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  • Madama Butterfly: Wiener Staatsoper (Karajan) [DVD] [2005] [NTSC]
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Madama Butterfly: Wiener Staatsoper (Karajan) [DVD] [2005] [NTSC]

27 customer reviews

Price: £12.81 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Mirella Freni, Plácido Domingo, Christa Ludwig, Robert Kerns, Michel Sénéchal
  • Directors: Jean-Pierre Ponnelle
  • Writers: Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, David Belasco, Giuseppe Giacosa, Jean-Louis Martinoty, Luigi Illica
  • Producers: Fritz Buttenstedt
  • Format: Dolby, Classical, Closed-captioned, DVD-Video, NTSC, Colour
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, German, French, Mandarin Chinese
  • Dubbed: Italian
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Deutsche Grammophon
  • DVD Release Date: 9 May 2005
  • Run Time: 146 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007P0LO8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37,521 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Mirelli Freni, Placido Domingo, Christa Ludwig, Robert Kerns, Michel Senechal, Marius Rintzler are the lead singers. Karajan conducts.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Harry F. Korbl on 2 Oct. 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
The Blu-ray has excellent colour and sound. The Picture resolution is 1080i; the picture format is 4:3 (black bars left and right) and at times soft focussed, intentionally so, to give some sequences a dream like quality and a painterly feel. The sound though is excellent. You have a choice of PCM Stereo and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0. Subtitles; English, German, French, Spanish Chines & Korean.

I doubt whether this 1974 film version by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle will ever be bettered.

Mirella Freni gives a heartbreaking performance as Butterfly, her singing and acting are the best I have seen from any soprano. She brings a childlike quality to the role with her movements and also the way she uses her eyes to express emotions is wonderful, watching her you almost forget that she was a 39 year old soprano playing a 15 year old Butterfly. The suicide scene is terrifyingly tense and realistic (the last act musically and dramatically really tears at you heart strings). Placido Domingo is excellent as Pinkerton although at times he makes you forget what a bastard B.F.Pinkerton really is. The supporting characters portrayed by Robert Kerns, Christa Ludwig, Michel Sénéchal are also superbly sung and acted. Herbert von Karajan, the Vienna Philharmonic and the Chorus of the Vienna Staatsopera are at their usual high standard.

Deutsche Grammophon has many excellent film versions of operas in their vaults (like Götz Friedrich's 1974 Unitel film of Richard Strauss' Salome with Teresa Stratas), let's hope this is the first of many more Blu-ray releases to come.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By George Thanos Assimakis on 5 Mar. 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This could have been a truly memorable performance had it not been ruined by the stage Director. Musically, you will be very hard pressed to find a better Butterfly. Mirella Freni has a fresh and full voice in 1974 and delivers the demands of the title role with superb singing and wonderful acting. Her big expressive eyes, although neither Japanese nor fifteen years of age, portray all the agony that this young woman was subjected to. Her singing matches these emotions with great warmth and vocal accuracy, although at times you hear her sing but you do not see her sing as the soundtrack was superimposed onto the film at a latter stage and the principals do not mimic their own singing convincingly all the time. Placido Domingo is in truly great voice, one of his best ever vocal performances on DVD. His acting is superb, portraying the arrogant American sailor. Christa Ludwig is a jewel in the set. Both her very fine singing and her emotional acting bring a perfect portrayal of Butterfly's maid. Robert Kerns is a very good Sharpless (the American Consul) and Michel Sénéchal portrays a very vulgar Italian-style marriage broker. The Vienna Philharmonic under Herbert von Karajan provide an incredible orchestral background and under Karajan's direction the entire singing and flow of this very dramatic score reaches the finest climaxes imaginable.
So why do I give only 4 stars. Almost the entire opera is filmed on a non-discript fog bound colourless heath, covered by dry grass. Is this Mr Ponnelle's idea of a Japanese garden during the cherry blossom ? If it is, the man has a weird and twisted view of this world, a world in which the word beauty has no place. The man, judging him from his other stagings of operas, like the "Barber of Seville" also on DGG DVD, has taste.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Segovia on 13 Nov. 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Have watched this many times and it really is as good as it gets.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brian Pickering on 4 July 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Focussing our attention on just one tragic figure was a stroke of genius. Butterfly is an impossible figment but there's the hook. The real people who surround her appear dangerously self absorbed. Butterfly stands alone the essence of real tragedy. The music is fabulous and seductive, the performances superb. If you don't want to be carried away, try something else, Wozzek perhaps.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By lendanmo on 11 Mar. 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Very good viewing. Item arrived on time, well packaged and as described.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mac fan on 13 Mar. 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The singing is fantastic - it should be with these names. The set looked like a C movie - brown and white mostly. It doesn't diminish the story but it would have made the whole experience that much better.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
The singing and Orchestra no problem. It is not in wide screen and many times the quality of the picture is not as good as I would expect on Blue Ray. My comments are based on viewing it three times but not any more.

PS It is up for sale £10 00
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By gardener on 14 July 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Always has been my favourite opera & Mirella Freni & Placido Domingo are excellent in their roles. Recommend it to all opera fans.
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