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
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.
One of the most acclaimed Wagner productions of the postwar period this electrifying revolutionary Bayreuth staging of The Flying Dutchman catapulted the German director Harry Kupfer to international fame. Kupfer's psychologically acute production presents the entire story as a hallucination in which Senta's yearning for the eternally wandering Dutchman sends her into a trance-like state. Senta is sung by Danish soprano Lisbeth Balslev the American bass-baritone Simon Estes portrays the Dutchman while the Finnish bass Matti Salminen is Daland.
Benjamin Britten's dour masterpiece Peter Grimes has been well-served in video recordings, yet this stark, intense production may become the top choice for most viewers. One of its major attractions is outstanding camerawork, under the direction of Barrie Gavin, powerfully reinforcing the shifting moods created by the music. The photography is notable in frequent close-ups, particularly those that focus on the ravaged, vulnerable and intensely expressive face of Philip Langridge in the title role. His interpretation is strikingly different from that of his chief video rival, Jon Vickers, who presents a more burly characterisation. The ambiguities in the role of Grimes make it possible to emphasise either strength or vulnerability in this story of an alienated fisherman, who stands virtually alone against a small (and small-minded society), vast forces of nature and a run of bad luck. His young apprentice has died (possibly because of his neglect or brutality); he is legally acquitted but found guilty by his neighbours and forbidden to take another boy as apprentice. He ignores that warning, the second boy dies accidentally, and he commits suicide under intense public pressure. Langridge gives a striking account of the role's psychological depth and complexity, aided by a well-chosen and directed cast. James Atherton conducts expertly. The chorus and orchestra are first-class, and the famous sea interludes, which have found a secure place in the concert repertoire, are visually enhanced by views of the ocean and shoreline. --Joe McLellan
Benjamin Britten's haunting and sinister opera composed in 1954 is based on the famous novella written by Henry James in 1898. Katie Mitchell's atmospheric and innovative film of the opera returns to the late 19th century setting of the original tale to a world where it is hard to tell ghosts from mere reflections in the glass. There have been many discussions about what happened to the children in both the novella and Britten's opera. This production with an inspired cast led by excellent performances from Lisa Milne and Mark Padmore remains true to both sources. The rich dark imagery entices the viewer exposing the deepest layers of the tantalising unnamed and hidden past relationships between the two servants and the children in one of the greatest operas of the 20th century.
1. Medley: White Christmas - Let It Snow - Oh Tannenbaum - Ay! Para - Navidad2. Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle3. Carol Of The Drum4. Medley: Ave Maria, Dolce Maria- Brahms' Wiegenlied5. Jingle Bells6. Medley: Children of Christmas - La Virgen Lava Panales - I'll Be Home for Christmas7. Adeste Fideles8. Cantique de Noel (O Holy Night)9. Amazing Grace10. Feliz Navidad11. Silent Night12. Pregaria (El Cant de L'Anima a la Verge)13. Medley: Winter Wonderland - Strauss's Wiegenlied - Sleigh Ride - Susani14. Un Nuevo Siglo15. Medley: Dormi, O Bambino - Happy Christmas/ War Is Over
Like the finest of film scores with its fluid beauty and succession of intensely romantic tunes, Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly has a surprisingly cinematic feel. In 1995 director Frederic Mitterand exploited this quality of the story, exposing a young woman's disillusionment against a backdrop of cultural chasms. Shot on location, with Tunisia doubling convincingly as a turn of the century Nagasaki, this Butterfly shines with fragile beauty. The house becomes a brilliantly used set; airy and full of the scent of flowers and at the same time a cage for the trapped woman. Archive footage of bygone Nagasaki is used skilfully to underline the distance between the 15-year-old bride and Pinkerton. Purists may prefer a more traditionally robust, stage-bound Butterfly, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a more visually heartbreaking interpretation. Chinese soprano Ying Huang doesn't rock the rafters with her vocal power; hers is a tender, delicately observed performance. Tenor Richard Troxton's self-seeking Pinkerton is well sung. Overall, this is a haunting cinematic treatment of an enduringly popular opera. On the DVD: Madame Butterfly is presented in a letterbox widescreen format (enhanced for 16:9 widescreen televisions). The Dolby Digital surround soundtrack engulfs the listener in some of Puccini's most memorable tunes, stringing you out and leaving you emotionally spent. The main special feature is a charming portrait of Ying Huan, providing interesting insights into how the film was made and how she won the role. --Piers Ford
Francis Poulenc - Dialogues des Carmelites.Recorded live at the Teatro degli Arcimboldi, Milan, February 2004.
The last and most subtle of Richard Strauss's operas, Capriccio gets a finely nuanced interpretation in this San Francisco Opera production. A generally excellent cast is highlighted not only by the radiant presence of Kiri Te Kanawa but by the deceptively robust performance of Tatiana Troyanos in her last operatic appearance before her untimely death from cancer. The composer described Capriccio as a "conversation piece for music in one act", and he put much effort into not only the music but the words, on which he collaborated with conductor Clemens Krauss. Krauss's verbal input was particularly appropriate in this work, because the real subject (symbolised by a conventional love triangle) is the competition (and alliance) between words and music in opera, a subject naturally close to the composer-librettist's heart. The conversation runs through the whole opera in various forms. It begins immediately after the curtain goes up, with a quarrel between the poet Olivier (Simon Keenlyside) and the composer Flamand (David Kuebler) over the respective merits of their arts. They are rivals for the hand of the widowed Countess Madeleine (Te Kanawa); she is to choose between them (i.e., between poetry and music) but she is still undecided as the final curtain descends. The intervening two hours are rich in artistic shop talk and backstage situations that will enchant sophisticated opera-lovers, as well as the love interest for the rest of us. David Runnicles conducts with a sure sense of Straussian style; and Mauro Pagano's 18th-century set creates the right atmosphere. Keenlyside and Kuebler are eloquent and believable, Te Kanawa sweet, regal and ambiguous. Hakan Hagegard and Victor Braun give particularly vivid performances in supporting roles. --Joe McLellan
Shot on location Peter Weigl's film is a spell binding version of Delius's operatic masterpiece. Based on the timeless tragedy of Romeo and Juliet the fate of the young lovers Vreli and Sali is mysteriously linked to the enigmatic Dark Fiddler. The drama is set in nineteenth century Switzerland and includes the celebrated 'Walk To Paradise Garden'.
Giacomo Puccini's La Boheme and Il tabarro, Ruggiero Leoncavallo's Pagliacci and Gaetano Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore, performed by The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by James Levine.
Smetana: Die Verkaufte Braut (Aka: The Bartered Bridge)
Featuring Jose Carreras Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti in concert on July 16th 1994 at the Dodger Stadium Los Angeles California. Zubin Mehta conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the Los Angeles Music Center Opera Chorus. Tracklist includes: 'America' (West Side Story) 'O Sole Mio' (Di Capua) 'Brindisi' (La Traviata) and 'Tribute To Hollywood' (Medley).
A performance of Wagner's opera 'Parsifal' featuring the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus. Conducted by James Levine. The action takes place in the Middle Ages. At the castle of Monsalvat cut off from the rest of the world the brotherhood of Grail Knights guards the chalice in which the blood of the crucified Saviour had once been caught. In an effort to seize possession of the Grail Klingsor a powerful magician has established his realm at the foot of the mountain peop
Recorded Live from the Zurich Opera House 2004Based on the comedy L'Attache d'ambassade by Henri Meilhac.
Cecilia Bartoli gives a performance from Teatro Olimpico Vincenza Italy. The tracklist includes 'Voi Che Sapete' Seguedille' and many more.
Staged at the Gran Teatro Del Liceu in Barcelona October 2003 this opera - written by Ambroise Thomas - is performed by the Symphony Orchestra And Chorus of the Gran Teatro Del Liceu; conducted by Bertrand De Billy.
A production of the Franz Lehar opera The Merry Widow. New dialogue was commissioned from the playwright Wendy Wasserstein.
The 1990 Metropolitan Opera performance of Die Walkure ("The Valkyrie") with James Levine conducting is a solid, four-square performance with few frills and no gimmicks, just extraordinarily fine singing and orchestral playing. There is no point in this where you find yourself asking why the director did something: this is the sort of production which could be criticised as unimaginative but defended as serving Wagner's intentions for this instalment of his Ring cycle. Levine and his orchestra give the music an emotional intensity that never overwhelms its grandeur, though perhaps in Wotan's farewell to Brunnhilde, we feel him more as father than as god. James Morris as Wotan has real stature, making us feel that he has finally created the free agents he needs to avoid the curse he has unleashed on the world, but he has broken his heart in the process. Jessye Norman is surprisingly good and erotically self-assured as Sieglinde; the Act 1 love duet with Gary Lake as Siegmund has an ardour that makes the incestuous aspect less a matter of perversity than of the conduct of heroes. Kurt Moll makes Sieglinde's rapist and husband Hunding, a three-dimensional sinister villain; and Christa Ludwig almost manages to sell us Fricka's interminable paean to family values. The most impressive performance here, though, is Hildegard Behrens as Brunnhilde, the steely godling who sacrifices everything because she learns to feel and to know what is right. On the DVD Die Walkure on disc comes with menus and subtitles in German, French, English, Spanish and Chinese and with a picture gallery of the production. Awkwardly it is presented in (American) NTSC format not PAL, with a visual aspect of standard TV 4:3. More impressive is the choice of PCM stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS 6.1; the sound is admirably clear and well-balanced. --Roz Kaveney
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
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