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  • Puccini: Manon Lescaut -- Royal Opera House Puccini: Manon Lescaut -- Royal Opera House | DVD | (22/09/2003) from £11.77  |  Saving you £6.07 (33.70%)  |  RRP £17.99

    This famous production of Manon Lescaut from The Royal Opera recorded in 1983 features two of the biggest stars in opera Placido Domingo and Kiri Te Kanawa in their vocal prime. Placido Domingo's performance of Des Grieux is considered to be unsurpassed. Conductor Giuseppe Sinopoli made his British operatic debut with this production which has not been available on video for 10 years. Puccini's first masterpiece was rapturously received on its first night. It has his hallmark se

  • Andrea Bocelli - Sacred Arias [1999] Andrea Bocelli - Sacred Arias | DVD | (03/12/2007) from £11.41  |  Saving you £3.58 (23.90%)  |  RRP £14.99

    In reflecting on this DVD of sacred arias it is significant that Andrea Bocelli refers to the dawn of 'a new millennium' and it is appropriate that this concert was taped in Rome. In no other city of the world did the millennium have such immediate resonance and what better place for the recording of a universal jubilee celebrating the two-thousandth anniversary of the birth of Christ?

  • The Ultimate Opera Collection The Ultimate Opera Collection | DVD | (14/05/2007) from £7.99  |  Saving you £11.00 (55.00%)  |  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.

  • Orphee Et Eurydice Orphee Et Eurydice | DVD | (03/04/2006) from £7.98  |  Saving you £7.01 (46.80%)  |  RRP £14.99

    Gluck: Orphee Et Eurydice (Guidarini)

  • Bizet - Les Pecheurs De Perles Bizet - Les Pecheurs De Perles | DVD | (04/04/2005) from £16.37  |  Saving you £3.62 (18.10%)  |  RRP £19.99

    Widely remembered as the composer of one of the most popular operas of all time CARMEN Georges Bizet was also responsible for this lesser-known gem. Written when he was only 25 the work was not well-recieved upon its initial performance in 1863 but has since come to be appreciated for its beauty and orchestral subtlety. The libretto deals with two men King Zurga of Ceylon and his friend Nadir who are both in love with a high priestess Lla. Though each claim to be over Leila when Nadir recognizes her in the temple he cannot deny his feelings which are returned; though she has vowed celibacy they meet in secret and are discovered. The jealous Zurga condemns Lla to death but when he realizes she intervened on his behalf years ago he changes his mind with catastophic results. This production of the only Bizet opera to remain in the repertoire was performed in Venice with an extraordinary Annick Massis as Lla while the staging was executed by Pier Luigi Pizzi. Highlights of the show include Leila's aria ""Comme autrefois dans la nuit sombre "" and the stunning duet between Lla and Nadir ""Ton coeur n'a pas compris le mien.""

  • Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) -- Paris/Gardiner Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) -- Paris/Gardiner | DVD | (15/10/2001) from £14.06  |  Saving you £1.50 (8.80%)  |  RRP £16.99

    It is an oft-repeated saw, about life in the heavenly spheres, that the angels revere Bach but listen to Mozart. If they have DVD players, you can bet theyre now watching this stunning production of Le Nozze di Figaro ("The Marriage of Figaro"), which comes about as close to Mozartian perfection as one could possibly hope to get. The faultlessly cast youthful performers bubble with infectious energy. Alison Hagley is a sprightly Susanna with a voice as clear as a bell, and brilliantly matched by a 28-year-old Bryn Terfel both acting and sounding in fine form. Hillevi Martinpelto demonstrates why she is one of the worlds favourite Mozart singers with her melting tones, richly coloured voice and generous stage presence, and Rodney Gilfry gives a muscular, wonderfully controlled performance as the Count. Olivier Milles direction mixes knockabout comedy and restrained pathos with fluid inventiveness, and there are even--heavens, can this really be an opera?--quite a few belly laughs, and deliciously amusing details. (Susannas guitar playing during Cherubinos "Voi che sapete" is a comic delight, and Figaros hidden sneers at Count Almaviva are hilarious.) John Eliot Gardiner draws exquisite playing from his authentic-instrument orchestra and employs tempos that are ideal. Add to that gorgeous 18th-century costumes and effective sets--it doesnt get much better than this. On the DVD: the production is beautifully realised for home viewing, with clear sound (the sets are simple wooden panels, which continually and flatteringly push the sound to the front) and great camera direction. There are subtitles in Italian, English, French, German, Spanish and Chinese but no other special features.--Warwick Thompson

  • Patience - Gilbert And Sullivan Patience - Gilbert And Sullivan | DVD | (29/05/2006) from £8.50  |  Saving you £2.74 (18.30%)  |  RRP £14.99

    Gilvert And Sullivan: Patience (Stanhope Elizabethan Philharmonic Orchestra)

  • Die Verkaufte Braut - Smetana/Adam Fischer/Orchester Der Wiener Staatsoper Die Verkaufte Braut - Smetana/Adam Fischer/Orchester Der Wiener Staatsoper | DVD | (10/09/2007) from £15.04  |  Saving you £1.95 (11.50%)  |  RRP £16.99

    Smetana: Die Verkaufte Braut (Aka: The Bartered Bridge)

  • Tosca - Puccini [1976] Tosca - Puccini | DVD | (09/05/2005) from £10.84  |  Saving you £6.15 (36.20%)  |  RRP £16.99

    Opera is an inherently theatrical medium that does not lend itself readily to the realism of film treatment. The shining exception is Puccini's Tosca, an action-packed melodrama that unfolds in three taut and gripping acts, like the meatiest of Hollywood films noir. And unlike most operas, these three acts are set in three very specific Roman locales. Thus this 1976 film takes place in the church of Sant'Andrea della Valle (Act 1), the Palazzo Farnese (Act 2) and the Castel Sant'Angelo (Act 3). The evocative settings, however, would be mere window-dressing if the cast wasn't just right; fortunately here Placido Domingo is at his virile peak in the heroic tenor role of Cavaradossi; Raina Kabaivanska is a sultry, vocally beautiful Tosca; while a more infamous and domineering Scarpia than that of Sherrill Milnes can hardly be imagined. Bruno Bartoletti and the New Philharmonia Orchestra give lustily dramatic support. Here the music and vocals are pre-recorded and the singers mime to the playback. Occasionally the result is a little unnatural, but overall the cast are good enough actors to bring off the conceit even in the close-ups. It all pays off triumphantly with the gripping realism of the rooftop finale, the one place where film can improve on stage. With the authenticity of the settings assured and such distinguished leads singing so well, this is an almost ideal filmed Tosca. On the DVD: Tosca on disc is presented in 4:3 ratio with a choice of Dolby 5.1 or LPCM Stereo. The picture is adequate but a little flat (possibly because the format is NTSC not PAL) and the same can be said for the sound, which does what it should but is never revelatory. Subtitles are provided in the main European languages and Chinese. --Mark Walker

  • Parsifal - Wagner/Stein Parsifal - Wagner/Stein | DVD | (16/07/2007) from £18.23  |  Saving you £-3.24 (-21.60%)  |  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.

  • Puccini: La Boheme -- Royal Opera House/Gardelli Puccini: La Boheme -- Royal Opera House/Gardelli | DVD | (21/08/2000) from £11.41  |  Saving you £5.30 (29.50%)  |  RRP £17.99

    This full-blooded 1982 performance of Puccini's most-loved opera demonstrates just how much drive and powerful emotion can make up for a certain lack of subtlety. Cotrubas' Mimi is entirely moving in both joy and death, while never quite feeling as thoroughly frail as some of her quieter rivals; stronger tenor voices than Neil Shicoff's have recorded the role, and yet he has a Romantic passion and a dignity that many of his rivals fail to bring to the role. That under-rated singer Gwynne Howell is especially moving in Colline's farewell to his cloak--one of those perfect little showcase sections Puccini sometimes gives to minor parts. Marilyn Zschau's Musetta is broad and comic and yet somehow includes the audience in the glorious joke that her sexuality is for her; when Thomas Allen sings, to her waltz theme, of youth that is not yet dead, his ardour transcends realism. Gardelli knew this score in his bones--the production bounces along from comedy to tears to eroticism to tragedy and neither cast nor orchestra miss a single one of Puccini's wonderful touches of emotional exploitation. --Roz Kaveney

  • Puccini: Tosca -- 2002 Film Version Puccini: Tosca -- 2002 Film Version | DVD | (23/06/2003) from £15.98  |  Saving you £9.01 (36.10%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Benoit Jacquot's filmed Tosca treads a fine line between operatic staginess and cinematic contrivance. As per the libretto, each act takes place in a single setting, but with the singers here miming to a pre-recorded soundtrack. Jacquot freely reminds us of the conceit with cutaways to the recording session itself--revealing conductor, orchestra and soloists at work--thus a bridge is made between the on-screen action and the music-making itself, and the inherent duality of any opera production is laid refreshingly bare. The same cannot be said for the director's decision to interpolate spoken dialogue over the music in key places--a distraction not an enhancement. Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna are glamorous and attractive enough to make the most of their Hollywood-style close-ups; their singing easily bears similar close scrutiny--as anyone who owns the CD soundtrack album will surely already know. If Alagna lacks a little power as Cavaradossi on record, his charismatic screen presence happily compensates; Gheorghiu is both vocally and physically almost ideal as Tosca. Ruggero Raimondi's Scarpia completes an outstanding trio, and in the pit (or, rather, in the studio) conductor Antonio Pappano handles the drama of Puccini's score without missing a single nuance. Both musically and visually, then, this is a Tosca to treasure. On the DVD: Tosca on disc looks vibrant in this warm, widescreen picture accompanied by a DTS 5.1 soundtrack. Three filmed interviews--with Gheorghiu, Pappano and Jacquot--provide some insight into the making of this production. --Mark Walker

  • Berg: Lulu - Glyndebourne Festival Opera [1996] Berg: Lulu - Glyndebourne Festival Opera | DVD | (23/02/2004) from £8.14  |  Saving you £7.01 (39.00%)  |  RRP £17.99

    Alban Berg's second and last opera Lulu is one of the monuments of modernism, constructed around serial technique and containing scenes conceived of as Sonata-form, Suite and so on. The bliss of Andrew Davis's conducting in this classic Glyndebourne production is that we forget all of this--Davis doesn't gloss over the music's intellectual content, but that's not what we think about as we watch and listen. Part of the production's strength is the prodigious performance by Christine Schafer as Lulu--for once we believe in the character's sexual energy and power; and Schafer makes her real enough as a person that we largely forget the work's intrinsic misogyny. The rest of the cast are admirable too: Norman Bailey brings something perversely sweet to the disreputable painter Schigolch; Kathryn Harries makes the dying words of Lulu's lesbian lover Geschwitz one of the work's lyric high points; David Kuebler is equally powerful as Alwa. The final duet between Lulu and her destroyer Jack the Ripper is one of Wolfgang Schone's great moments, but he is equally good as Dr Schon, the man Lulu marries and kills. This is a performance of energy and beauty, matched by a simple but effective production. On the DVD Lulu on disc is presented in disappointingly in NTSC format with a 4:3 picture ratio. Fortunately, the Dolby 2.0 digital sound is ideal for the fine detail of this complex score and these nuanced performances. There are subtitles in English, French, German, Spanish and Japanese. --Roz Kaveney

  • R. Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier - Royal Opera House/Solti [1985] R. Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier - Royal Opera House/Solti | DVD | (23/02/2004) from £11.41  |  Saving you £5.30 (29.50%)  |  RRP £17.99

    Strauss' dazzling opera Der Rosenkavalier set in 1740's Vienna combines farce romance and a world of weary acknowledgement of getting older. It features some of the most gorgeous music ever written for the female voice.

  • Cosi Fan Tutte - Mozart [1984] Cosi Fan Tutte - Mozart | DVD | (02/05/2006) from £9.04  |  Saving you £1.89 (9.50%)  |  RRP £19.99

    From his initial appointing as Drottningholm's Artistic Director Arnold Ostman set about establishing a unique Mozart style attempting to recapture an authentic flavour through detailed historical research and the use of period instruments / he collaborates with German producer Willy Decker on this ever-popular Mozart comedy with an extensively rehearsed cast of young swedish singers.

  • Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) -- Glyndebourne [1982] Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) -- Glyndebourne | DVD | (26/04/2004) from £11.75  |  Saving you £5.30 (29.50%)  |  RRP £17.99

    Funny fast and furious Rossini's masterpiece Il Barbiere di Siviglia is one of the most popular of comic operas with its sparkling and stylish score. John Cox's innovative production for Glyndebourne Festival Opera with good looking authentic designs by William Dudley put plenty of fizz into this old favourite and was a real hit with the critics. The usual Glyndebourne hallmarks of team work and extended rehersal paid handsome dividends in this production filmed in 1982.

  • Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg - Wagner Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg - Wagner | DVD | (17/01/2005) from £18.23  |  Saving you £3.76 (17.10%)  |  RRP £21.99

    A performance of Wagner's opera 'Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg'.

  • Wagner: Parsifal Wagner: Parsifal | DVD | (14/10/2002) from £18.45  |  Saving you £3.24 (14.70%)  |  RRP £21.99

    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

  • Boris Godunov - Mussorgsky [1992] Boris Godunov - Mussorgsky | DVD | (05/08/2002) from £18.23  |  Saving you £-3.24 (-21.60%)  |  RRP £14.99

    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.

  • Tchaikovsky: Pique Dame (The Queen of Spades) Tchaikovsky: Pique Dame (The Queen of Spades) | DVD | (24/03/2003) from £13.25  |  Saving you £3.74 (22.00%)  |  RRP £16.99

    In terms of vocal power, lyrical beauty and idiomatic authenticity, the casting for this 1992 live recording of the Kirov production of Pique Dame ("The Queen of Spades") could hardly be bettered. Gegam Grigorian (Herman) hits his fearsome, anguished high notes with the accuracy of a laser and Maria Gulegina (Liza) has a voice the size of the QEII but uses it with great subtlety--her opening duet with Pauline floats like gossamer, and her declarations of love for Herman at the end of Act 1 are spine-tingling. Kirov superstars Sergei Leiferkus (Tomsky) and rich-toned Olga Borodina (Pauline) also sound divine. In the pit Valery Gergiev renders every nuance of Tchaikovsky's score with clarity, and drives the strings to produce an almost unbearably tense atmosphere of foreboding; Herman's manslaughter of the Countess is preceded by shallow, haunted phrases which rise and fall like a beating heart. It isn't all rosy, however. The production comes from the traditional old Kirov "stand-and-sing" tradition and is somewhat static. The characters don't interact with much detail or generate much chemistry, and the chorus moves in unwieldy blocks. For a more gripping production (though not quite as well sung) try the Glyndebourne performance. But for sheer musical pleasure, you won't find anything to beat this. On the DVD: Pique Dame doesn't feature particularly inventive camerawork, though it does give a good solid account of the production. The sound recording captures all the most important moments with clarity, though just occasionally singers stray away from the microphones. There are subtitles in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Chinese, and some trailers for other Universal Music DVDs. --Warwick Thomson

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