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  • Rosenkavalier - Strauss [1979] Rosenkavalier - Strauss | DVD | (15/08/2005) from £14.99  |  Saving you £0.00 (0.00%)  |  RRP £14.99

    Comedy for music in three acts.

  • Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen -- Metropolitan/Levine Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen -- Metropolitan/Levine | DVD | (14/10/2002) from £43.49  |  Saving you £2.50 (5.40%)  |  RRP £45.99

    The James Levine cycle of Wagners Der Ring des Nibelungen is humane and emotionally powerful rather than monumental or spiritual; Levine is more interested in finding our sympathy for the characters than inspiring pity or terror. These are very traditional productions in which you see a rock where you need to see a rock, a dragon where the libretto says a dragon (the Metropolitan Opera has never been a place for experiment). What Levine and the Met can and do offer is excellent orchestral playing and some of the best singers in these roles in the world. Siegfried Jerusalem is boyish and naive and touching as Siegfried, and he is also surprisingly good as the detached mischievous Loge of Das Rheingold. James Morris is uniformly impressive as Wotan and makes the character evolve from the young ruthless god of the first opera to the tired old god of Siegfried, who seeks nothing more than his own necessary defeat and death. As Brunnhilde, Hildegard Behrens makes a convincing shift from goddess to woman, from callousness to tenderness and on to vindictiveness and self-sacrificing wisdom. Overall, this is an attractive Ring cycle, well-cast and beautifully played; others have greater strengths in some areas, but Levine is reliable across the board. On the DVD: Der Ring des Nibelungen has all four operas, which are also available individually, contained in a single box. All the DVDs come with a photo gallery of the Metropolitan Opera productions and with menus and subtitles in German, French, English, Spanish and Chinese. Its a little disappointing, though, that they are presented in American NTSC format, not European PAL, and the picture ratio is standard TV 4:3. On the plus side, they all have an excellent clear acoustic in the three audio options: PCM stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1. --Roz Kaveney

  • Il Viaggio A Reims - Rossini [2003] Il Viaggio A Reims - Rossini | DVD | (22/10/2004) from £24.14  |  Saving you £5.85 (19.50%)  |  RRP £29.99

    From theGRAN TEATRE DEL LICEU BARCELONAGIOACHINO ROSSINIIl Viaggio a ReimsOssia l'Albergo del Giglio d'OroDramma giocoso in one act

  • Mozart - Le Nozze Di Figaro Mozart - Le Nozze Di Figaro | DVD | (14/03/2008) from £22.59  |  Saving you £7.40 (24.70%)  |  RRP £29.99

    Recorded live at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden London on 10th 13th and 17th February 2006.

  • The Ultimate Opera Collection The Ultimate Opera Collection | DVD | (14/05/2007) from £7.04  |  Saving you £11.83 (59.20%)  |  RRP £19.99

    Titles Comprise: CARMEN by Bizet from the St. Margarethen Opera Festival 1998 AIDA by Verdi from the St. Margarethen Opera Festival 1997 DON GIOVANNI by Mozart from the Prague National Theatre 1991 TOSCA by Puccini from the O'Keefe Centre Toronto 1989 NABUCCO by Verdi from the St. Margarethen Opera Festival 2000.

  • 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.

  • Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier -- Vienna/Kleiber Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier -- Vienna/Kleiber | DVD | (03/09/2004) from £9.99  |  Saving you £0.00 (0.00%)  |  RRP £14.99

    The epic grandeur of Der Rosenkavalier stems not just from its immense length (over three hours) but from the all-too-human complexity of its characters--each of whom is smitten with someone else--and the endless stream of graceful melodies the composer conjures. After the tonality-stretching dissonance of Salome and especially Elektra, Strauss moved onto a different musical path here: the music's sheer gorgeousness has given this most heartbreaking of 20th-century operas its pride of place in the repertory. For this 1994 performance at the Vienna Opera House, conductor Carlos Kleiber leads a committed reading of the buoyant score that savours every note. The three leads are superb singer-actresses who get full marks for embodying Strauss's most richly romantic creations: Felicity Lott (the Marschallin), Anne Sophie von Otter (Octavian) and Barbara Bonney (Sophie) also offer a truly entrancing final trio, one of the great scenes in all opera. The stereo sound mix is solid, as is the video transfer. --Kevin Filipski, Amazon.com

  • Natural World Natural World | DVD | (25/06/2007) from £N/A  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £19.99

    Fromthe ice age and woolly mammoth to the oceans and rainforests Discovery looks at all that is incredible about our world

  • Gugielmo Tell - Rossini Gugielmo Tell - Rossini | DVD | (23/04/2004) from £10.33  |  Saving you £2.66 (20.50%)  |  RRP £12.99

    A performance of Rossini's 'Guglielmo Tell'. Sung in Italian with subtitles.

  • Mozart: Don Giovanni -- Zurich/Harnoncourt Mozart: Don Giovanni -- Zurich/Harnoncourt | DVD | (12/03/2002) from £9.99  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £29.99

    In this Zurich Opera House staging of Mozart’s darkly comic cautionary fable Don Giovanni the lighting and stage design keep the characters shaded in half-shadow: even Zerlina’s wedding feels like a subdued affair here, and the Don’s banqueting room is a suitably gloomy venue for the Stone Guest’s climactic visit for a spot of dinner and damnation. Both this staging and video director Brian Large’s filming play no tricks with the audience’s expectations, opting for a largely traditional presentation of this tragedy of swaggering bravado, cuckolded lovers and revenge from beyond the grave. Nikolaus Harnoncourt brings all the sensitivity of his historically informed approach to the orchestra pit. Heading a very strong cast are Rodney Gilfry, defiantly strong-voiced but also haughtily handsome as the seducing Don, and Cecilia Bartoli, a mercurial presence as Donna Elvira. Their scenes together crackle and fizz, even when Bartoli’s extremely ripe vibrato contrasts a little uncomfortably with Harnoncourt’s authenticity. Liliana Nikiteanu makes for a pretty, naïve Zerlina, convincingly torn between her Masetto (Oliver Widmer) and the animalistic attraction of the Don. Laszlo Polgar’s Leporello is wheedling and base, but still the inheritor of his master’s charisma; Isabel Rey and Roberto Sacca are solid as the colourless moralists Anna and Ottavio; while Matti Salminen’s powerful Commendatore isn’t expected to do anything more than stand still and declaim. Overall this is an excellent musical performance, unexceptionally staged. On the DVD: Don Giovanni on disc has a good 24-minute "Behind the Scenes" feature, including interviews with Cecilia Bartoli, Harnoncourt, Gilfry and Isabel Rey. There’s also a trailer for other ArtHaus releases. The 16:9 picture sometimes struggles to bring definition to the dimly lit sets; sound though is crisp and clean PCM stereo or Dolby 5.1. There are subtitles in five languages. --Mark Walker

  • Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg -- Australian Opera / Mackerras [1988] Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg -- Australian Opera / Mackerras | DVD | (20/02/2004) from £18.50  |  Saving you £11.49 (38.30%)  |  RRP £29.99

    Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg is Wagner's most life-affirming opera, a romantic comedy about life and love in 16th century Nürnberg with none of the mythological characters and settings of the composer's other operas. The story concerns a knight, Walther Von Stolzing (here sung by Paul Frey) who must win the hand of the woman he loves, Eva (Helena Doese) by competing in a competition to become the Master Singer of the city. Against him are various romantic rivals, while in the role of his eventual mentor is the shoemaker Hans Sachs (Donald McIntyre). Doese brings just the right innocent femininity to one of only two important female roles--the other is filled by Rosemary Gunn as her governess, Magdalene. Paul Frey is fine as the romantic young knight, but the opera belongs to the great New Zealand Wagnerian bass-baritone, Donald McIntyre. His performance is richly insightful as only one so steeped in the world of the composer could be. The staging is deliberately unspectacular, the colours muted to the natural earth tones of the Middle Ages, focusing all attention on the characters, drama and exhilarating music. Though running three-and-a-half hours, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg is an excellent introduction to Wagner's art; especially as presented in this 1990 performance in an engagingly direct and unpretentious style, one that draws the audience in and makes for highly effective small-screen viewing. On the DVD: Die Meistersinger is presented on two DVDs to maximise picture quality over the 227-minute playing time. The image is 4:3 and is typical of a 1990 live opera performance recorded on video, being perfectly acceptable while revealing all the faults of the medium. The stereo sound is very good without being exceptional. There are optional subtitles in English, German, French and Spanish but no extras. --Gary S Dalkin

  • Parsifal - Wagner/Stein Parsifal - Wagner/Stein | DVD | (16/07/2007) from £14.99  |  Saving you £0.00 (0.00%)  |  RRP £14.99

    Wolfgang Wagner's arrestingly beautiful production filmed live at Bayreuth in 1981 and directed by Brian Large features a stellar cast led by Eva Randova Bernd Weikl and Siegfried Jerusalem.

  • Les Paladins - Rameau [2004] Les Paladins - Rameau | DVD | (31/10/2005) from £23.99  |  Saving you £6.00 (20.00%)  |  RRP £29.99

    Inspired by a fable by La Fontaine Rameau produced perhaps his most brilliant music for his penultimate great work blending reality and surreal on several levels.This passionate new production by Jose Montalvo stunningly choreographed by Montalvo and Dominique Hervieu sets new standards in entertainment charm and ingenuity. The sharp and spectacular multimedia staging does full justice to Rameau's dazzling burlesque confirming Olivier Rouviere statement that 'Les Paladins is the last laugh of a witty 77-year old composer'. Recorded live in 2004 at the Paris Theatre du Chatelet in true surround sound both the virtuoso cast and Les Arts Florissants are in top form clearly enjoying themselves in the masterful hands of William Christie.

  • La Scala Collection La Scala Collection | DVD | (02/05/2006) from £46.99  |  Saving you £13.00 (21.70%)  |  RRP £59.99

    Various Composers: La Scala Collection - 11 Operas

  • Aida [2003] Aida | DVD | (21/05/2004) from £5.19  |  Saving you £24.80 (82.70%)  |  RRP £29.99

    Daniela Dessi Elisabetta Fiorillo Fabio Armiliato Juan Pons and Roberto Scandiuzzi lead the cast in the renowned period production filmed in 2003 against the historic paper trompe-l'oeil sets painted between 1936-45 by Josep Mestres Cabanes the last representative of the old Catalan school of stenography.

  • A Midsummer Night's Dream - Britten A Midsummer Night's Dream - Britten | DVD | (09/01/2006) from £11.85  |  Saving you £4.14 (25.90%)  |  RRP £15.99

    Britten's opera recorded live at the Teatro Del Liceu in April 2004.

  • Mozart: Cosi fan tutte [2000] Mozart: Cosi fan tutte | DVD | (30/06/2001) from £N/A  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £29.99

    Mozart's third and final opera with librettist Lorenzo da Ponte, the hugely ambitious dramatic comedy Così fan Tutte (roughly translated as: "They're All Like That"), is brought passionately to life in a first-class production conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt and featuring one of the great starring roles for Cecilia Bartoli. Filmed live at the Zurich Opera House in February 2000 on a set which visualises the subtitle "The School for Lovers", the plot revolves around two army officers arguing about the fidelity of their brides, then setting out to test their chastity. Despite the often playful humour, this is not only psychologically telling music-making, but reveals Mozart exploring the structure of opera, discarding convention to mix large ensemble sections with arias for as many different combinations of singers as possible. With Liliana Nikiteanu attractively contrasted with Bartoli, and thoroughly convincing performances by Roberto Sacca (Ferrando) and Oliver Widmer (Guilelmo), this Così has a freshness and flow which, coupled with the timeless romantic themes, feels very contemporary. On the DVD: the presentation, which includes an interesting 22-minute behind-the-scenes documentary, is spread over two DVDs. There is a multi-language booklet minus libretto, though there is the option to watch with English subtitles. Given the difficult live stage lighting conditions the 16:9 anamorphically enhanced picture is as good as can be expected. There are both stereo and Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks, though the latter gives the voices a disconcertingly disembodied character, leaving the former to be preferred. The total running time is approximately 213 minutes, not 275 minutes stated on the packaging. --Gary S Dalkin

  • Massenet - Manon [2008] Massenet - Manon | DVD | (07/01/2008) from £13.79  |  Saving you £6.20 (31.00%)  |  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.

  • Wagner-Der Ring Des Nibelunge Wagner-Der Ring Des Nibelunge | DVD | (02/07/2007) from £32.67  |  Saving you £27.32 (45.50%)  |  RRP £59.99

    This legendary Bayreuth Festival production of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen directed by Harry Kupfer with designs by Hans Schavernoch and conducted by Daniel Barenboim is considered perhaps the finest video recording of these four operas ever made. For their innovative modernist staging Kupfer and his team turned away from the work's time of origin and located The Ring at a road of history a meeting-place of past present and future which sets the scene for the story's struggles of power and love. Barenboim's authoritative yet highly responsive reading of the immense score and the extraordinary performances of the cast help to make this a truly memorable Ring.

  • Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen -- Complete Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen -- Complete | DVD | (15/10/2001) from £N/A  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £95.99

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