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  • J. Strauss II: Die Fledermaus -- Glyndebourne J. Strauss II: Die Fledermaus -- Glyndebourne | DVD | (20/02/2004) from £29.99  |  Saving you £0.00 (0.00%)  |  RRP £29.99

    Johann Strauss II's wonderfully convoluted and ingenious Viennese farce Die Fledermaus is a masterpiece of operetta. The tale spins waltz-like around the philandering Von Eisenstein (Thomas Allen), his wife Rosalinde (Pamela Armstrong), who is tempted by singing teacher Alfred (Par Lindskog), and Adele (Lyubov Petrova), Rosalinde's maid. Following Shakespeare's romantic comedy template there is much mistaken identity, confusion of purpose and cross-dressing, with the events unfolding around an increasingly drunken masked ball and the morning after in the local jail. The champagne-fuelled entertainment carries various satiric undertones, but this adaptation by director Stephen Lawless and Daniel Dooner emphasises colour, wit and flamboyance, always ensuring the jokes work well for a modern audience. The production requires acting as strong as the excellent singing, and Thomas Allen delivers a subtly layered interpretation of Eisenstein, while Pamela Armstrong's Rosalinde offers a winning study in smouldering sensuality, well contrasted with Lyubov Petrova's more directly sexual Adele. The revolving set mirrors the swirling Strauss dances and the elegant design is a perfect match for the boldly extrovert costumes. If this Glyndebourne 2003 production doesn't match Dame Joan Sutherland's retirement performance at the Royal Opera House in 1977 for historic value, it is easily as much fun and the production values are second to none. On the DVD: Die Fledermaus is presented on a two-disc edition with Acts 1 and 2 on the first disc and Act 3 and 37 minutes of extras on the second DVD. The 16:9 anamorphically enhanced image is as strong and detailed as BBC live digital video recording can be and the sound is offered in excellent stereo, as well as superb 5.1 DTS, which places the listener in the acoustic equivalent of the best seat in the house. The extras begin with 20 minutes of short but worthwhile interviews with Pamela Armstrong, Thomas Allen, Hakan Hagegard, conductor Vladimir Jurowski and director Stephen Lawless. There is a five-minute feature on the history of the waltz and a four-minute humorous interlude in which Udo Samel explores the pleasures of champagne in his character as the gaoler Frosch. More substantial if less entertaining is Return of the Architect (8 min), a look at the design and construction of the modern Glyndebourne opera house. The set is completed with routine photo and costume galleries and a nicely produced booklet illustrated with good quality colour photographs. Optional subtitles are available in Dutch, English, French, German and Spanish. --Gary S Dalkin

  • A Midsummer Night's Dream - Britten A Midsummer Night's Dream - Britten | DVD | (09/01/2006) from £8.85  |  Saving you £7.14 (44.70%)  |  RRP £15.99

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

  • Don Giovanni - Mozart Don Giovanni - Mozart | DVD | (14/03/2005) from £12.99  |  Saving you £7.00 (35.00%)  |  RRP £19.99

    The Opera Don Giovanni drama in two acts.

  • La Scala Collection La Scala Collection | DVD | (02/05/2006) from £46.59  |  Saving you £13.40 (22.30%)  |  RRP £59.99

    Various Composers: La Scala Collection - 11 Operas

  • Mozart - Le Nozze Di Figaro Mozart - Le Nozze Di Figaro | DVD | (03/03/2008) from £21.76  |  Saving you £7.76 (25.90%)  |  RRP £29.99

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

  • Don Giovanni / Cosi Fan Tutte Don Giovanni / Cosi Fan Tutte | DVD | (28/11/2005) from £34.30  |  Saving you £15.69 (31.40%)  |  RRP £49.99

    Cosi Fan Tutte:Live from the Zurich Opera House 2000Don Giovanni:Live from the Zurich Opera House 2001

  • Vietnam 5 DVD box Set Vietnam 5 DVD box Set | DVD | (17/03/2008) from £N/A  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £14.99

  • Parsifal - Wagner Parsifal - Wagner | DVD | (29/03/2005) from £24.36  |  Saving you £10.63 (30.40%)  |  RRP £34.99

    Nikolaus Lehnoff's visionary staging of Wagner's opera for ENO.

  • Les Paladins - Rameau [2004] Les Paladins - Rameau | DVD | (31/10/2005) from £22.39  |  Saving you £7.60 (25.30%)  |  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.

  • Rosenkavalier - Strauss [1979] Rosenkavalier - Strauss | DVD | (15/08/2005) from £18.89  |  Saving you £6.10 (24.40%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Comedy for music in three acts.

  • Luciano Pavarotti - Verdi - Un Ballo In Machera Luciano Pavarotti - Verdi - Un Ballo In Machera | DVD | (26/02/2008) from £14.60  |  Saving you £4.60 (23.00%)  |  RRP £19.99

    Giuseppe Verdi - Un Ballo In Maschera.Live At The Metropolitan Opera on 16 February 1980.

  • Gugielmo Tell - Rossini Gugielmo Tell - Rossini | DVD | (23/04/2004) from £10.49  |  Saving you £2.50 (19.20%)  |  RRP £12.99

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

  • Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg [1993] Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg | DVD | (24/11/2000) from £14.48  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £29.99

    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

  • Aida [2003] Aida | DVD | (21/05/2004) from £22.39  |  Saving you £7.60 (25.30%)  |  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.

  • 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

  • Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier -- Vienna/Kleiber Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier -- Vienna/Kleiber | DVD | (03/09/2004) from £15.38  |  Saving you £4.60 (23.00%)  |  RRP £19.99

    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

  • Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen -- Metropolitan/Levine Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen -- Metropolitan/Levine | DVD | (14/10/2002) from £43.00  |  Saving you £2.80 (6.10%)  |  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

  • Tristan Und Isolde - Wagner/Daniel Barenboim Tristan Und Isolde - Wagner/Daniel Barenboim | DVD | (16/07/2007) from £10.43  |  Saving you £9.56 (47.80%)  |  RRP £19.99

    Daniel Barenboim conducts Bayreuth's landmark 1983 production of Wagner's quintessential Romantic music-drama Tristan Und Isolde. The great Wagnerian singers Ren'' Kollo and Johanna Meier perform the title roles in Wagner's romantic masterpiece. Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's celebrated Bayreuth production is filmed on the Festspielhaus stage with six cameras and in digital sound to recreate the unique intensity of a live performance in studio quality. With its exceptional cast of singers - plus the thoughtful staging by Ponelle and the musical expertise of Daniel Barenboim - this DVD is one of the finest Tristan and Isolde productions ever

  • Reves D'Un Marco Polo - Vivier [1980] Reves D'Un Marco Polo - Vivier | DVD | (03/01/2006) from £7.49  |  Saving you £7.60 (25.30%)  |  RRP £29.99

    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.

  • The Ultimate Opera Collection The Ultimate Opera Collection | DVD | (14/05/2007) from £8.47  |  Saving you £4.50 (34.60%)  |  RRP £12.99

    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.

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