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Puccini: La Fanciulla Del West [Nina Stemme, John Lundgren, Aleksandrs Antonenko] [Euroarts: 2072594] [Blu-ray] [2013]

Nina Stemme , John Lundgren    Exempt   Blu-ray
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: £29.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Puccini: La Fanciulla Del West [Nina Stemme, John Lundgren, Aleksandrs Antonenko] [Euroarts: 2072594] [Blu-ray] [2013] + Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin [Krasssimira Stoyanova, Simon Keenlyside, Elena Maximova] [Opus Arte: OABD7132D] [Blu-ray] [2013] + Verdi: Un Ballo In Maschera [Massimiliano Pisapia, Franco Vassallo, Chiara Taigi, Riccardo Chailly] [Euroarts: 2055107] [Blu-ray] [2013]
Price For All Three: £72.71

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Product details

  • Actors: Nina Stemme, John Lundgren, Aleksandrs Antonenko, The Royal Opera Orchestra
  • Format: Classical, Widescreen
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese
  • 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: 2 Sep 2013
  • Run Time: 140 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00E5QJ9SE
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 84,803 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Puccini himself described La fanciulla del West as his best and most important work on the path to a new orchestral idiom.

Director Christof Loy stages the opera as an early Hollywood Western and depicts the action surrounding the impossible but passionately erupting love story of Minnie and the most wanted criminal in the West as a psychologically finely honed character study of great suggestive power.

Exactly 101 years after its dazzling world premiere at New York's Metropolitan Opera, Stockholm's Royal Opera House presents an equally brilliant, modern-day interpretation of this rarely played opera with an outstanding cast.

Singing the lead role is Nina Stemme who is one of today's best youthful-dramatic sopranos. The markedly-voiced baritone John Lundgren and the Italianate Latvian tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko can hardly be surpassed in charisma.

With subtitles in 6 languages, outstanding performance recorded at the Royal Swedish Opera House in February 2012

Picture format Blu-ray: 1080i Full HD - 16:9
Sound format Blu-ray: PCM Stereo, DTS HD Master
Region code: All (worldwide)
Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese
Booklet notes: English, German, French
Running time: 140 min
German FSK: 0

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By I. Giles HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Blu-ray
This recording, made in February 2012 in Stockholm, presents one of Puccini's rarest major operas and one which Puccini himself rated highly. However, after initial successes the popularity of the opera has declined so it is a pleasure to welcome this particularly successful recording.

The quality of the actual recording is excellent across the board with sharp imaging giving good rendition of colours even when the lighting is subdued. The sound is equally excellent and is presented in DTS 5.1 and stereo. Thankfully radio mikes with their inherently false sound effects are not used in this production and all the singing is delivered naturally and this is an enormous advantage and enhances the sonic effect of the recording considerably.

The production places the action believably in the period of an American gold-rush camp as Puccini intended and the costuming is consistent with an early Hollywood western of the period. This cinematic connection is further established with the use of sepia toned filmed close-ups of the interaction between main characters at intervals mostly projected against the groove and tongued saloon walls of the main setting. This seems totally acceptable as a device and has the advantage of further establishing the apparent vintage of the setting through the use of sepia imaging and by giving the audience a slightly different viewing angle of the action on stage. This combination of an essentially traditionalist staging with use of cinematic elements applied in a restrained manner reflects Puccini's own interests in pushing the boundaries of his dramatic operas to create realism on stage.

The singing and acting of all those on stage is of a uniformly high standard and overcomes some of the stilted libretto.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent performance from Stockholm 9 Sep 2013
By J. Aitken VINE VOICE
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
This is a very fine performance of personally my favourite Puccini opera. Fanciulla is finding more productions today and is slowly growing in favour as people discover the wonderful soundscape that Puccini creates for this extraordinary Western opera. There are few show stopping numbers if any, but the whole piece builds dramatically in a marvellous way and, with great singers, the end can be truly moving. Christof Loy's production works for me, concentrating on the individual characters in what is quite a spare setting which benefits from some unusual cinematic projections in the manner of some old John Ford classic westerns. Minnie's horse must be pretty tired, as she manages to ride from Death valley to California in a remarkably short time! The idea is great though.

In the first act some of the wigs / hairpieces are caught in the steely glare of blu ray, which takes no prisoners, but the characterisations of the miners are very fine and well sung too, so the odd awkward visual does not really detract. What really makes this production work though is the superb trio of principal singers; Nina Stemme, John Lundgren and Alexandrs Antonenko, all of whom
are vocally marvellous and dramatically completely inside their respective roles.

All in all a most rewarding issue which now must be the top recommendation for this opera on Blu Ray.

Highly recommended.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificient! 2 Sep 2013
Format:DVD
Staging, singing, playing, conducting, filming - everything comes out at its very best here.
Antonenko and Stemme make a wonderful couple, no uncertainty about their acting or singing. And Loy has given us quite a bit of his genius. You don't have to look around for a Fanciulla on DVD any more - here it is! It shall be very hard to beat!! Really in the Wild West. it's fun!!! You can imagine the effect on the public of Minnie's entrance in the opera house, just as seen in this film! They had to destroy a curtain every night! :-)))
(I may add that I attended the first night in Stockholm).
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Format:DVD
Christoph Loy directed this La Fanciulla del West which is the first in Stockholm since 1934, when tenor Jussi Björling was the biggest star as Dick Johnson. In Loy's production the star is today's best dramatic soprano, also a Swede, Nina Stemme. This new production has been casted with the best possible Swedish singers, the only foreigner being tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko as Dick Johnson.

Loy uses a combination of very modern sets on the stage together with old western movies kind of filming, at the same time with live singing in front of it. The opera begins with a short western movie in which Nina Stemme (as Minnie) comes riding a horse towards the public, mounts the horse, and then suddenly she comes through the curtain with two guns pointing to two
directions. Now the whole action starts.

In the first act Minnie is visible all the time. On the left hand side we see Minnie's small room in which she makes herself ready for work in the pub. Most of the stage is dedicated to the pub/tavern and the miners coming to have a dring there, and Minnie teaching them some things about life. The sets in all acts are just perfect for this production, as in my opinion the main focus is to be on the three main characters, Minnie, Dick Johnson and Jack Rance.

Soprano Nina Stemme, who has made many of her new roles first at her home house, the Royal Opera House in Stockholm (Minnie, Turandot, and Salome as latest in 2013) - is just superb as Minnie. According to some interviews this role had been in her biggest dreams for years and then she got the opportunity to make it in her home town - and HOW she does it!!! She is
perfect as Minnie, as she has the most incredible dramatic voice with which she can sing softly, pianissimo, but also fortissimo over all the others.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Odd but Evocative Production 18 Sep 2013
By S. Daniel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
La Fanciulla is one of my favorite operas so I was pleased to get this DVD. Sat right down and watched it on the day it arrived. I had a very mixed response to it. (Yes, the overture sequence was interesting.) I disliked the set tremendously; I am very fond of the one they have used at Covent Garden, and liked the one at the San Francisco Opera. Both of those are much more wild-west in feeling than this one. I felt as though this one was being staged in somebody's (Swedish) house, or in a restaurant. I was also put off by having Minnie hanging around in something that looked like an office, both in Act One and even worse in Act Three. She should burst upon the scene, always. (The way she does at the end of the overture.) How can I take it seriously that she is lounging around in her office while they're getting ready to hang Dick Johnson (in the restaurant!)? Doesn't she hear? Doesn't she care? Why doesn't she just do something? Very distracting. Two other things I disliked were her costumes. She looked like a tart in a bathrobe with a bad haircut. This is not the Gold Rush -- unless it is the Chaplin movie, and some of the barbering of the cast indicated it might be. Also, the lighting in Act Two was hideous. Film Noir. I could light it better in my own living room.
In terms of the performance itself, I didn't care for Nina Stemme when she is attempting to be tender and innocent. When she's angry, wow! Super. In that sense, the second half of Act Two was tremendous. I'm a bit on the fence about her voice in general, and of course Minnie sort of screams a lot in a not so gorgeous way, but as I said, in the dramatic crunch she was riveting. John Lundgren showed both the aggression and the vulnerability of Jack Rance. Nobody can equal Roberto Frontali for me, but Lundgren was pretty good for not being Frontali. I found Aleksandrs Antonenko very good to listen to and quite fascinating to watch. He emanates many layers of complexity in this good guy turned bad guy who wants to be a good guy. I like hearing a robust tenor who seems secure about his voice and also seems secure about himself. Niklas Bjorling Rygert (sorry, my keyboard doesn't seem to have an umlaut) was a standout as Nick. (It helped that he was shorter and more blonde and costumed more vividly than the miners, so you can tell who's who, but also he just did a fine job.) Agneta Lundgren gave us a warm, romantic, sympathetic Wowkle. (Quite a feat considering the dismal dialogue she is stuck with.) The fast action in Act Two was breathtaking; watching Ramirrez plunge into a snowstorm without his coat made his intention very clear, despair to the point of suicide.
So after all my complaints, why did I rate this so high? The portrayal of not only the individual dramas but the collective, crowd interactions of the miners became, by Act Three, poignant beyond what I have seen in other Fanciullas. It was absolutely clear in Act Three that the miners were evilly piling accusation upon accusation, wanting to destroy Ramirrez utterly. It was a chilling portrayal of crowd violence that had had its foreshadowing in the card game violence in Act One. Minnie's appeals to the individuals, given as she cradles Ramirrez, are more powerfully done than in productions in which the darkness of the miner's attitudes is skipped over. And the farewell they sing to Minnie and Johnson as they leave is -- I only just noticed this in this production -- an echo, a revisiting, of the troubador's song of loneliness. In Act One they were lonely for their various homelands; in Act Three they are again bereft, and this time it is pretty clear that they chose their bereavement by driving Minnie and Ramirrez away.
An elderly gentlemen whom I sat next to at the San Francisco Fanciulla in 2010 said he had always wondered, until that night, what on earth that Bible lesson had to do with anything. He said he'd just realized that it is the center of the whole opera.
This production makes that completely clear. I will be looking at this DVD many times, not just the once.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly enjoyable 8 Sep 2013
By Dag Kyndel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Staging, singing, playing, conducting, filming - everything comes out at its very best here.
Antonenko and Stemme make a wonderful couple, no uncertainty about their acting or singing. And Loy has given us quite a bit of his genius. You don't have to look around for a Fanciulla on DVD any more - here it is! It shall be very hard to beat!! Really in the Wild West. it's fun!!! You can imagine the effect on the public of Minnie's entrance in the opera house, just as seen in this film! They had to destroy a curtain every night! :-)))
(I may add that I attended the first night in Stockholm).
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I too didn't like the sets nor the lighting but the principal voices 26 July 2014
By operamarty - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I too didn't like the sets nor the lighting but the principal voices, orchestra, conductor and chorus were top notch. It is really hard to beat the Domingo Met or Covent Garden versions of this opera (which is a favorite of mine). I find the music just gets better with a great cast, regardless of the production. Some truly beautiful melodies. I liked Stemm and she nailed all the high notes - this is a difficult score and requires a dramatic soprano - and I'm really liking Antanenko (his Otello DVD is also very good). Lundgren was excellent as Rance. I'll watch this again along with the Met and Royal Opera DVD's in my collection. I couldn't give this 5 stars because of the production, sets and lighting, which were really close to awful. I manage to ignore such matters when the singing is way above par - the singing here is way above par! I recommend it to your library.
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