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  • Giulio Cesare - Handel (Glyndebourne Festival) [DVD] [2006]
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Giulio Cesare - Handel (Glyndebourne Festival) [DVD] [2006]

25 customer reviews

Price: £26.13 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Giulio Cesare - Handel (Glyndebourne Festival) [DVD] [2006] + Gluck: Alceste [DVD] [2009]
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Product details

  • Actors: William Christie, Sarah Connolly, Angelika Kirchschlager, Danielle De Niese, Christophe Dumaux
  • Directors: David McVicar
  • Format: Anamorphic, Box set, Classical, Colour, DTS Surround Sound, DVD-Video, PAL, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, German, French, Italian
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Opus Arte
  • DVD Release Date: 3 April 2006
  • Run Time: 295 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000ESST6U
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 59,659 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

David McVicar's production of Giulio Cesare manages to combine serious insight with entertainment, bringing Handel's masterpiece to life. The outstanding singing of the all-star cast, led by Sarah Connolly, and the vivid playing of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under the baton of William Christie reveal the colour and dramatic character of Handel's music.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Belcantoboy on 10 Aug. 2006
Format: DVD
If you only buy 1 opera on DVD this year (or even this decade) this is the one to buy. I have watched this so many times already with, of course, repeats of some particular favourite arias.

This is a recording of probably the best production of any opera you will ever see. I have been going to the opera live for more years than I care to remember and have more recordings that I can store. Yes, I saw this live (on one of the 2 dates it was recorded last year for this DVD). I even had to give up my booked seats for the camera and camera man!

This was a triumph at last years BBC proms as well as at Glyndebourne. Try reading the reviews given in the papers in 2005. No wonder it is a sell out with the slightly different cast at Glyndebourne this year. Again rave reviews in papers.

The staging is just a joy from beginning to end. It is impossible to single out any of the soloists as being better than the others. Each in their different way brings something special to this opera and makes an important contribution to the whole. The orchestra are renown for their playing and make a major contribution to a very special recording.

If this recording seems expensive remember that it is a 3 DVD set and is a lot cheaper that going to Glyndebourne. Ideally you should go AND buy the DVD. I was exceptionally lucky and did just that.

If you have never seen and opera or never seen a Handel opera staged, then this will be an eye opener. You will then understand why people are prepared to spend £160 a seat to see opera at Glyndebourne and the house is sold out.

"Of all the noises known to man, opera is the most expensive."

- Molière (1645)
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63 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Mr. John A. Fawssett on 9 Jun. 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I was fortunate enough to see the second performance at Glyndebourne last year. I will never forget the performance, nor the date: 7th July 2005 ... the day of the London Bombings.

Aside from my personal feelings about the outrage, there were two consequences for the performance. Firstly, at least 10% of the seats were empty - something almost unheard of - because so many of those coming down from London were unable to travel. Secondly, in response, everybody involved gave more than 100%, to put on an astonishing performance.

I have recently bought 5 copies of the DVD All but one will be given to friends and relations around the world. But I have already played my own copy several times.

I can only agree with the two rave reviews already written. But these were really about the live performances they saw rather than the DVDs. These are filmed at HD quality, over - I think - the last two performances. And it was clear to me that the production had developed beyond what I saw.

Also there is a large amount of additional features included.
These range from a very helpful visual synopsis of the plot, and a number of photos, to a couple of enthralling interviews. The first is with Danielle de Niese - the young American singer playing Cleopatra, who deservedly stole the show - and her substantial and highly entertaining account of the Glyndebourne experience and what it meant for her. The second, longer and, for the opera lover, even more fascinating, is a discussion with the major participants, including Conductor William Christie and Stage Director David McVicar.

I do not believe that a better opera DVD at present exists.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jorge on 15 Mar. 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
The production features plenty of clever stagecraft, but I fail to see the logic of transposing ancient and exotic Egypt to the period of the British occupation of Egypt in the late 19th century and it does seem rather odd to see warships and blimps instead of Egyptian feluccas and Roman ships in the background. However, David McVicar's production of Giulio Cesare manages to combine serious insight with entertainment - the latter a not-altogether welcome feature from a purist's point of view.

Daniella de Niese's vocal command and stage presence are spectacular, but I must reject gimmicks such as watching her parading about in cabaret attire and finally depositing her umbrella in the urn containing Pompeo's ashes. What should have been a gripping drama of political treachery, betrayal, vengeance, seduction, fidelity and heroism, has partly been turned into a cabaret farce. You will look in vain for depth, nobility and heroism, all of which are part of Handel's opera. On the other hand, there is much to enjoy - Cleopatra's apparently superficial flirtation with Cesare blossoms into a love affair and her early vanity is absolved by her poignant lamentation when she believes that all hope is lost. It is a deeply felt performance with plenty of accomplished and tender Handelian singing. Accomplished and tender singing also comes from Patricia Bardon's moving Cornelia and Angelika Kirchschlager's Sesto in 'Son nata a lagrimar - Son nato a sospirar' in Act 1. You can't help but admire an interpretation that sounds so deeply felt.

The best approach to staging Baroque operas seems to be to avoid the traditional approach (though there are exceptions), but to stick to the tradition in terms of singing and period instrumentation.
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