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DVD Special Features:
Arthaus Musik trailer (8 mins)
Sound: PCM Stereo
Menu languages: GB, D, F, SP
Subtitle languages: I, GB, D, F, SP
Region code: 2,5
Bel canto can be translated as "pretty singing", and that definition seems tailor-made for this production, which offers grace, charm, and a fine-tuned sense of style in abundance to compensate for its limited psychological and emotional impact. The four principal singers are all specialists in the bel canto style and this opera has played a key role in building their substantial reputations. For its sweeping musical imagination and technical wizardry, Rossini's epic about royal assassination and misdirected lust in the ancient Babylonian Empire deserves a place in any inclusive opera collection, and we are not likely to have a better video recording of Semiramide in the foreseeable future.
June Anderson has an attractive appearance and sounds exactly right in the music's florid melodic lines. But she is not dramatically compelling as the wicked queen who had her husband killed and fell in love with a man who turned out to be her long-lost son, Arsace. Marilyn Horne rose to the highest levels of international fame in the role of that conflicted son, and her presence alone would be enough to give this video classic status. Her voice was a bit past its prime when this performance was recorded in 1991, but still there is no other voice quite like it, no other voice so suited to Rossini's heroic mezzo roles. Samuel Ramey is a close bass counterpart to Anderson: great tone, agile florid singing, and a rather wooden but visually appealing stage presence. Sanford Olsen has a small role and sings it near perfectly. James Conlon gets excellent musical results; John Copley's staging is massive and static. --Joe McLellan, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I could not have made a better choice, June Andersons voice is really put to the test as The Queen, and is not found wanting. As an added bonus Samuel Ramey is singing here at the height of his power. Marylin Hornes Mezzo is powerful as the young pretender, and Stanford Olsen is a bright and listenable tenor. I should also like to hear more of Youngok Shin, but at present I cannot find her on DVD.
The chorus and orchestra are excellent as one would expect from The Met.
Sets are interesting and appropriate, with smooth changes. The costumes vary from beautiful for the ladies to impressive for the men.
The music is, apart from a couple of pieces, unfamiliar to me, but is typical Rossini, very listenable, well interpreted, but not perhaps one where one starts hummimg an aria afterwards. More dramatic say!
The extensive booklet tells one all one needs to know about the plot, the arias and the timings. There are articles on Rossini, The Production, and the leading performers.
I thoroughly recommend this DVD.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I would recommend this disc to opera lovers for its quality of singing, staging and acting.Published 6 months ago by Eric Firkins
This is a well produced opera, a bit dated and lacking consistency in its music. Only buy, at quite an expensive price, if you really need it.Published on 1 Jan. 2013 by Bruce Adams