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Camille Saint-Saens - Henry VIII - Theatre Imperial de Compiegne [DVD]

Philippe Rouillon , Michèle Command , Pierre Jourdan    Universal, suitable for all   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £15.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Philippe Rouillon, Michèle Command, Lucile Vignon, Alain Gabriel, Philippe Bohée
  • Directors: Pierre Jourdan
  • Writers: Armand Silvestre, John Fletcher, Pedro Calderón de la Barca, Pierre Léonce Détroyat, William Shakespeare
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: French
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Cascavelle
  • DVD Release Date: 19 Aug 2010
  • Run Time: 200 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001ZW6R4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 80,650 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

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4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Treat 30 Dec 2013
By Colin W
I think this comes into the category of French Grand Opera. It is on a historical subject, in 5 tableaux (4 Acts) and includes an extended ballet sequence. The libretto covers the period of Henry's marriage to Catherine of Aragon from the time of Anne Boleyn's arrival until Catherine's death, when she has been replaced by Anne as Henry's wife. Henry's execution of Buckingham takes place off-stage in Act 1, forming a foreboding climax to the act. The love of Gomez (the Spanish ambassador) for Anne forms an important sub-plot throughout the work.
The sets and costumes are traditional in this production and work very well. They include a game of royal tennis to open Act 2. The performers are all excellent. Phillipe Rouillon really looks the part as Henry, acts and sings superbly. The same can be said of Lucile Vignon who makes a beautiful Anne Boleyn and Michele Command is outstanding as Catherine. Alain Gabriel as Gomez looks and acts the part but has a slightly lighter voice than the others.
It was a real treat to watch this opera. It is full of glorious music with magnificent arias for Catherine and a stunning seduction scene between Henry and Anne in Act 2. Act 3 is extremely powerful with Henry and Catherine facing the Synod to achieve his annulment. He rejects the Papal Legate's comments and establishes the Church of England and separates from Catherine. The whole tableau is a brilliant set piece. The ballet sequence is stunning with excellent music.
It is difficult to understand why this work is not regularly performed. It is very successful, interesting and dramatic. I recommend it to any opera lover.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent opera but no information with dvd 14 Mar 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This opera covers the earlier wives of Henry and the cast is excellent and the music and staging are good. It is a close second to Samson and Delilah. It loses one star because there was no information in the box and you were left with only the English sub titles to tell what was going on. I suspect that there should at least have been a leaflet as all other operas from the same source had one, and if some one has bought a dvd of this opera that includes a leaflet let me know via this web site.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars French Opera at its best 1 Feb 2006
By Giles Bernard J. Hall - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Henry Vll - Saint-Saëns: I have had the CD's of this opera for some time now; from the same production, and I was elated when I saw it had been released on DVD. Having viewed it, my opinion of this under-produced opera has strengthened. It is well cast and the settings and costumes are sumptuous to say the least. Philippe ROUILLON is a formidable Henry, in fact one could be forgiven for confusing him with the real Henry. Michèle COMMAND gives a commanding performance as Catherine of Aragon (if you'll pardon the pun). Her rendition of "À ta bonté souveraine," from Act lll, just about brought the house down.

Lucile VIGNON's light Mezzo voice gives Anne Bolyn just the right weight. Alain GABRIEL as Don Gomez has a nice light tenor voice, however a little under-powered for what the role demands. I don't know whether it was the positioning of the microphones or what, but in the ensembles the soloists tended to get lost. One really had to strain to pick them out. The production was first rate and the sound over-all was excellent even if it was only in 2 channel stereo. Permanent English subtitles to follow the plot.

The End credits and encores went nearly as long as the opera. This is a generous DVD with a total playing time of just over 200 minutes. My only gripe with Kultur DVD's is the limited information you get with them. Only a slick with the tracks on it, but, I suppose we should be grateful for that. Let's hope that this will start a revival of Henry Vlll's in our opera houses. If you are seriously into French Opera, bye it, you won't be disappointed.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars for Henry VIII 16 April 2006
By Corvus Corax - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
As a dedicated Puccini opera buff, I found myself overwhelmed by this powerful, colorful and soulful Saint-Saens Henry VIII. The broadcast won't let go. Having watched it on television several times, I have yet to tire of it, and recommend it highly to anyone who wants to broaden his or her scope of how well less well known opera can stand up to the competition. Bravo!
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding production 14 April 2006
By Magnus the Berlioz fan - Published on
This is an outstanding production that I seriously recommend. Saint Sains wrote many operas that are totally neglected today. Many of them had historical themes and were completelly out of fashion when Wagners "fantasy operas" ruled the opera world. Lets hope we will heare more of this brilliant composers neglected operas!
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent performance of a rarely heard opera 29 Mar 2006
By A. BOSS - Published on
This is an opera I had never heard before with a cast I had not heard of, so I didn't konw what to expect. I purchased it because I was interested in seeing a Saint-Saens opera other than Samson & Delila, which is the only Saint-Saens opera that I am familiar with. I was very pleasantly surprised by this DVD.

This is a conventially staged opera with very good scenery & costume and excellent singing and conducting. Although it doesn't contain any well known arias, it is very melodic throughout. If you are looking for a less well known opera to add to your collection, I would highly recommend this DVD.

My only complaint is the lack of information (no synopsis of the story, etc.)in the one page booklet that comes with the DVD, although the (English only) sub-titles help in following the action.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Henry VIII Revived 16 Aug 2013
By Paul H. May - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I was looking for this opera for a long time and although it hasn't released on CD you will find the DVD perhaps much better. The costumes and scenery is wonderful. The entire cast did very well. I truly enjoyed Philippe Rouillon as Henry VIII. This opera was done after the famous Saint-Saens "Samson & Delilah" opera. If you enjoyed Samson then I think you will like this opera as well. This opera was performed at the Theatre Imperial de Compiegne.
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