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Rameau: Hippolyte Et Aricie [Blu-ray] [2014]

4 customer reviews

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Rameau: Hippolyte Et Aricie [Blu-ray] [2014] + Richard Strauss: Ariadne auf Naxos (Glyndebourne) [2014] [Blu-ray] + Wagner: Der Fliegende Hollander [Samuel Youn, Franz-Josef Selig, Ricarda Merbeth] [Blu-ray] [2014]
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Product details

  • Actors: Ed Lyon, Christiane Karg, Sarah Connolly, Stephane Degout, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
  • Format: Classical
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Korean
  • Region: All Regions (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Opus Arte
  • DVD Release Date: 30 Jun. 2014
  • Run Time: 186 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00KQHWB40
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 96,875 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Hippolytus Ed Lyon
Aricia Christiane Karg
Phaedre Sarah Connolly
Theseus Stéphane Degout

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
The Glyndebourne Chorus

Conductor William Christie
Director Jonathan Kent

Recorded live at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Lewes, June 2013


In Glyndebourne's first-ever staging of a opera by Rameau, director Jonathan Kent presents a production which, in his own words, strives to appeal to every sense and show audiences how engrossing and musically ravishing French Baroque opera can be'. Rameau's inventive take on Racine's great tragedy Phèdre is brought to life by Paul Brown's colourful and elegant designs and Ashley Page's playful choreography. Ed Lyon and Christiane Karg give captivating performances as the titular young lovers, while Sarah Connolly, making a welcome return to Glyndebourne, invests Phaedra with both grandeur and a desperately human vulnerability' (The Independent). Leading exponent of early music William Christie sets an exhilarating pace, galvanising the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment to playing of tremendous panache' (The DailyTelegraph).

Running time: 187 minutes
Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/KO
Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

Review

Under William Christie, the Orchestra of Enlightenment delivers musky strings beguiling recorders, meaty bassoons and an earthy musette. The choral singing is excellent. Performance **** Picture & Sound ***** --BBC Music Magazine, Oct'14

Ed Lyon and Christine Karg make touching lovers, Stephane Degout is convincingly anguished as Theseus, and Sarah Connolly formidably regal as well as despairing. If you enjoyed (William Christie's)and Kent's The Fairy Queen, you will enjoy this. --Gramophone, Oct'14

This is a triumph: a hugely enjoyable production, with extremes of humour and pathos. --IRR,Jan'15

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David Garrett on 28 July 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Hippolyte et Aricie runs for almost three hours, doesn’t have much by way of arias and its already meandering plot is frequently interrupted by dances. Basically a typical French Baroque opera. It all has the potential to be very dull – but not when it’s delivered in an inspired production such as Glyndebourne mounted in 2013. Some of the production concepts are admittedly a little unconventional, but it’s all superbly realised and there’s never a dull moment. One of these concepts is that the scenes set in the chaste goddess Diana’s realms should all be represented by “cool” places – hence the prologue is set in a giant fridge and other scenes are set in a coldstore and a mortuary. The scene set in Hell is set behind the fridge – populated by some very repellent-looking insects. The sets and costumes are all extremely effective, and often very witty.

Musically this is tremendous. All the singers are very good – but the standout performers are Sarah Connolly and Ed Lyon. The always-excellent Sarah Connolly gives a riveting performance as the Scorned Woman and Wicked Stepmother Phaedra. Ed Lyon sings brilliantly as Hippolyte, and looks entirely plausible as the object of Aricie’s love and Phaedra’s lust. Christiane Karg might be a bit two-dimensional as Aricie – but I think that’s more Rameau’s fault than hers.

The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment play superbly for William Christie – probably currently the world’s finest exponent of this repertoire. The chorus and dancers are also excellent – and another brilliant feature of the production is the degree to which the dances and the dancers are integrated into the whole.

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable release. At the time of writing this is the only DVD/blu-ray available of this work, although another version, from Emanuelle Haim and Le Concert d’Astree, will be released in the Autumn of 2014.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER on 18 July 2014
Format: Blu-ray
Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie can often feel like a rather dry and academic work of Baroque opera but William Christie and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment present a delightful and lively account of the work at Glyndebourne that shows that the elegant rhythms and melodies of the work can actually be sensitive, expressive, witty, thoughtful and movingly tragic. The 2013 Glyndebourne production also recognises that entertainment also plays a vital role in the presentation of Baroque opera and it's hard to imagine anything quite so spectacular as Paul Brown's designs for this production directed by Jonathan Kent.

Quite why it seems to take place inside and behind a giant fridge may be hard to fathom and likely to come as a bit of a shock to the bewildered viewer. It's at least appropriate to characterise the icy detachment of the goddess Diana by confining her to the ice-box, while a fiery Cupid, whose influence is to cause such havoc to Diana's followers and worshippers, hatches out of an egg - but what on earth are the gods doing in a freezer in the first place and why is Hell depicted in the gunk at the back of the fridge? Well, in addition to being a classical text, Hippolyte et Aricie is very much a domestic drama. This doesn't always translate perfectly, Neptune's grand entrance not exactly the kind of spectacle it ought to be, taking place in the fish tank of Theseus and Phaedre's tastefully-decorated suburban semi-detached, but it's visually impressive in its own way.

The harmony of the universe has been disturbed by the dispute of the Gods and by the influence of Cupid, and as an opera, in its structure and in its musical arrangements as well as in its subject, Hippolyte et Aricie operates very much on this notion of harmony and the balancing of elements.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By H. A. Weedon TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 Jan. 2015
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Here we have an outstandingly good rendering of Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie. In fact, Glyndebourne is to be congratulated on producing yet another all time great. It's so very morishly watchable and, although I haven't owned this recording for very long, I've already watched it three times and jumped around with joy each time in recognition of its inherent inspirational qualities.

We have here a supreme example of how to 'modernise' a work without damaging its raison d'etre. Happily, Rameau's works lend themselves to this kind of adaptation and, I have to say, beginning the performance by staging the prologue in and in front of an open fridge works wonderfully well. I like the way the chorus and dancers came out of the fridge and how the chaste Goddess Diana sang from one of its frozen compartments in contrast to the warmer place from which Cupid sang after he had emerged from an egg. The female dancers, understandably, initially wear fur coats and the male dancers eventually emerge from among the hanging sausages. I was impressed by the two large pieces of broccoli that were brought out of the fridge towards the end of the prologue. They reminded me so much of the tasty broccoli I grow in my garden and I looked at my own fridge and wondered what would happen when I opened its door next time. Although it's impossible to know precisely how those of bygone ages thought inside themselves, I really do believe that Rameau had a sense of humour and would have loved all this.

Christiane Karg is outstanding in the role of Aricia who loves Hippolytus, equally well played by Ed Lyon. In Act 1 one of the functions of Diana as the Arch Huntress is realistically displayed with the arrival of slain stags resplendent with antlers.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Some idiot let loose to direct this... 31 July 2014
By Kindle Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray
Musical values, especially leadership from Christie, as expected, singing and orchestra good. But really, the production just undercuts the dignity and scope of the intention. Pitiful. Some idiot director should be .. well, at least fired. So disappointing. I saw Les Arts Florissants production in Brooklyn back in the late 90's, gorgeous, powerful. This is just trite. And I love the music so much...
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
In our tranquil sanctuaries, we are not disturbed by love's distractions. 18 Aug. 2014
By Alwa - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This production made me happier than 2 marriages. I thought it was wonderful. It presents a magnificent and engaging spectacle in a truly Baroque spirit. Powdered wigs and historicism could not have achieved that (though there are some powdered wigs among the members of Diana's court in the brilliant act 4 but never mind that.) The time and location are not ancient Greece or Rameau's mid-eighteenth century France. It's hard to place it exactly... much of it takes place in and around a fridge. The prologue presents the open fridge with a lovely pastoral scene produced with broccoli trees, cauliflower clouds and a lemon-slice sun... (but no cellophane flowers or marmalade skies... this isn't the Beatles.) Act one takes place outside the now closed fridge with the followers of Diana engaging in some ritual sacrifices and related blood-bathing. In act two we visit hell behind the fridge - this act is very gothic with red-faced furies poking out from the back of the fridge and spidery Fates forecasting doom. In act three the fridge has been transformed into a 1970's looking British home for the intimate scene between Phaedra and Hippolytus (it's always difficult to broach a conversation about one's incestuous love and this one goes even worse than one might expect...) The compartmentalized home with the front wall removed was a stroke of genius. We get to see all the characters brooding about their fate and circumstances in their separate rooms during the whole scene while others are singing their parts (I imagine lots of homes are like this... but without the front wall removed... or the singing.) In act four the fridge becomes one giant room with the bed transformed into a forest for the lovers, Hippolytus and Aricia. The storm comes in through the window and knocks Hippolytus through a hole in the floor to his death. This brings us to act five which takes place appropriately in a morgue with the fridge transformed into a giant cooler for the recently departed. But don't worry, this is French Baroque opera and unhappy endings are not allowed. Racine's unrelenting tragedy is lightened by a little post-mortem resuscitation and all live happily ever after (...well, except Phaedra. Theseus doesn't seem too happy either.) So what to make of the fridge and what is the unifying theme in this production? Places where we get our sustenance, where we live, sleep, eat and die? I don't know. I just know it adds up to one incredible show. The performance of note here is that of Phaedra performed by Sarah Connolly. It is a blistering performance (like everything I've seen her do!) Phaedra, of course, is what this opera is all about just as it was for the plays of Euripides and Racine and Sarah does not disappoint. She is a woman in turmoil to the nth degree. Stephane Dugout also did a wonderful job as Theseus and Ed Lyon presents a very squeaky clean Hippolytus in fine voice. Another standout was Emmanuelle de Negri in several roles including the High Priestess and the Huntress. She nails "A la chasse" which was, surprisingly, one of the high points for me. And William Christie is at the podium!! What more could you want? A powdered wig is not going to make this any better.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A harmonious meeting of spectacle and scene 18 July 2014
By Keris Nine - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray
Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie can often feel like a rather dry and academic work of Baroque opera but William Christie and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment present a delightful and lively account of the work at Glyndebourne that shows that the elegant rhythms and melodies of the work can actually be sensitive, expressive, witty, thoughtful and movingly tragic. The 2013 Glyndebourne production also recognises that entertainment also plays a vital role in the presentation of Baroque opera and it's hard to imagine anything quite so spectacular as Paul Brown's designs for this production directed by Jonathan Kent.

Quite why it seems to take place inside and behind a giant fridge may be hard to fathom and likely to come as a bit of a shock to the bewildered viewer. It's at least appropriate to characterise the icy detachment of the goddess Diana by confining her to the ice-box, while a fiery Cupid, whose influence is to cause such havoc to Diana's followers and worshippers, hatches out of an egg - but what on earth are the gods doing in a freezer in the first place and why is Hell depicted in the gunk at the back of the fridge? Well, in addition to being a classical text, Hippolyte et Aricie is very much a domestic drama. This doesn't always translate perfectly, Neptune's grand entrance not exactly the kind of spectacle it ought to be, taking place in the fish tank of Theseus and Phaedre's tastefully-decorated suburban semi-detached, but it's visually impressive in its own way.

The harmony of the universe has been disturbed by the dispute of the Gods and by the influence of Cupid, and as an opera, in its structure and in its musical arrangements as well as in its subject, Hippolyte et Aricie operates very much on this notion of harmony and the balancing of elements. Rameau - as academic a composer as he might be - makes the case not only structurally and harmonically, but with a sensibility for the beauty of imperfect humans aspiring to be gods. William Christie fully explores all the melodic and harmonic richness of what Rameau expresses so brilliantly in the musical arrangements, but also balances this with the requirements of the singing. Spectacle ("le merveilleux") and entertainment ("divertissement") are other factors that count towards this balance and harmony of all the elements, and that's all there even in the gorgeous but dramatically pointless ballet interludes and in the big and smaller details of the production design.

If the strangeness of the Baroque elements, the dances and the production design don't always fully sustain the interpretation, the singing performances are strong enough to make up for the lack of drive in the latter half of the work. Stéphane Degout is an excellent, richly-voiced Theseus, but it's Sarah Connolly who makes the biggest impression as a simply stunning Phaedre. In addition to being merely a formidable presence, Connolly's performance - alongside Christie's arrangements - also manage to elicit some sympathy for her character's predicament. As Hippolytus, Ed Lyons is perfect for the intentions of this production, his voice delicate but also strong enough to be capable of matching and standing up to Connolly/Phaedra. If he was weaker, this wouldn't work half as well. Christiane Karg however just didn't work for me as Aricie. It can be somewhat of a bland role, but Karg didn't really have anything to enliven it here.

On Blu-ray, this Hippolyte et Aricie looks and sounds every bit as spectacular as the production itself, with a bold colourful video transfer of the performance and crystal clear sound mixes in LPCM 2.0 and DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1. Aside from the Cast Gallery, there's only one extra feature on the disc, a fifteen-minute making of that covers all aspects of the production, interviewing Christie and Kent, but takes a particular interest into Paul Brown's unusual costume and set designs. The disc is BD50, region-free, with subtitles in English, French, German and Korean.
12 of 21 people found the following review helpful
What a wasted opportunity! 1 Sept. 2014
By tony in ca - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Boy, 18th century French art was really stupid. I know! Let's make fun of it by staging one of its loveliest and most serious works in a refrigerator!

I've been waiting for a long time for Hippolyte on video--but I won't touch this travesty.
2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Five Stars 1 Nov. 2014
By Jdlordq - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Amazing production !!!!
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