Francisco/Severini | DVD | (28/08/2000) from £99.97  |  Saving you £-74.98 (-300.00%)  |  RRP £24.99

    One way to use the DVD format for opera is to provide a video format with a clear picture and sumptuous sound and let a good performance speak more or less for itself. Severini's La Boheme comes with a minimum of trimmings--subtitles in English, French and German; even a short account of the performance history is relegated to text in a booklet. The live performance has real theatrical presence, even to the extent that, at times, the vocal and orchestral subtleties get lost in wild applause. Pavarotti's Rodolfo was, in 1988, as plangently lyrical as ever and Freni's care-worn Mimi is a deeply touching and musical performance; Pacetti is a beefy full-blooded no-nonsense Musetta--the waltz song and ensuing duet with Marcello is for once the Broadway show-stopper it ought to be. Of the supporting roles, though, perhaps the most moving is Ghiaurov's Colline--his farewell to his old coat is a short passage of deep pathos which he has rarely sung as well as he does here. --Roz Kaveney

  • Canterbury Tales - the Man of Law's Tale Canterbury Tales - the Man of Law's Tale | DVD | (27/10/2008) from £2.59  |  Saving you £0.00 (0.00%)  |  RRP £4.99

    Constance (Nikki Amuka-Bird) is a Nigerian refugee found on a small boat in the Chatham docks by a couple Mark and Nicky who take her in. A devout Christian Constance cannot remember what has happened to her. At church a young man Terry falls for her but the feelings are no mutual as Constance is falling in love with Marks Boss Alan (Andrew Lincoln). When Constance rejects Terry's physical advances his violent revenge has tragic consequences for all involved

  • Various Composers - Opera and Ballet Favourites Various Composers - Opera and Ballet Favourites | DVD | (29/09/2008) from £9.39  |  Saving you £5.60 (37.40%)  |  RRP £14.99

  • Wagner: Das Rheingold -- Metropolitan/Levine Wagner: Das Rheingold -- Metropolitan/Levine | DVD | (14/10/2002) from £16.94  |  Saving you £0.05 (0.30%)  |  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

  • Busoni - Doktor Faust Busoni - Doktor Faust | DVD | (29/10/2007) from £22.27  |  Saving you £12.72 (36.40%)  |  RRP £34.99

    Ferruccio Busoni - Doktor Faust - Live Recording From The Zurich Opera House 2006.

  • The Merry Widow - Lehar The Merry Widow - Lehar | DVD | (23/06/2003) from £18.99  |  Saving you £6.00 (24.00%)  |  RRP £24.99

    A production of the Franz Lehar opera The Merry Widow. New dialogue was commissioned from the playwright Wendy Wasserstein.

  • Die Lustige Witwe - Lehar [2004] Die Lustige Witwe - Lehar | DVD | (30/05/2005) from £20.05  |  Saving you £4.94 (19.80%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Recorded Live from the Zurich Opera House 2004Based on the comedy L'Attache d'ambassade by Henri Meilhac.

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