A truly classic production by Vick of this most tempestuous and melodramatic of Tchaikovsky stage works. Even at Glyndebourne it does not get any better than this. We are far from the common fare of European opera houses, with sets that are nauseating as everyday things would seem in a deranged mind like Herman's, and with plenty of visual splendour, like the Technicolor films of yore. The sets take a few minutes to get used to, but compare this to the bland, standardized Kirov production of approximately the same time (also out on DVD), you are bound to prefer this one almost unconditionally. Sadly, Masurin as Herman sounds a bit off, but his portrayal is of staggering emotional appeal. Gustafson's Lisa, predictably, is wonderful and agile, and Palmer's Countess is a tour-de-force into schmaltz and Gothic. Young baritone Kharitonov makes a vivid impression as Yeletsky. Maybe the London Philharmonic brass is not always up to par, but conductor Davis brings out the lyrical best of the orchestra, and the lushness of the strings is a thing to strike you with awe.
Go for it, then.