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The Magic Flute (DVD + Blu-ray) | Blu Ray | (23/04/2018)
from £13.99 | Saving you £N/A (N/A%) | RRP
Ingmar Bergman puts his indelible stamp on Mozart's exquisite opera in this sublime rendering of one of the composer's best-loved works: a celebration of love, forgiveness, and the brotherhood of man. The Magic Flute (TrollflÃ¶jten) stars Josef KÃ¶stlinger as Tamino, the young man determined to rescue a beautiful princess from the clutches of parental evil. Available for the first time on Blu-ray the BFI are proud to present this film from one of the world's most acclaimed directors. Features: Presented in High Definition and Standard Definition Fully illustrated booklet with new writing on the film and full film credits
Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) -- Glyndebourne | DVD | (25/10/1999)
from £11.19 | Saving you £6.80 (37.80%) | RRP
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
Verdi: La Traviata -- Royal Opera House | DVD | (12/03/2001)
from £11.07 | Saving you £2.92 (20.90%) | RRP
Angela Gheorghiu's stunning debut as Violetta from the Royal Opera House Covent Garden it was this performance that turned the Romanian soprano into an international sensation. The occasion also marked Sir George Solti's first performances of Verdi's ever-popular tragedy. World-class performances by opera's finest - Frank Lopardo (Alfredo) Leo Nucci (Germont) Leah-Marian Jones (Flora) and Gillian Knight (Annina). With Richard Eyre's dramatic staging Bob Crowley's elegant strik
Pirates Of Penzance - Gilbert And Sullivan | DVD | (13/12/2004)
from £7.92 | Saving you £8.07 (50.50%) | RRP
Having mistakenly been sent as an apprentice to pirates young Frederic is happy to leave his indentures on his 21st birthday. Falling in love with the beautiful Mabel one of the many daughters of Major-General Stanley he decides to marry. However the pirates are all to keen to marry the rest of Stanley's daughters! A spectacular interpretation of the Gilbert and Sullivan classic!
Don Giovanni - Mozart | DVD | (23/04/2004)
from £8.85 | Saving you £1.14 (11.40%) | RRP
A performance of the Mozart opera Don Giovanni.
L'Occasione Fa Il Ladro - Rossini | DVD | (28/04/2006)
from £15.39 | Saving you £9.60 (38.40%) | RRP
L'occasione fa il ladro is one of the five one-act operas - farsa giocosa - in which the teenage Rossini first demonstrated his operatic genius and in musical terms is by far the most riotous one This sparkling production continues the Rossini one-act opera series emerging from the Schwetzingen Festival.
La Scala Di Seta - Rossini | DVD | (27/02/2006)
from £15.85 | Saving you £7.34 (29.40%) | RRP
Gioacchino Rossini's La scala di setaA stage production of the Oper der Stadt Koln and the Opera de Montpellier from the Schwetzinger Festspiele.Recorded live at the Rokokotheater Schwetzingen 6-8 May 1990.
Puccini: La Boheme -- Royal Opera House/Gardelli | DVD | (21/08/2000)
from £11.87 | Saving you £6.12 (34.00%) | RRP
This full-blooded 1982 performance of Puccini's most-loved opera demonstrates just how much drive and powerful emotion can make up for a certain lack of subtlety. Cotrubas' Mimi is entirely moving in both joy and death, while never quite feeling as thoroughly frail as some of her quieter rivals; stronger tenor voices than Neil Shicoff's have recorded the role, and yet he has a Romantic passion and a dignity that many of his rivals fail to bring to the role. That under-rated singer Gwynne Howell is especially moving in Colline's farewell to his cloak--one of those perfect little showcase sections Puccini sometimes gives to minor parts. Marilyn Zschau's Musetta is broad and comic and yet somehow includes the audience in the glorious joke that her sexuality is for her; when Thomas Allen sings, to her waltz theme, of youth that is not yet dead, his ardour transcends realism. Gardelli knew this score in his bones--the production bounces along from comedy to tears to eroticism to tragedy and neither cast nor orchestra miss a single one of Puccini's wonderful touches of emotional exploitation. --Roz Kaveney
L'Upupa Und Der Triumph Der Sohnesliebe - Henze | DVD | (06/12/2004)
from £6.58 | Saving you £5.20 (20.80%) | RRP
Hans Werner Henze: L'UpupaUnd der Triumph der SohnesliebeEin deutsches Lustspiel in elf Tableaux aus dem ArabischenRecorded live at the Kleines Festspielhaus Salzburg 12-26 August 2003.
Peter Grimes | DVD | (22/09/2003)
from £12.55 | Saving you £5.44 (30.20%) | RRP
Benjamin Britten's powerful opera 'Peter Grimes' is considered to be one of the masterpieces of the 20th century. In this famous production by Elijah Moshinsky for The Royal Opera Canadian tenor Jon Vickers stars as the complex and misunderstood fisherman. The conductor is Sir Colin Davis who worked for several years with the cast of this production resulting in a masterly interweaving of characters in this gripping drama. ""One of the most riveting operatic impersonations o
Luciano Pavarotti - Donizetti - L'Elisir D'Amore | DVD | (26/02/2008)
from £13.29 | Saving you £3.70 (21.80%) | RRP
Donizetti's L' Elisir D' Amore recorded live at the Metropolitan Opera, March 2nd, 1981.
Mozart: Die Enftuhrung Aus Dem Serail (Abduction from the Seraglio) -- Bavarian Opera/Bohm | DVD | (11/02/2002)
from £N/A | Saving you £N/A (N/A%) | RRP
Boulevard Solitude (Sub Ac3 Dts) | DVD | (17/09/2007)
from £11.17 | Saving you £3.74 (15.00%) | RRP
Hans Werner Henze:Boulevard Solitude
Previn: A Streetcar Named Desire | DVD | (28/02/2001)
from £21.25 | Saving you £3.74 (15.00%) | RRP
André Previn's first opera, A Streetcar Named Desire, is an intelligent adaptation of Tennessee Williams' play, written to be performed by two very strong principals. Renée Fleming's performance as Blanche Dubois is one of the best things she has done, full of a dangerous bravado and a vulnerability that wins us despite our irritation. The role is one which gives her voice ample opportunity both for extended displays of controlled, passionate singing and for those moments when singing by itself is enough and the voice has to break off in sorrow or madness. Rodney Gilfrey as Stanley Kowalski is equally fine--his voice has the right dangerous energy. In the important subsidiary roles of Stella and Mitch, Elizabeth Futral and Anthony Dean Griffey are also remarkable. Futral in particular gives a total performance in which we forget to make a distinction between her acting and her singing. The opera itself is, as you would expect, one of the most accessible new scores to arrive on the opera stage for some years, drawing heavily on the legacy of jazz and with that nervous musical intensity we associate with the play. Previn conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra effectively. A complete CD recording with the same cast is also available.On the DVD: The DVD comes with menus in English, French, German and Spanish and sub-titles in French and German. It is presented in 4:3 ratio and with PCM stereo sound. The booklet gives a moderately interesting account of the opera's genesis. --Roz Kaveney
Merlin | DVD | (19/03/2004)
from £22.06 | Saving you £7.93 (26.40%) | RRP
An opera in three acts from the Teatro Real Madrid. Enjoy the world premiere of the full and original version of Merlin by Isaac Albniz over a century after he completed the work. Albniz composed this 'Wagnerian' opera to an English libretto by his patron Francis Burdett Money-Coutts between 1898 and 1902. Many believed the score was lost until the conductor Jos De Eusebio reconstructed it from various manuscript sources and publishers' proofs. For this stunning production dire
Rossini: Semiramide | DVD | (31/12/2007)
from £28.69 | Saving you £6.30 (18.00%) | RRP
Bel canto can be translated as "pretty singing", and that definition seems tailor-made for this production, which offers grace, charm, and a fine-tuned sense of style in abundance to compensate for its limited psychological and emotional impact. The four principal singers are all specialists in the bel canto style and this opera has played a key role in building their substantial reputations. For its sweeping musical imagination and technical wizardry, Rossini's epic about royal assassination and misdirected lust in the ancient Babylonian Empire deserves a place in any inclusive opera collection, and we are not likely to have a better video recording of Semiramide in the foreseeable future. June Anderson has an attractive appearance and sounds exactly right in the music's florid melodic lines. But she is not dramatically compelling as the wicked queen who had her husband killed and fell in love with a man who turned out to be her long-lost son, Arsace. Marilyn Horne rose to the highest levels of international fame in the role of that conflicted son, and her presence alone would be enough to give this video classic status. Her voice was a bit past its prime when this performance was recorded in 1991, but still there is no other voice quite like it, no other voice so suited to Rossini's heroic mezzo roles. Samuel Ramey is a close bass counterpart to Anderson: great tone, agile florid singing, and a rather wooden but visually appealing stage presence. Sanford Olsen has a small role and sings it near perfectly. James Conlon gets excellent musical results; John Copley's staging is massive and static. --Joe McLellan, Amazon.com
Puccini: Tosca -- 2002 Film Version | DVD | (23/06/2003)
from £8.28 | Saving you £8.01 (32.10%) | RRP
Benoit Jacquot's filmed Tosca treads a fine line between operatic staginess and cinematic contrivance. As per the libretto, each act takes place in a single setting, but with the singers here miming to a pre-recorded soundtrack. Jacquot freely reminds us of the conceit with cutaways to the recording session itself--revealing conductor, orchestra and soloists at work--thus a bridge is made between the on-screen action and the music-making itself, and the inherent duality of any opera production is laid refreshingly bare. The same cannot be said for the director's decision to interpolate spoken dialogue over the music in key places--a distraction not an enhancement. Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna are glamorous and attractive enough to make the most of their Hollywood-style close-ups; their singing easily bears similar close scrutiny--as anyone who owns the CD soundtrack album will surely already know. If Alagna lacks a little power as Cavaradossi on record, his charismatic screen presence happily compensates; Gheorghiu is both vocally and physically almost ideal as Tosca. Ruggero Raimondi's Scarpia completes an outstanding trio, and in the pit (or, rather, in the studio) conductor Antonio Pappano handles the drama of Puccini's score without missing a single nuance. Both musically and visually, then, this is a Tosca to treasure. On the DVD: Tosca on disc looks vibrant in this warm, widescreen picture accompanied by a DTS 5.1 soundtrack. Three filmed interviews--with Gheorghiu, Pappano and Jacquot--provide some insight into the making of this production. --Mark Walker
Maria Callas - Passion | DVD | (23/01/2006)
from £7.99 | Saving you £N/A (N/A%) | RRP
A feature length documentary profiling the opera singer Maria Callas. Includes archive performance footage interviews with the star and her teacher Elvira de Hidalgo recording producer Michel Glotz and film and stage producer Luchino Visconti.
The Merry Widow - Lehar | DVD | (23/06/2003)
from £14.99 | Saving you £3.44 (13.80%) | RRP
A production of the Franz Lehar opera The Merry Widow. New dialogue was commissioned from the playwright Wendy Wasserstein.
Berlioz: La Damnation de Faust | DVD | (15/05/2000)
from £20.05 | Saving you £4.94 (19.80%) | RRP
This imaginative staging of Berlioz's dramatic symphony for chorus, soloists and orchestra relies heavily on the moving of massed choirs across a large stage. It has vivid lighting effects--rather too many of them using strobes--and monolithic multi-purpose sets, in particular a revolving glass drum which functions both as cinema screen and rostrum for singers, so that the final ride to Hell, for example, is sung by Mephistopheles and Faust above a cavalcade of projected horses, like the inside of a zoetrope. The three main soloists have voices on a scale that can compete with these flashy production values--White and Kasarova, in particular, sing at a level of intensity that would swamp anything less; the climactic seduction trio has rarely been sung so well or with such an overpoweringly polymorphous eroticism. Cambreling marshals his forces effectively, giving full rein to the work's showstoppers like the "Hungarian March" but not neglecting the subtler less kinetic Gluckian side of Berlioz's vocal writing. The DVD has subtitles in English, German and Dutch, and menus in those languages, as well as French, Italian, Spanish and Swedish. --Roz Kaveney