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Handel: Acis and Galatea [DVD] [2010] [NTSC]

Christopher Hogwood    Exempt   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: £18.66 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Handel: Acis and Galatea [DVD] [2010] [NTSC] + Purcell: Dido & Aeneas (Recorded Live At Royal Opera House Covent Garden 2009) [DVD] [2010] [NTSC]
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Product details

  • Actors: Danielle de Niese, Charles Workman
  • Directors: Christopher Hogwood
  • Format: DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Opus Arte
  • DVD Release Date: 1 Mar 2010
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003757W06
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 96,165 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Christopher Hogwood conducts the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and a distinguished cast including Danielle de Niese and Charles Workman in Wayne McGregor's new production of Handel's opera in which The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet appear in a rare and beautifully crafted collaboration. Filmed with High Definition cameras and recorded in true surround sound.

Product Description

OA 1025; OPUS ARTE - BBC - Inghilterra; Classica Lirica


Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The opposite of Eurotrash - Heavenly! 6 Jun 2012
Format:DVD
This is that rare example of what eventuates when unpretentious experts with great talent get together to produce something wonderful.
Christopher Hogwood is present, to conduct this music with his usual clarity, strength and taste (Gardiner and Pinnock being his only peers.) Every baroque opera DVD release seems to have Christie at the helm, who occasionally lets some scrappy and sonically messy orchestral performances through. I'm hoping Christopher Hogwood is utilised for many more baroque/classical opera productions.)

The sets and costumes in this are truly beautiful. The dancing is awe inspiring (as opposed to 'awesome') and the singing, casting and acting is just perfect.

Herr Handel provides that oh so important blueprint, the score, and the brilliant cast and crew who worked on this provide the rest.

To think that something like this can be put together in the late 00s gives me some faith in humanity. Perfection. Heaven on earth (and not a Disney or Eurotrash or P.C. "heaven"). Highest recommendation. Buy it! Let's reward these people - you could buy so much other rubbish with your money - it's best that it goes to all involved in this project.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Sad Hotchpotch 4 Nov 2012
Format:DVD
The voices are fine, Danielle De Niese near perfect, Charles Workman very good, Matthew Rose excellent, but an opera is not just about voices.
The sets and various backdrops are also quite reasonable but when we get onto costumes it starts to go wrong. De Niese looks as if she has been dressed out of a charity shop, the shepherds, a bit scruffy but not too bad, Polyphemus with not a lot of costume probably looks the best in character. Then we come to the dancers, they all wear flesh coloured costumes with nothing to distinguish which character they are doubling.
The dual concept I found most offputting, it took my attention off the singers, they ambled about at times, strolled around, occasionally broke out into classical ballet moves, and then made convoluted and twisted gyrations.
At times the camera follows the singers, at times includes both sets of artistes, and at others abandons the singers and concentrates on the dancers. Sometimes it dodges backwards and forwards.
The sound quality is good, the orchestra crisp and clear. The choir are also in good form but look as if they have ambled in off the street.
There is an interview in which some explanation of the production is given by the choreographer, it does not help me. I usually find that if someone has to explain what is not obvious, then the production is self indulgent or pretentious, this seems to be one of those productions.
I have taken a second viewing before reviewing, and I still cannot take to this package.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Acis and Galatea DVD - Brilliant 25 Mar 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Bought as present for partner, nearly worn out as played so often, but quality very good,
almost as good as live performance.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SuperSaint 17 Jan 2012
Format:DVD
This is a superb production. Great for lover's of Handel.The modern interpretation is brilliant and the fact that the ballet interpretation is going on at the same time as the Opera makes it a very novel event for lover's of both Opera and Ballet. The music by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment is brilliant.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beware of choreographers who stage an opera 11 Oct 2010
By R. Denes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
For a hammer everything looks like a nail, and for a choreographer any opera looks like a dance! Thus Acis and Galatea, this charming story from Ovid's Metamorphoses, put to a beautiful music by Handel in form of a mascherada, ends up like a modern dance performance.With my ballet dancer/teacher wife, I truly like dance performances, except when I expected to see and hear an opera.

The Royal Opera has a wonderful group of dancers, capable to perform any ballet. They also have very good choreographers. But it is a sorry idea to have a choreographer as the director for the performance of the opera. Here, the primary visual provided to the audience is that of the dancers, who, dressed in tight semi-transparent body-suits mostly placed in the foreground, often in front of the hapless singers. Frequently we do not even see the singers, or even the chorus, singing in the background [because of the filming]. Meantime the dancers jump, slink, roll-around, climb on each-other, and continuosly wriggle their arms and legs. According to my professional dancer wife, it is better to close our eyes and just concentrate on the beautiful voices and the music. I fully agree: I expected to see and hear Handel's opera and not a "Vitus dance" on the stage.

Most singers - visible or not - have good voices and deliveries, especially Ms. DeNiese. Christopher Hogwood and his orchestra produces a magnificent rendering of the music. But the outfits of the solo singers are shoddy and dirty, there is nothing to even suggest that this opera is about mythical demi-gods and shepherds. It rather seems they all came from an asylum.

Thus if you buy this DVD, you should be avare of the product.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Disppointments in Arcadia 4 Mar 2011
By Giordano Bruno - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Handel's first musical treatment of the tale of Acis and Galatea, based on Ovid, was a 'serenata' composed for a wedding in Naples in 1708. Serenatas were usually performed at night, outdoors, with the most skilled singers available reading their music from partbooks but standing amid decorated sets. That composition, in Italian and in Handel's most flamboyantly Italian style, only faintly resembles Handel's English "Acis and Galatea", commissioned in 1717 by the Duke of Chandos for performance at his mansion, Cannons. Most of the evidence suggests that the second piece was intended as a "masque" in the distinctively English tradition of Purcell and other 17th C cavalier composers. It might have involved gorgeous costumes, sets, and dancers, but it's not at all likely that the singers performed dramatically, as actors. Thus, "Acis and Galatea" is neither a small opera nor a ballet, in any later sense. That doesn't warrant any objection, to my mind, to staging it as such. Adding the "trope" of an artful ballet to the cantata-like music doesn't offend MY purism; if it offends yours, don't watch it!

Honestly, the dancing is the most delicious part of this staging. I'm not a fervent dance fan; it's hard to watch dancers from the orchestra pit, with your face to the conductor and your back to the stage. So I watched these dancers as if they were athletes -- acrobats -- and i took great pleasure in their supple, expressive movements, particularly the duets of Lauen Cuthbertson as Galatea and Edward Watson as Acis.

But I was not so thoroughly thrilled by the musical performance. I hate to say it, but I'd rather just watch the dancers and listen to one of the two excellent CDs of this music, one by Les Arts Florissants and the other by The Dunedin Consort. Frankly the acting performances of the singers on this DVD were upstaged completely by the dancing, and I was annoyed when the camera close-upped a singer's postures and lost sight of the dancers. I've defended the vocal artistry of Danielle de Niese several times in other reviews, so I also hate to say that I wasn't much pleased by her performance here. Her technique seems coarse -- not really bad, mind you, just not quite polished enough for Arcadia. Her physical presence, the glamour that made her a sensation as Cleopatra in Handel's Giulio Cesare, doesn't compel much attention here. Her costume is scruffy. Her movements lack the energy I expected from her. Her whole physical presence seems heavy rather than sprightly. I hope I'm mistaken, but she looks heavier in this role, in both senses, than she was in earlier roles.

Basso Matthew Rose sings the role of the lumbering, raging giant Polyphemus adequately - not outstandingly - but the production calls upon him to sing bare-chested, with his flabby belly exposed thoughout. Okay, I get the 'dramatic' point, but this is ineluctably a musical spectacle intended as aristocratic Beauty, not as sweaty verismo. My guess is that poor Matthew would have preferred a lion-skin robe or a green Shrek costume.

Charles Workman is somewhat better as an actor but not overly awesome in singing the role of Acis. His buddy Damon, sung by Paul Agnew, seems out-of-context as a slouchy, scruffy comic relief figure in pastoral paradise. Agnew's musicianship is intact, but his voice is plainly fading. Finally, there's the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, playing proficiently, conducted too cautiously by Christopher Hogwood, sounding solid but dull.

Handel's early Italian serenata, "Aci, Galatea e Polifemo", has also been released on a DVD as a semi-operatic stage piece. I haven't had a chance to see it yet. Frankly, I enjoy the earlier work, purely on musical terms, more than the later. There's an excellent CD of it -- a Brilliant Classics bargain -- sung by Stefanie True, Luciana Mancini, and Mitchell Sandler, with Contrasto Armonico conducted by Marco Vitale. If you want my advice, that CD is where you should start to appreciate Handel's musical craft.

But then, this DVD does have its moments of visual loveliness ...
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Opposite of Eurotrash - Heavenly! 2 Oct 2010
By Mr H Bolet - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is that rare example of what eventuates when unpretentious experts with great talent get together to produce something wonderful.
Christopher Hogwood is present, to conduct this music with his usual clarity, strength and taste (Gardiner and Pinnock being his only peers.) Every baroque opera DVD release seems to have Christie at the helm, who occasionally lets some scrappy and sonically messy orchestral performances through. I'm hoping Christopher Hogwood is utilised for many more baroque/classical opera productions.)

The sets and costumes in this are truly beautiful. The dancing is awe inspiring (as opposed 'awesome') and the singing, casting and acting is just perfect.

Herr Handel provides that oh so important blueprint, the score, and the brilliant cast and crew who worked on this provide the rest.

To think that something like this can be put together in the late 00s gives me some faith in humanity. Perfection. Heaven on earth (and not a Disney or Eurotrash or P.C. "heaven"). Highest recommendation. Buy it! Let's reward these people - you could buy so much other rubbish with your money - it's best that it goes to all involved in this project.
2.0 out of 5 stars a mixture that doesn't work 11 May 2013
By M. Paley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I bought this because I love Handel and I love Danielle de Niese; consequently I didn't even bother to read the reviews. A mistake! The staging gives equal importance to the dancing and the singing, and the mixture doesn't work. Neil Macgregor, who also directed, is a cutting-edge choreographer whose work I have found very exciting in the past. However, here much of the dance element is distracting -- there is just too much of it, and it is especially off-putting when the camera is on the dancers while singing is going on. The music is glorious and the sets are imaginative, but the costumes seem to have been bought in a Salvation Army store, and the beautiful de Niece is given a braided blonde wig. Buy a different one!
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