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Theodora [Blu-ray] [2013] [Region Free] [NTSC]


Price: £17.92 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Theodora [Blu-ray] [2013] [Region Free] [NTSC] + Handel: Semele [Blu-ray] [2009]
Price For Both: £36.08

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Product details

  • Actors: Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, David Daniels, Dawn Upshaw, Richard Croft, William Christie
  • Directors: Peter Sellars
  • Writers: George Frideric Handel
  • Producers: Glyndebourne Festival Opera
  • Format: Colour, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, German
  • Region: All Regions (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Warner Classics
  • DVD Release Date: 6 May 2013
  • Run Time: 207 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00CCE6VMI
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,793 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

A new production of Handel's tragic opera moving the story from the ancient world to the present day. David Daniels takes the role of Didymus the Roman Soldier whose Christian conscience leads him to risk his life for the noble Theodora. A highly acclaimed production first broadcast on Channel 4.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By R. H. Fitzsimmons on 21 Aug. 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Until fairly recently, most people would have heard the phrase 'Handel oratorio' and thought, "Ah, Messiah". But there is much more to Handel than Messiah, not least his 40 odd operas most of which have had a decent recording by now, or his many oratorios which are now receiving the same treatment. Even fewer people would have considered staging a Handel oratorio, but at Glyndebourne in 1996 Peter Sellars' production was a sell-out, and the adulation for the team of soloists unsparing. Hence we have this video recording, directed by Sellars himself, and capturing for posterity the dynamism and emotional intensity of this Handelian classic.

The story of Theodora, a Christian martyr of the Roman period (during the reign of Emperor Diocletian), is not a well-known one, but Handel took Thomas Morell's libretto and produced a masterpiece - one ravishing number after another.

The Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment under William Christie produces a first rate performance, even in Act 3 which in less assured hands can drag rather, without any significant action to be portrayed. Tempi and conventions are apposite, and the audience sit in stunned silence bemused by the unfolding scenes of Christian virtue and pagan obduracy.

Didymus (David Daniels) the Roman soldier loves Theodora (Dawn Upshaw), a Christian, but is under orders from the President of Antioch (Valens - bass) to persecute all those who will not honour the emperor's birthday. The Roman centurion Septimius (Richard Croft), whose job it is to ensure christian compliance with the pagan festival, is also friend to Didymus and later confronts a conflict of interest when he has to arrest his friend and have him and Theodora executed as Christians.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Noddy on 22 Jan. 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Definitive Handel from Christie. The performances could hardly be bettered in this intensely moving piece. The notorious Sellars "semaphore" is in action again, but it doesn't intrude, and the updating of the setting is both telling and poignant. Daniels is at his superb best, but the real star is Lorraine Hunt (before she was Lieberson.) The Ferrier/Baker quality of heartbreak is evident in every note, every gesture. Watch it and weep.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By pseudopanax VINE VOICE on 27 Jan. 2012
Format: DVD
I always think that it was a shame that the cast of this production were not corralled into the studio to produce a CD of this extraordinary collaboration. As it is, we have this DVD of one of the greatest performances of Handel opera or oratorio. The five American leads, Christie, Daniels, Lieberson, Shaw and Croft invest such emotion into their performances that they transcend the usual oratorio setting of Theodora to something more operatic (and one feels they would have accomplished this with a bare stage as well as with Sellars' more abstract staging). Lieberson's performance of Irene is definitive, painfully intense, almost excoriating. I have never heard another performance, baroque or otherwise, like it. Daniels' Didymus is outstanding; it's a rich performance of vocal agility and nuance, which more than established him as the greatest Handelian counter-tenor. His artistry is sublime. Richard Croft, is without a doubt the most adept Handelian tenor, and he catches the intensity from his fellow performers and delivers a beautiful performance as Septimius, especially his Descent kind pity. Dawn Upshaw is very good, but compared to her three fellow cast members, she lacks a bit of their intensity; she seems just a bit reserved even for such a character as Theodora--it's a minor quibble about a stunning production. I always thought Theodora was Handel's minor key masterpiece, but this production makes me think that it might be his greatest vocal work.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Jan. 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This really is a superb example of Glyndbourne innovation at its highest. Fantastic singing (the highlight for me being Lorraine Hunt's "As with Rosy Steps"...magical!!!) from a cast who can (shock!horror!) act as well. Superb direction too - for me, the "risky" treatment really works. I recommend it to blow away those "Handel cobwebs", along with the equally fantastic ENO production of Xerxes.
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By Pdon on 28 Mar. 2015
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The idea of turning Handel's 3 part oratorio into an opera is brilliant. This production is now seen to have movement and emotion. There is here wonderful singing by the chorus with an excellent Dawn Upshaw as Theodora and a fine supporting cast. I especially praise the truly wonderful Lorraine Hunt. Once again I marvel at the standard of music from William Christie and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
However the appalling camera work wreaks the whole production. 4 second camera movements and an overuse of close ups. A pointless set -
and why oh why does this director feel an overture cannot stand alone. So we are distracted with a chorus "doing things". All totally unnecessary.
Clearly Sellars thinks he is more important than Handel.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Marcolorenzo TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 20 Nov. 2007
Format: DVD
Musically excellent. In all fairness the concept and staging by Sellars does have moments of illumination, but since Theodora is about Christian martyrdom, i.e. a religious work,(it is not about political tyranny,as Sellars interprets it, even though perhaps Sellars may be trying to say that American politics are a form of state religious tyranny), this interpretation by Sellars is spiritually poor, pagan and godless. This interpretation has stripped the work of every hint of its delicate religious, mystical and spiritual passion. Buy it for the music, (you can basically and easily ignore the staging most of the time) and to see how culturally and spiritually poor our period is, so that when this work is properly done by someone who understands what it is all about, and feels its spiritual nobility, you will have a basis of comparison. It is quite significant that the final chorus to be sung by the Christians is instead sung by the heathens in this staging!

Some general ideas of mine and quotes applicable to this staging:
1)Sellars is one of those stage producers who is ignorant of Barogue theatre practice and the art of Baroque music in general, and this staging is an example of this ignorance.
2)This production is an example of self-indulgence and the urge to shock which obstructs the appreciation of Handel. The staging is an expression of a bloated ego, which thinks it is more important and greater than the genius Handel himself.
3)The antics of this modern stage producion "stem from ignorance, cynicsim, and the lust to exploit a hyperactive ego.
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