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Pfitzner: Palestrina (Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Christian Stückl, Simone Young) (Euroarts: 2072524) [Blu-ray] [2013]

Bayerisches Staatsorchester , Christian Stückl    Exempt   Blu-ray
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: £29.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Pfitzner: Palestrina (Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Christian Stückl, Simone Young) (Euroarts: 2072524) [Blu-ray] [2013] + J.S. Bach: St. Matthew Passion (Amsterdam 2012) (Iván Fischer, Mark Padmore, Peter Harvey) (Arthaus: 108075) [Blu-ray] [2013]
Price For Both: £59.11

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Product details

  • Actors: Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Christian Stückl
  • Format: Classical, Widescreen
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English, German, French
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Euroarts
  • DVD Release Date: 4 Mar 2013
  • Run Time: 197 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00AKGA19Y
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 116,236 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Bayerisches Staatsorchester
Simone Young
Recorded live at the Nationaltheater, Munich, 10 & 14 July 2009

Requiring 38 soloists, chorus and large orchestra, Palestrina, Hans Pfitzner's (1869-1949) "most important work" (Süddeutsche Zeitung), is a challenging opera to stage. Written in a lush late-Romantic idiom, the masterpiece weaves a fictitious tale around Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, one of the most important Renaissance composers and renovators of sacred music, who fears losing his creative powers and his role in society.

In Munich, the city in which it was given its world premiere in 1917, the Bavarian State Opera succeeded director Christian Stückl, best known for his staging of the Oberammergau Passion Play and the Salzburg Festival's "Jedermann", transformed the monumental work into an optical pop art event.

Conductor Simone Young maintains a silky, organic orchestral texture, and expertly holds the reins of the many vocal and instrumental parts. Heading the many outstanding soloists are the imposing Christopher Ventris as Palestrina, Bayreuth regular Falk Struckmann and baritone Michael Volle.

Picture format Blu-ray: 1080i Full HD
Sound format Blu-ray: PCM Stereo, DTS-HD Master Audio
Region code: All (Worldwide)
Booklet notes: English, German, French
Running time: 197 mins Performance + 9 mins Bonus

Product Description

EURA 2072524; EURARTS - Germania; Classica Lirica

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Magnificient music - appaling staging 28 Mar 2013
By G. King
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
I have longed for this great opera to be re-issued and when it emerged on bluray this should have exported me to Palestrina . Nothing prepared me to see the ludicrous staging. I could hardly suppress my laughter when at last the Pontiff finally made his appearance. In what should be an awe-inspiring and uplifting climax we were treated to an under 5's kindergarten. Still the music lives on and is supremely played out under the watchful eye of Simone Young. Its still a must have issue for fans of late 19th/early 20th century romanticism, pity about the bigheads !
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A successful pop-art approach 25 Jan 2014
By Jorge
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
The story is based on the life of the famous 16th century Italian composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and his struggle against the Catholic church. The scenario is based on the romantic assumption that Palestrina created Missa Papae Marcelli to save polyphony from an attempt to return to Gregorian chant. The music is a beautiful, high-romantic blend of Schumann and Wagner. There are strong hints of both Die Meistersinger and Parsifal, but Hans Pfitzner has an ability to work within a post-Wagnerian language, yet producing something on its own terms.

The monochromatic stage and costumes - black, white, hot pink and absinth green - are visually appealing. All of which serves to contemporice the story a little, but without radically changing the setting in time and place. In sharp contrast we see most of the singers with 'white-face' makeup, something more associated with a comedy than with a serious work. However, the cardinals and archbishops look impressive in fine bright costumes, but why equip Palestrina and his son with modern clothing? There are moments of great beauty, notably the sheerly magical scene with the nine ghostly 'Masters' encouraging the disillusioned composer to return to composition, and the 'divine intervention' scene where Palestrina writes his Mass.

Christopher Ventris and Michael Volle en particular are standing out in the demanding roles of Palestrina and Morone, Falk Struckmann is a fine Borromeo and Christiane Karg is impressive in lyrical expression as Ighino, and provides much needed contrast in a very male-voice dominated opera. The Bayerisches Staatsorchester, led by Simone Young, do absolute justice to this marvelous music. The staging looks every bit as impressive as it should be in the Blu-ray transfer and it sounds marvelous.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb performance of a rarely performed opera 21 Aug 2013
What a surprise this Hans Pfitzner's opera Palestrina was, to see and hear it for the very first time. I had no idea what to expect of it really, I was a bit afraid that the music would be so modern that I wouldn't even be able to watch the opera to the end - music without any clue or no (beautiful) melodies to be heard. I was so happily surprised to hear Pfitzner's music which sounded so familiar to me - it reminded me of Richard Strauss' and even Gustav Mahler's music, remotely of Richard Wagner's music.

After a long period of neglect Pfitzner's opera Palestrina as well as his other music came to the concert and opera programs in the 1990's. He was mostly forgotten because during the World War II he was pro-Nazi and had very strong opinions on the issue with Jews. Anyway his music seem to be well worth performing. And the music has nothing with the ideological issues to do.

The production of the Bavarian State Opera is directed by Christian Stückl who is known for his productions of the Oberammergau passion plays - so this background probably brings something quite new to this opera production (which is his first operatic production), something he can utilize from what he did earlier. On the stage there isn't very much staging, nor does it change very much from act to act - but this works just fine. The costumes that are used, are then very colourful and beautiful - also the lighting and colours there are very much used to the advantage.

Palestrina requires 17 singers, choir and of course a very large (Wagner-like) orchestra. To have 17 well singing and acting singers is challenging, but in Munich the cast is very good and even, amongst the soloists there isn't really anyone who isn't good.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A successful modern production 30 Aug 2010
By Archie
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
For lovers of German philosophical operas this DVD is most welcome. I have known and loved this opera for many years since buying the splendid 1973 Deutsche Grammophon recording conducted by Raphael Kubelik with Nicolai Gedda in the title role. My preference is normally for traditional productions set in the period to which the opera relates but I can accept modern productions as long as they do not perversely distort the composer and librettist's intentions.

The plot of the opera is based on the apocryphal story of how polyphonc music was to be banned but Palestrina wrote a mass of such beauty that the pope relented and polyphonic music was saved. The libretto was written by the composer, Hans Pfitzner.

The first act starts with a dialogue between Ighino, Palestina's teenage son and his pupil,Silla. Palestrina is depressed and unable to compose following the death of his wife. Cardinal Borromeo arrives to commission the mass to save polyphony but Palestrina refuses saying he is no longer able to compose. The cardinal is displeased and leaves. Palestrina is left in despair. A procession of the ghosts of the old masters appear and tell Palestrina that it is his duty to compose the mass and overrule his protests. Angels appear and a heavenly host sings the Kyrie, Credo and Gloria. Palestrina is inspired and starts to write the mass. In the morning Ighino and Sulla find him asleep surrounded by the pages of the newly composed mass.

The second Act is set at the closing session of the Council of Trent in 1565. There is lengthy discussion between the cardinals, bishops and the king of Spain's representative in which the threat to polyphony is discussed as well as squabling between the paticipants over status and the conduct of the assembly.
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