Boris Godunov is the quintessential Russian opera and stands as the greatest operatic product of the Russian school. This classic Bolshoi production recorded in 1987 live from the magnificent Bolshoi theatre in Moscow is a chance to see Mussorgsky's opera in a traditional Russian production.The original staging is by Leonid Baratov with designs by Fyodor Fedorovsky. After Mussorgsky's death the work was revised by Rimsky-Korsakov and this is the version sung in t
A 1975 Royal Opera House production of Verdi's opera Un Ballo In Maschera. Conducted by Claudio Abbado and directed by Otto Schenk.
Opera doesn't come harder hitting than Die Soldaten, Bernd Alois Zimmermann's gripping attempt to reinvent the medium from the Modernist perspective of the 1950s and 60s. Those for whom opera means the Italian and French classics will blanch at the stinging vocal writing and complex orchestral contribution replete with jazz combo and electronics in Zimmerman's only work in the genre. Yet Jakob Lenz's story of the dehumanising quality of war needs no apology, and Harry Kupfer's intricate yet explicit staging--relishing the many opportunities for simultaneous action--pulls no punches. Nancy Shade is persuasive as the awkward adolescent Marie, whose naiveté leads relentlessly to her downfall. Michael Ebbecke is sympathetic as Stolzius, her jilted lover and avenger, while William Cochran is properly brutish as Desportes, the officer who initiates her spiral of decline. Bernhard Kontarsky gets a dedicated response from his Stuttgart Opera forces, who perform with belief in this often excessive but always engrossing work. On the DVD: Die Soldaten on disc has a sharp 4:3 picture and PCM stereo sound that shows little sign of age. Director Hans Hulscher has captured with real immediacy the impact of this 1989 production. There are subtitles in four European languages, and a detailed introduction and synopsis in the booklet. The special feature, however, is merely an ArtHaus trailer: a production such as this really deserves a background feature to reinforce its significance and value. --Richard Whitehouse
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!
Puccini's 'Turandot' performed by the Metropolitan Opera. Artists include: Eve Marton and Placido Domingo. Conducted by James Levine. Directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Sung in Italian
Based on the stage production by Anthony Besch.
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.
Join Keith Hartnell as he explores the six stages of this beautiful coastal path exploring the many fascinating places of interest and meeting some of the characters that make this part of the North East so special. Stunning widescreen digital film makes this DVD the perfect souvenir for anybody interested in Northumberland. The Northumberland Coast is best known for its sweeping beaches rolling dunes high rocky cliffs and isolated islands. Amidst this striking landscape is the evidence of an area steeped in history covering 7000 years of human activity. A host of conservation sites including two National Nature Reserves testify to the great variety of wildlife and habitats also found on the coast. The special qualities of this coastal landscape led to it being designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty.
George Bizet's opera 'Carmen' performed by the Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra. Conducted by James Levine.
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.
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.
L'Elisir D'AmoreMelodramma In Two Acts.
Fromthe ice age and woolly mammoth to the oceans and rainforests Discovery looks at all that is incredible about our world
John Adams set out to write an oratorio about the Nativity of Christ; but as he worked on it, El Nino became a more dramatic piece than he intended, flowering into a staged opera in which the oratorio's free-flowing singer's identity becomes an effective statement of a mystical point. Dawn Upshaw and Lorraine Hunt Lieberson--singing a mixture of biblical texts and Spanish/Mexican poetry--are both Mary and at the same time all women. The same is true of the dancer Daniela Graca, the women of the chorus and the young Hispanic-American woman who has her child and argues with her boyfriend in contemporary LA. Willard White is both Joseph and Herod, while the trio of counter-tenors are Angels and Shepherds and Kings. Because the work was written in close consultation with director Peter Sellars, it is a remarkably collaborative vision of music and staging. This is a gloriously sung piece, which continues Adams' voyage through minimalism into a lush tonal style still informed by minimalist simplicity, but it is also an impressive piece of theatre in which every physical gesture has a musical cue. This production from the Chatelet Theatre, Paris, under the baton of Kent Nagano, is more or less definitive. On the DVD: Unusually for an Arthaus Musik release, this DVD comes with an extended documentary in which Adams, Sellars, Nagano and Upshaw talk insightfully about the creation and nature of the piece. Sellars is particularly impressive in his talk of opera as the art form for a multicultural era. The picture format is 16:9 and the viewer is offered a choice of PCM stereo or Dolby Digital for the audio.--Roz Kaveney
A performance of the David McVicar production of Mozart's last opera. Colin Davis conducts the Royal Opera Chorus and Orchestra. Recorded at Covent Garden.
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.
Carlo Rizzi conducts Verdi's Il Trovatore with the assistance of the Royal Opera House Orchestra.
The legendary Russian film director Andrei Tarkovsky helmed his one and only opera in 1983 with this famed production of Mussorgsky's 'Boris Godunov'. Staged at London's famed Royal Opera House the staging features Robert Lloyd giving a masterful performance in the title role. Conductor Valery Gergiev known primarily for his fine work leading St. Petersburg's Kirov Opera takes the baton.
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
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