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  • Les Troyens: Metropolitan Opera (Levine) [DVD] [2007]
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Les Troyens: Metropolitan Opera (Levine) [DVD] [2007]


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Frequently Bought Together

Les Troyens: Metropolitan Opera (Levine) [DVD] [2007] + Boris Godunov: The Kirov Opera [DVD] [2002] [NTSC] + Borodin: Prince Igor - The Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg [DVD] [2002] [NTSC]
Price For All Three: £72.92

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Product details

  • Directors: Brian Large
  • Format: Box set, Classical, Colour, DVD-Video, PAL
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Universal Classics & Jazz
  • DVD Release Date: 16 July 2007
  • Run Time: 251 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000OONQ1M
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 88,660 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Filmed at the Metropolitan Opera in 1983, Berlioz's masterpiece is a tragic tale of love and fate based on Virgil's 'Aeneid'. Under the baton of James Levine, Jessye Norman takes the part of Cassandra and Placido Domingo fills the role of Aeneas. This performance was hailed by both critics and audiences alike. Norman's role debut as Cassandra emerged as one her most significant and compelling performances, and this opera is also a stand-out release among Domingo's extensive filmography.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 4 Sept. 2008
Les Troyens - Berlioz/The Met/James Levine [1983]

This enormously long opera (two operas really) never lets up for one second in this lavish production with period costumes but modest stage sets.

The first half is dominated by Jessye Norman as Cassandra, her overwhelming voice prophesying doom that nobody believes.

The second half set in Carthage is equally dominated by Tatiana Troyanos in a wonderful performance of Dido, partnered by Placido Domingo in fine form (in fact he did not want to sing the role of Aeneas which was too high for his voice), nevertheless the long love duet is mesmerising.

Levine and the Met orchestra are on top form with a superb performance of the Royal Hunt and Storm rewarded with tumultuous applause.

Dating from 1984 the sound and video quality is extremely good.

No opera lover should miss this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Mc Warwick on 2 Aug. 2014
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I thoroughly enjoyed this DVD although a few years back now it had so much majesty and all the Greek pathos was there. The Met Purest and Authentic productions of the 80,s and early 90,s are still so monumental. I have mentioned many times that I am not generally a lover of Pop Opera as I call it with silly costumes and next to nothing stage settings. I feel cheated out of Theatre magic but that's only my opinion. This was Grand and colourful and exactly how you want Greek stories to be portrayed. I didn't quite get the men,s feathers around the ankles - made them look a bit like Fighting Cocks but maybe that was also authentic! Talking about the Opera itself, this is a very borderline opera come oratorio. Its very static apart from a few dramatic moments with most of the well known story taking place out of view with the pratagonists giving a running commentary. That seems to have been Berlioz intention so you cant do much with that. All the leading characters were brilliant. The two main Sopranos Excellent. Jessie Norman has the best monologues and was formidable. Domingo was quite weak in his portrayal but there is not much to work on dramatically anyway. He did say that initially he was not happy with the part! James Levine as always marched us through all the everchanging moods of the music with his complete understanding giving a rousing and effective account. Of course this is a rambling and lengthy Opera but I wanted a good account to my collection and I got one! Recommended
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By marie duffy on 2 Mar. 2013
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I was pleased to have such famous voices, but the 1980s production struck me as unnecessarily elaborate, particularly in its costumes, and the singers very static in their movement, which for me drained the story of life.
Most of the singers were very large,(not Domingo), and as I'm accustomed to the current Met. productions in movies, for me the appearance of the singers was disappointing. I'd have been better with a cd.
I saw the current Met. film a few days later. The characters were vibrant, there was plenty of movement, and I was completely engaged......I didn't miss the elaborate sets and costumes one bit.
I look forward to that DVD.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By I. Zaneres on 19 Nov. 2011
This is a production that I can find nothing really wrong with, yet it does not quite gell with me. The opening chorus and the large set does justice to Berlioz flambouyant music, and Jessye Norman gives an impassioned performance as Cassandra, filling the stage like a galleon in full sail. Throughout a large cast of soloists are all up to their jobs. The horse looks a bit weird though.
In act 2 it struck me that their must be as many people in the chorus as there are in the audience. At least one highlight is the orchestral Royal Hunt and Storm.
I would also mention the opening of act 3, Philip Creech is worthy of note for the quality of his voice.
The picture quality is not crystal clear, which is a minor annoyance.
I cannot quite put my finger on what is lacking, I find myself waiting for the next bit, does the story drag? perhaps the whole event is too static, I have now sat and occasionally nodded through it twice. The estatic audience seemed impressed anyway.
The synopsis and aria listings in the booklet are pretty good, but the bonus on disc 2 is a picture gallery, and catalogue, and two trailers. Not very exciting.
I have not seen any other version, so cannot compare, but would be loath to buy one in case this is how it is!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 0 reviews
87 of 87 people found the following review helpful
Order And Excess 11 Sept. 2007
By Todd Kay - Published on Amazon.com
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It is gratifying to see this, one of the most enticing Met DVDs to have been issued on the now-defunct Pioneer label, emerge from out-of-print limbo. DG's reissue has spread it over two discs and remastered it, and it looks and sounds splendid for the effort. Claims for greatly improved sound and picture often are dubious, but having seen and heard this, I am tempted to re-buy the label's similar spiffing-up of the rather good Pioneer DON CARLO (an artifact of the same era) after all.

TROYENS, Berlioz's ambitious and comprehensive setting of Virgil's AENEID, is a challenging opera for theaters and audiences alike. It had made its belated Met debut in 1974 under the baton of its great champion Maestro Rafael Kubelik, and was chosen to inaugurate the theater's centennial season in the fall of 1983. For more than one reason, we are fortunate that a television broadcast from the run preserved the undertaking for posterity. For starters, there will never be a great abundance of recordings of TROYENS (although there are at present two other DVD versions), and the lead roles on this one reflect luxury casting at the most extravagant level. Jessye Norman, Tatiana Troyanos, and Plácido Domingo provide (literally) hours of ravishingly beautiful singing, and they are not simply empty-headed generators of pretty tone. They are all diligent and sophisticated musicians, and their work here has that rare frisson one encounters when singers of the first rank, at the peak of their capabilities, are seen and heard measuring themselves against roles in which they have not settled into a comfortable routine. There is the electricity of the special occasion, so rare in operatic videos.

This brings me to a second major reason to be grateful this exists: our supertenor did not keep Enée in his vast repertoire for long. This was the one and only production in which he sang it; no studio recording exists; and the high tessitura of the role was such a source of anxiety and second thoughts for him that he asked a few months before opening night to be released from his contract. Ever the professional, he stipulated that if no suitable replacement could be found, he would give the role his all, not least out of loyalty to Maestro Levine. Presumably no such replacement could be found in time. I would not be able to blame the Met administration if it only conducted a halfhearted search. TROYENS was not an easy sell in 1983 (and is little easier today); its conspicuous scheduling on opening night must have loomed large on the calendar; and I imagine the Met staff was collectively ulcerating at the thought of losing Domingo's marquee value for such a prestigious event. Whatever the case, he did end up singing the prima and the broadcast before withdrawing. His reviews were mostly very good, but he has admitted (in his book MY OPERATIC ROLES) to having some divo's wounded feelings about the carping of a vocal minority that he had transposed down a small portion of the tenor's music (what amounted to about eight pages in a score as long as TRISTAN, as one defender put it), after all the hard work and worry he had put into his Enée. He vowed never to touch the role again. With benefit of hindsight, he now thinks of the performance as a great career triumph, in large part because of his and Troyanos's performance of the love duet in Act IV. And he is right -- they are mesmerizing in what is without doubt the high point of a lengthy and varied score.

Troyanos, with stiff competition, all but runs away with the evening; her regal yet sympathetic Didon, with pride and pathos in exquisite balance, gains easy admission to the short list of the finest performances in my audio-plus-video library. Her performance is as impressive qua acting as it is qua vocalism. Jessye Norman is more of a temperamental match for Didon than for the role she sings, Cassandre, and she has given more subtle performances, but there is no gainsaying her intensity. With the full weight of that blockbuster voice behind Cassandre's volcanic, wild-eyed agitations in the first two acts, you wonder how this character's prophecies ever could be ignored.

With such a commanding trio at the top of the order, it is only a mild disappointment that the bench proves not so deep. Assorted "major-minor" roles are no more than adequately filled. Allan Monk's Chorèbe is the best of them -- my initial impression was that he was simply not up to Norman's scale in their duet early on (a tall order, admittedly; in her 1983 form, she would have knocked flat most baritones); but on closer inspection, one can divine shadings to what he does, and the instrument itself is of good quality. Later, however, we encounter a yelpy, pinched Iopas (his lovely solo goes for little), a slightly woolly Narbal, and an Anna who poses no risk of steering one's attention away from the Didon.

Both the production and the musical leadership are marked by good sense, lucidity, and a faith and trust in Berlioz's score. The design makes use of a simple revolving stage in a series of stark, methodical tableaux that constantly direct the viewer to the humanizing efforts of the singing actors, rather than to lavish appointments. The effect is pleasingly...well, spartan. Conductor Levine, who often seems to be passing off lethargy as profundity in Wagner, and tends toward an empty, featureless efficiency in much Italian standard rep (especially early-to-middle Verdi), puts his formidable smarts to good use here. Berlioz's overgrown problem child emerges as more unified than it has elsewhere in my experience -- the two Trojan acts are unusually convincing; the three musically stronger Carthaginian ones that follow seem to join them as part of an organic whole. Levine does particularly well by "big" passages (of which there are many); the orchestral climaxes and massed choral business have weight and power but also a fine sense of order to them. The music never sounds like spectacle and noise for its own sake; it has inevitability, grandeur. The avoidance of autopilot extends even to the conducting of the ballet sequences (of which, again, there are many; this will please or annoy, to taste, and you know who you are). It nearly goes without saying that Levine's orchestra and chorus are spectacular, surely far advanced from what Kubelik had had nine years earlier.

It would be a shame if this got lost in the shuffle of highly professional/competent modern Met runthroughs on DVD, for it is a TROYENS that deserves to be seen and considered by listeners at all levels of familiarity: those already under the work's spell, those who know it and remain skeptical, and those coming new to it. For the last-named group, I can imagine no better introduction.
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
HAVING BEEN AT THE PERFORMANCE ITSELF... 3 Feb. 2009
By jswell - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I have the 2 video tape version of this stunning opera, and actually was in the audience the night it was taped. I flew in from Chicago just to see it. If for no other reason than to hear and see Troyanos in her immolation scene alone is reason to purchase. The house went WILD. She was so emotionally drained that she had to hold the curtain for her encore(s). This is one of the highlights of the entire Domingo career; as I said, I have the 2 videotape version, but rarely play it, for fear it may break or self-destruct. That it has FINALLY made it to DVD is cause for major rejoicing. The French isn't bad, especially Norman and Troyanos-- and this was before seat-translations or supertitles existed! I just hope the sound on the DVD has been transferred and cleaned up, not that it needed anything on the videotape, by the way. This is, in many ways, as challenging an opera as War and Peace, and about the same length. Thank God this performance was preserved, and that I have this to remember how great a singing actress Troyanos was. She is sorely missed by this writer.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Stunning singing, slightly odd production 6 May 2008
By Scott Chamberlain - Published on Amazon.com
I fell in love with the story of the Trojan War, even before I sold my soul to classical music. So naturally I was drawn to this production of "Les Troyens." And there are some astonishing moments here! Norman is wildly gripping in the part of Cassandra, totally dominating the stage and the first part of the opera. Domingo makes for a strong, masculine Aeneas, and although he had some doubts about singing the part, does a fine job with it. Troyanos is good, but not as blisteringly magnificent as Norman.

I do have some problems with the staging, however. Right from the beginning, which should burst at the seems with wild excitement, we get the Trojans walking out, lining up, and declaiming that they are generally pleased the war is over. Um, couldn't they scurry, dance, hug...? The costumes seem to be of the historical epic type, but the er, "sets" are modernist symbolic. Is that the Trojan Horse they drag within the walls...? But don't get me wrong -- a solid production with some incredible singing, acting, and orchestral playing in a rich, fascinating opera that is too vast to be produced regularly. Very rewarding.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Brava, diva! 4 Mar. 2013
By Joe Murray - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Anyone who is a Jessye fan must own this DVD. Jessye's Cassandra is out of this world. BUT, the diva I am referring to is Tatiyana Troyanos, whose Dido is one of the most sublime creations in mezzo history. Today we all rave about Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's version at the MET in the early 2000s. But that pales in comparison to Ms. Troyanos. (Even her name is Trojan!!!)

I bought the disk for Jessye, but I cannot stop thinking about Tatiyana.

(BTW - there is a CD of a radio broadcast whereJessye sings BOTH Cassandre and Dido -- it is definitely worth procuring.)
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Fabulous and historic 6 Jan. 2013
By Robert Hills - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I saw this at the Met at its first production premier in the 1973/1974 season. I have seen many other productions from the 1972 Boston Opera (Regina Crespin) to the exceptional current Met production with Graham. While the singing in the 2012/13 Met productions soars to an unequaled high, both the newest production and the excellent Gardiner procuctions have set designs that are, well, way too cold for mid-nineteenth century French opera. In contrast in the 1973/74 production the Met went all out with buildings, gilt, video effects of decidedly questionable aesthetics (some reviews at the time were downright mocking) and acrobatics/ballet from end to end. If you are a traditionalist or just want to see what could be done when money was no object then this was the one to see. The revival in 2003 shown here jettisoned the glitz in favor of a more spare set but retained in spirit many of the wonderful excesses of costume. The large scale ballets and acrobatic interludes were also retained if only to highlight the Berlioz score and depth of the Met's chorus/ballet corps.
And by all means this is not to lose sight of the singing by Troyanos, Norman and Domingo which is spectacular.
If one might quibble it would be with the filming which was clearly an afterthought.
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