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Mazeppa - Tchaikovsky | DVD | (08/03/2004)
from £15.39 | Saving you £1.60 (9.40%) | RRP
The first-ever release on any video format of the Kirov's 1996 production of Tchaikovsky's Mazeppa. Valery Gergiev directs the Kirov Opera and Ballet in this dramatic staging of Tchaikovsky's historical opera based on Pushkin's verse tale of the legendary Cossack chieftain. Tchaikovsky's dark musical setting intertwines the political drama of Mazeppa's ill-fated betrayal of the Tsar with the personal tragedy of his love for Maria the young daughter of his hapless opponent Koc
The Maid Of Orleans - Bolshoi Opera | DVD | (30/01/2006)
from £14.28 | Saving you £3.71 (20.60%) | RRP
Tchaikovsky opera The Maid of Orleans is not often performed and recordings are rare. This production at The Bolshoi Opera was recorded to commemorate the centenary of Tchaikovsky's death in 1893. The Maid of Orleans is famous for its magnificent crowd scenes processions court ceremony and battle scenes. Boris Pokrovsky's vintage Bolshoi staging with magnificent sets by Valery Levental potently mixes realism and symbolism in this story of Joan of Arc. The Bolshoi Opera's all-Russian cast is enhanced by the exceptionally talented soprano Nina Rautio in the title role. Her interpretations are notable not only for her outstanding voice technique and emotional commitment but also for her exquisite musicianship
Verdi: Don Carlos | DVD | (20/11/2000)
from £10.59 | Saving you £9.40 (47.00%) | RRP
This is a 1996 all-star-cast version from Paris of the original French version of Verdi's epic five-act opera, Don Carlos. First produced in 1867, only Wagner would write musical drama on a grander scale, and due to the three-and-a-half-hour running time most subsequent productions have made substantial cuts. This is therefore a rare opportunity to witness Verdi's tragedy in its entirety.Set in the 16th century in the aftermath of war between Spain and France, Don Carlo (Roberto Alagna), the heir to the Spanish throne comes to France to meet with his beloved Elizabeth de Valois (Karita Mattila). Inevitably politics divide the lovers, and while Rodrigue (Thomas Hampson) falls in with Flemish rebels, the Inquisition is determined to be the power behind the peace. This is certainly not Verdi's greatest work, but it contains great music and the stars are allowed to shine with strong characterisations in an elegantly designed production. There are no gimmicks or attempts at spurious contemporary relevance here, simply singers of the calibre of Alagna, Mattila, Hampson, plus the outstanding Eric Halfvarson as the Grand Inquisitor. This is a production that continues in the 19th-century tradition, and in the process delivers the frisson of world-class opera. --Gary S. DalkinOn the DVD: While the running time precludes much in the way of special features, via DVD-ROM the libretto can be printed in French, together with an article and biographies. The picture is presented at approximately 1.7:1 and while far superior to video could still benefit from anamorphic enhancement. The sound is stereo or excellent Dolby Digital 5.0. The booklet offers a detailed synopsis in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish and there are subtitles in the same languages. The disc is encoded for regions two to six. --Gary S. Dalkin
Reves D'Un Marco Polo - Vivier | DVD | (03/01/2006)
from £5.09 | Saving you £24.90 (83.00%) | RRP
A performance of the Vivier opera in two acts that tells a mystical story which centres on the character called Agni. Reinbert De Leeuw conducts.
Monteverdi: L'Incoronazione di Poppea -- Glyndebourne | DVD | (26/04/2004)
from £10.59 | Saving you £7.40 (41.10%) | RRP
Peter Hall's lavishly staged L'Incoronazione di Poppea celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Glyndebourne in 1984 with a performance of Monteverdi's most celebrated and also most controversial opera. The score is conductor Raymond Leppard's "enhanced" edition, which he had premiered at Glyndebourne back in 1962, fully scored for a large orchestra. Much debate circles around the forces appropriate for performing Monteverdi's decidedly minimalist work, but one thing at least is certain: it didn't sound anything like this in the 17th century! Never mind, however inauthentic it may be, Leppard's big and beefy orchestral updating--including a fulsome continuo group with pairs of harpsichords, organs and cellos, as well as lute, guitar and harp--supports the weighty melodrama nicely. The singers, too, are full-bodied, led by a fruity Maria Ewing as Poppea (in various revealing outfits) sounding suitably seductive, and Dennis Bailey, oddly lovely of voice as Nero (one of the opera's controversial aspects is the heroic central role accorded to these two thoroughly wicked characters). Perhaps best of all is Robert Lloyd as Seneca, who not only boasts a profound, reverberant bass, but also looks the part under beard and toga. With an onstage chorus to lament him, Seneca's death scene is the most moving in the opera. Peter Hall's clever staging keeps the Olympians--Love, Fortune and Virtue--permanently watching from above as the venal humans below act out this tragedy of poisoned love. The no-frills DVD has subtitles in English, French, German and Spanish. --Mark Walker
Tristan Und Isolde - Wagner | DVD | (08/03/2004)
from £16.59 | Saving you £5.40 (24.60%) | RRP
A performance of Richard Wagner's opera 'Tristan Und Isolde'....
Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin -- film version/Solti | DVD | (03/06/2002)
from £15.22 | Saving you £1.77 (10.40%) | RRP
It's a common complaint that opera singers can't act, and actors can't sing opera. In this handsome 1988 film of Tchaikovsky's opera Eugene Onegin, director Petr Weigl attempts to solve the problem by letting each group of performers do what they do best. Thus the music is a studio recording with some great voices in the principal roles, and the film is a lip-synched performance shot in stunning locations by a good-looking cast of players. On the positive side this means that the whole thing looks gorgeous, and sun-drenched dachas, glittering ballrooms and snowy steppes are all captured with painterly verve. The musical performances are also splendid, with Bernd Weikl making a passionate, tortured Onegin, Teresa Kubiak a honeyed, fresh-sounding Tatyana, and Solti conducting with driven intensity. But realism and opera rarely make happy bed-fellows, and the down-side of this film is that the naturalistic "speaking-style" lip-synching and understated acting are entirely at odds with the grand musical gestures, and occasionally give rise to a somewhat absurd alienation effect. Thus while Kubiak's voice is at full blast, Magdalena Vasaryova looks like she's making polite chit-chat at a cocktail party. But the project feels like a brave experiment, nonetheless, and if the whole isn't quite the sum of its different elements, those elements are still jolly good. On the DVD: Eugene Onegin on disc has excellent picture quality (which is fortunate in such a visually exquisite film), though the sound is a little distant and muffled. The film starts with the entry of the peasants in Act 1, but the DVD includes the Prologue and music before this point as an audio bonus. There are subtitles in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Chinese, and a series of trailers for other Decca DVDs. --Warwick Thompson
Ballet Class - Intermediate And Advanced With David Howard | DVD | (07/07/2008)
from £12.20 | Saving you £N/A (N/A%) | RRP
Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg | DVD | (24/11/2000)
from £26.55 | Saving you £3.44 (11.50%) | RRP
This glorious 1995 production of Wagner's festival opera highlights the central debate about the artist, his inspiration and the academic rules that have to be worked with, or around, by setting it not in the Middle Ages so much as in a high-Victorian world of frock coats and cravats. Wolfgang Brendel's impressive performance as Hans Sachs has both the authority of the great poet trying to make everyone understand the virtues of good sense and a middle way, as well as the emotional appeal of a man whose decision to make Eva's choice between him and Walther is for once a real struggle: Brendel plays him as a man young enough to be a credible rival to the young minstrel-knight. Gosta Windbergh in turn brings real passion not only to the "Prize Song" itself but to the whole opera, not least to the aristocratic/bohemian distrust of the bourgeois world of the master singer for which Sachs ends up rebuking him. Schulte's performance as Beckmesser conveys the meanness and pettiness without buying wholly into the viciousness with which Wagner humiliates his comic villain and through him all of his own enemies. Conductor de Burgos manages to keep the massive scale of this longest of comic operas human and humane--this never becomes a sinisterly intense or vast performance. --Roz KaveneyOn the DVD: This two-disc set comes equipped with scene selection and subtitles in German, French and English, as well as menus in those languages and Spanish. --Roz Kaveney
Verdi: Aida -- La Scala | DVD | (28/08/2000)
from £17.99 | Saving you £1.00 (5.00%) | RRP
La Scala went all-out for its 1986 production of this grandest of grand operas, with a strong cast and--most important for a video recording--a larger-than-life staging. The Triumph Scene in Act II is by no means Aida's only attraction, but it is the part that makes the strongest and most lasting impression and it is the visual and musical climax of this production. Stage director Ronconi brings on a procession to dwarf all processions: looted treasures, heroic statuary, miserable captives struggling under the lash of whip-bearing slave-drivers. On par with these visuals is Lorin Maazel's first-class performance of the popular "Grand March" with the outstanding La Scala chorus and orchestra. In Act III, the contrasting tranquillity of the Nile Scene also gets a visual treatment to match the music's qualities.When it is not an epic spectacle, Aida is a tragic story of love, jealousy and horrible revenge. The shifting focus between vast spectacle and intimate moments-sometimes awkward in a live performance onstage--presents special opportunities and challenges for a video recording. In this Aida, the camera work shows an acute awareness of those opportunities and challenges. The soloists have a variety of strengths that outweigh a few small weaknesses. Luciano Pavarotti sings one of his signature roles in superb voice, but his weight problems are visually evident and detract from his impact as the dashing hero Radames. Maria Chiara has moments of vocal imperfection but gives a dramatically compelling performance. Ghena Dimitrova sings powerfully and the supporting cast is excellent throughout. --Joe McLellan, Amazon.com
Yes - the Gates of Q.P.R. Vol. 2 | DVD | (21/07/2008)
from £N/A | Saving you £N/A (N/A%) | RRP
In the 1970s Yes were among the most recognized representatives of progressive rock joined by the likes of Genesis Emerson Lake & Palmer and King Crimson. Those bands often referred to as the Big Four of prog rock set the tone for the genre their influence remaining undiminished to date. During their Relayer Tour Yes played a total of 89 concerts between November 1974 and August 1975 including this one at London's Queen's Park football stadium before a crowd of 25 000. At that time immediately following the release of Relayer (arguably their best and most ambitious album ever) Yes were on the peak of their career. Tracklist: 1. And You & I 2. Cord Of Life 3. Eclipse 4. The Preacher/The Teacher 5. Apocalypse 6. Ritual 7. Round About 8. Sweet Dreams 9. Yours Is No Disgrace
Verdi - Aida | DVD | (10/09/2007)
from £17.28 | Saving you £-2.29 (-15.30%) | RRP
A Life For The Tsar - Bolshoi Opera | DVD | (26/09/2005)
from £15.06 | Saving you £2.93 (16.30%) | RRP
A 17th Century tale of how a peasant gave his life to save the Tsar for the Russian people. After the Russian Revolution the Communist regime renamed the opera Ivan Susanin after the main character and altered the libretto in order to emphasise how Susanin delivered Russia from attack from the Polish enemy. The original title and libretto have now been restored. In this production by The Bolshoi Opera filmed in 1992 Russian bass Egveny Nesterenko magnificently sings the dramatic role of Ivan Susanin the tragic hero who leads the Polish enemy on a false path in their search for the Tsar and so allowing the Tsar to escape. The cast also includes Marina Mescheriakova as Susanin's daughter Antonida Alexander Lomonosov as her fiance Sobinin and Elena Zaremba as Susanin's son Vanja. The conductor is Alexander Lazarev.
The Death Of Klinghoffer | DVD | (09/02/2004)
from £15.39 | Saving you £-1.40 (-10.00%) | RRP
An adaptation of John Adam's opera 'The Death Of Klinghoffer' which tells the story of the 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship the Achile Lauro.
L'Amour De Loin - Saariaho | DVD | (15/08/2005)
from £17.69 | Saving you £2.30 (11.50%) | RRP
Kaija SaariahoL'Amour De LoinOpera in five acts
Canterbury Tales - the Wife of Bath | DVD | (29/09/2008)
from £5.13 | Saving you £-0.14 (-2.80%) | RRP
Beth Craddock is a TV actress who still believes in Mr. Right even after a number of failed marriages. But is her dashing co-star Jerome her soulmate despite their large age difference.
Die Verkaufte Braut - Smetana/Adam Fischer/Orchester Der Wiener Staatsoper | DVD | (10/09/2007)
from £13.99 | Saving you £3.00 (17.70%) | RRP
Smetana: Die Verkaufte Braut (Aka: The Bartered Bridge)
Charlie and Lola - 2 | DVD | (15/05/2006)
from £4.99 | Saving you £3.00 (37.50%) | RRP
Charlie And Lola is a fun-filled and imaginative animated series for young children. It focuses on the relationship between brother and sister Charlie and Lola and tells the story of how they handle the little issues that they as young children encounter everyday.
Puccini: Turandot -- San Francisco | DVD | (18/07/2000)
from £20.05 | Saving you £4.94 (19.80%) | RRP
Not only is Puccini's final opera Turandot among the composer's most popular works, but following The Three Tenors and a certain football contest, it has in "Nessun dorma!" what is almost certainly the best-loved aria in all opera. Written 20 years after Madame Butterfly (1904), Puccini's version of an 800-year-old fairy-tale is set in a legendary Peking and scored on a grand scale, incorporating not only Chinese musical techniques but a vast range of oriental percussion. Puccini draws heavily on the chorus, and as ever makes intense demands on his heroine, to which Eva Marton rises powerfully, very well complemented by the tenor Michael Sylvester as Calaf. However, what makes this 1994 San Francisco Opera version so enchanting as a visual experience is the realisation by David Hockney, who not only designed the sets and costumes but also directed the production. His vision is highly stylised, richly imagined, atmospheric and very beautiful, and it is a testament to how well this version is directed that much of the original magic is communicated through the confines of a TV screen. --Gary S. DalkinOn the DVD: Other than a well-appointed booklet, and the option to watch with or without subtitles, there are no special features. The 4:3 picture is a major improvement on video, though no doubt due to the original source materials, not as detailed as the best DVDs. The sound is powerful PCM stereo, with a slight tendency to become strident at especially dramatic moments. The layer change is particularly badly done, interrupting the choir in full flow, rather than being placed between tracks.
La Boheme - Puccini | DVD | (06/12/2004)
from £21.03 | Saving you £3.96 (15.80%) | RRP
La Boheme - Recorded live at the Teatro degli Arcimboldi Milan February 2003 - Staged by the Teatro all Scala.