In the annuals of music history Joan Sutherland's name will always be inextricably linked with the tragic heroine of Donizetti's dark romantic opera. It was the role which catapulted her to international stardom in 1959 and remained the perfect showcase for her remarkable vocal agility and acting ability throughout her career.
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
Daniela Dessi and Delores Ziegler lead the cast in Mozart's brilliant and witty opera as the two women whose faithfulness in the face of romantic love is ruthlessly tested in Da Ponte's comic tale. Mozart lavishes some of the finest music ever written on the unfolding story of the two sisters' chaotic and fickle love affairs with their two Italian army officers. Unlocked from the archives of RAI television this 1989 recording is a classic from one of the world's great opera houses.
Internationally renowned director Franco Zeffirelli brings Verdi's masterpiece to the screen. Based on Shakespeare's enduring classic 'Otello' is an epic tragedy of jealousy and betrayal. When the scheming Iago (Diaz) believes Otello (Domingo) has overlooked him for promotion he wreaks a subtle and terrible revenge on his master convincing him that his young wife Desdemona (Katia Ricciarelli) is unfaithful. Otello realises the deception too late spiralling into madness and murd
Recorded live at the Sydney Opera house this Australian Opera Production of Puccini's masterpiece was staged by the makers of the film 'Strictly Ballroom' with music under the direction of Julian Smith.
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.
Carlo Rizzi conducts Verdi's Il Trovatore with the assistance of the Royal Opera House Orchestra.
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
Puccini's Wild West opera based on Belasco's play The Girl of the Golden West has the California gold rush as its dramatic backdrop for a story in which Minnie the only woman in a mining camp gambles on her one chance of happiness. Lorin Maazel conducts a fine cast in Jonathan Miller's 1991 production of the compelling and evocative opera which Puccini himself considered his best work. Unlocked from the archives of RAI television this is a classic recording from one of the world's great opera houses.
This famous and highly-praised Royal Opera production by film director John Schlesinger filmed in 1981 is as good as we are ever likely to see. The spectacular designs by Maria Bjornson and William Dudley vividly bring Hoffman's nightmare world to life. The brilliant cast is led by Placido Domingo as Hoffmann in one of his towering portrayals. He has become wholly identified with this part in a way that no other artist has.
Clint Eastwood's career is the stuff of legend and so is the man. As riveting as many of the characters he has created from the Man With No Name to the man with an unforgettable one Dirty Harry Clint Eastwood has left an indelible mark on every role he has played and on the films he has directed with such distinction that they have earned him two Best Director Oscars'' for Unforgiven and Mystic River. In his interview with the Actors Studio the two-time Academy Award''-winner reveals the frank knowledgeable highly articulate man behind the laconic images that have made him world-famous for forty years.
A performance of Verdi's Simon Boccanegra which tells the story of the struggle for power in 14th Century Genoa. Claudio Abbado conducts.
A performance of the Mozart opera Don Giovanni.
La Boheme - Recorded live at the Teatro degli Arcimboldi Milan February 2003 - Staged by the Teatro all Scala.
This 1986 production of Madama Butterfly strives, with its Japanese director and designer, for authenticity in the Japanese setting, yet is somehow entirely Italian at the same time. Yasuko Hayashi's Cio-Cio-San is surprisingly tough, rejecting the arguments of her uncle and the marriage broker with more anger than usual, and her suicide is as much a moral statement of integrity as a sentimental gesture. Accordingly, Dvorsky's sexually magnetic Pinkerton is even less sympathetic--you can see what she sees in him, but he is arrogant and a user, except when he is being lyrical--and Zancanaro's Sharpless, the consul who expedites Pinkerton's betrayal of his wife but develops his own compassion for her, is all the more complex and interesting. The production has real charm as well as authenticity on its side; the staging of the love duet is impressive in its use of shadow and delicate light. Maazel's interpretation has a forceful energy that the recording impressively conveys. --Roz KaveneyOn the DVD: The DVD has scene selection, and subtitles in German, French and English; the menu adds Spanish.
Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen is a real charmer of an opera, a tale that shows the natural world the composer had loved from childhood in its true colours: miraculous, beautiful, mysterious but also cruel. The inspiration came from a series of illustrated stories published in a Czech newspaper. The Vixen of the title is captured by a forester and taken home as a plaything for his children. She is soon thrown out of the house and has to make her own way in the world, encountering lust, stupidity, pride, love and ultimately death. This 1995 performance was taken from the Chatelet Theatre in Paris. Visually, Nicholas Hytner's production is a triumph, the animals wonderfully wittily wrought (the mosquito with its syringe for a nose, the mangey old dog, distasteful in baggy Y-fronts, the hideous, goggle-eyed frog). And it's also brilliantly cast: Eva Jenis's Vixen is funny, sexy, endearing and youthful enough in voice and figure to convince. Thomas Allen is a veteran of the role of the Forester, a huge presence and singing in impeccable Czech. In fact, there's not a weak performance here, and that goes for the dancers and instrumentalists as well as the singers. And at the helm, who better than Sir Charles Mackerras, arguably the greatest living interpreter of Janacek's music? This is in essence a grown-up fairy tale, ravishingly done and extremely highly recommended. On the DVD: The Cunning Little Vixen is presented on disc in vividly remastered PCM stereo, with 16:9 picture format that does full justice to the alluringly colourful designs. The disc is encoded for regions 2 and 5, and the menu and subtitle languages are English, German, French and Spanish. The useful booklet gives coherent background information and synopsis as well as full casting details. There's also a substantial (23-minute) trailer of other offerings from Arthaus Musik. --Harriet Smith
Tancredi was the work on which Rossini's reputation as a composer of tragic operas rested, just as L'Italiana in Algeri ("The Italian Girl in Algiers") had been his first comic masterpiece. Inevitably, given the opera seria conventions within which he was working, it can seem terribly static nowadays--this is a work whose stage action consists almost exclusively of entrances and exits, and of characters emoting in various combinations--but when the emotions are as powerful as those here it hardly matters. The breeches part of Tancredi is one of Rossini's most powerfully lyrical: Bernadette Manca de Nisa is especially moving in the famous aria "Di Tanti Palpiti". The heroine Amenaide, wrongfully accused of treason, has the most to do emotionally, and Maria Raul is suitably touching, collapsing decorously to the floor as a way of conveying extremes of shame or incredulous hurt. Ildebrando D'Arcangelo does what he can with the stiff villain, Orbazzano. In some ways, the star of the performance is Raul Giménez in the unpromising role of Amenaide's much-deceived father Argirio, combining authority with pain and making both highly musical. Throughout, Gianluigi Gelmetti's intelligent conducting of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra makes the delicate sides of the scoring matter most:he has learned from original instrument performances how to bring out the plangency of Rossini's woodwind writing.On the DVD: The DVD has no additional features except for subitles in Italian, French, German, English and Spanish and menus in French, Spanish, German and English. The sound is presented perfectly adequately but unexcitingly in PCMstereo and the picture ratio is 4:3. --Roz Kaveney
Chorus Of The Deutsche Oper Berlin Orchestra Of The Deutsche Oper Berlin Conducted By Lawrence Foster Live from the Deutsche Oper Berlin
Opera in three acts.Recorded live at the Semperoper Dresden 2-3 June 2000.
Zombie Flesheaters 2
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