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Dave A "Dave's opera favourites" (Hampshire, England)

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Hoover Dust Manager DM6225 Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner, 2200 Watt
Hoover Dust Manager DM6225 Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner, 2200 Watt

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Impossible to service/repair, difficult to empty, 9 Feb. 2012
I have a 1900 watt version of this machine just over three years old. It seemed a good buy at the time but I really expected more from Hoover. It is made from a set of plastic mouldings clipped together with only two screws in sight.
The handle release button needed a determined press to get the handle down. It just consists of a plastic wedge, which you press down against a spring to prise the body/handle away from the wheel assembly enough to move a small ridge on the body past the wedge.
The rubber drive belt failed after about a week and a pair of new ones cost £10.
It has to be emptied after vacuuming the downstairs of the house. There are four filters and a two part canister assembly. The cyclone technology causes fluff and dust to accumulate around the canister assembly. It is just so much hassle.
I also seriously doubt the value of the manic filtration on vacuum cleaners. So long as the dust and fluff isn't actually blown out into the room that should be enough. As soon as a door or window is opened all the microscopic dust so carefully removed just flows in again.
Now a small piece of plastic has come away on the motor bearing breaking the belt again. Some careful use of Araldite has got it working again, but I'll have to replace it - no more Hoovers.
The 1900 watts only generates about 220 air power. The rest is eventually dissipated as heat after forcing the air around the assorted filters.
Oh for a simple machine like the 50-year old Hoover 612 my mother had - still working, but I'm slightly nervous about the electrics after so long.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 10, 2012 2:55 AM GMT


Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements 10 Bundle (PC/Mac)
Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements 10 Bundle (PC/Mac)
Offered by Barcleys
Price: £97.99

56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor (UI) User Interface, 8 Dec. 2011
I agree with the positive aspects of PE 10 in the preceding reviews, but I must mention the poor User Interface.

Since PE6 Adobe have used a tiny pale grey or white typeface on dark grey for the UI (menu bar, icon text etc). On hi-res screens this is very difficult to read - unless you have 20-20 vision and a perfectly set up display. Adobe don't use the M'soft desktop font engine; they use a pixel-based font of their own so you can't change it. For this reason I and many others have given up on recent releases of PE

This problem has generated one of the longest user feedback threads (292 comments and counting) on a single topic I've ever seen.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 18, 2012 12:19 AM GMT


Hector Berlioz THE TROJANS: Previously unreleased. Conducted by Rafael Kubleik. Royal Opera House 1957.
Hector Berlioz THE TROJANS: Previously unreleased. Conducted by Rafael Kubleik. Royal Opera House 1957.
Offered by Classic Recordings
Price: £42.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic reminder of historical performances, 25 Aug. 2010
I was fortunate to attend one of the performances in 1957 at Covent Garden and this recording has recreated the atmosphere of those marvellous evenings. The sound is amazing for a 50+ year old live recording. Just listen to the Cassandra-Chorebus duet in Act 1, and the Dido-Aeneas "O sweet night" duet in Act 4: this is almost ethereal. The Royal Hunt and Storm actually sounds like a storm too. And I shall never forget the moment when Blanche Thebom 'unloosed her hair' (all her own) in the final scene as she ascends the funeral pyre.
If you like The Trojans buy this. There may be bits missing and a couple of wrong scene placements, but nevertheless working from the available Choudens material a little bit of history was made, dispelling the view that a complete Trojans was not viable in the theatre.
The recording has a useful booklet and track guide, but no full libretto. However there may be a few copies of Edward Dent's translation available second-hand online. I managed to find one for a couple of pounds.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 4, 2010 7:35 PM GMT


Puccini: Turandot (Turandot - 2008 Production Staged By Chen Kaige) [DVD] [2011]
Puccini: Turandot (Turandot - 2008 Production Staged By Chen Kaige) [DVD] [2011]
Dvd ~ Chen Kaige
Price: £29.99

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful Turandot with excellent sound, 27 Jun. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a beautiful but unusual production. Instead of conventional sets the scenery represents a Chinese pavilion with the drama placed within it. It is divided into three sections with a massive central staircase which becomes visible when required. The crowd (chorus) watches the drama with the the theatre audience. Short periods of darkness separate the scenes, cutting to the orchestra before the action begins. The booklet lists the tracks in each act, but does not describe the scenes - no City Walls, Pavilion, Palace Garden etc. The descriptions of the elaborate and colourful Chinese settings in the original libretto would help if included in the booklet. The brilliant costumes are visually stunning.
On first watching I missed Turandot's appearance in which she confirms the sentence on the Prince of Persia, and captivates Calaf. She emerged quietly from the crowd, the camera focussed on her, she made the condemnatory gesture and exited via the stairs. Ping, Pang and Pong had a jolly few minutes on swings during the second part of their trio. Turandot's initially simple Act 2 costume underwent a magical transformation. At the end of "In Questa Reggia" she left the stage momentarily, reappearing in an ice blue creation, bedecked with jewels, and wearing a glittering head-dress.
The singing is what one expects. Guleghina is a commanding Turandot - expressive and accurate in the difficult score. Marco Berti's Calaf was robust and he looked suitably heroic, but I felt he had a slight tendency to attack some notes from below: this was unfortunate as I started to listen for it. For me Alexia Voulgaridou as Liu was the star - beautiful singing and acting. The other roles were very good especially Timur; the three masks were delightful. Unlike one press reviewer I didn't think Altoum appeared particularly inebriate; he was just very old and very tired of the relentless mayhem of Turandot's reign. Who wouldn't like a drop of wine to get some relief from the stream of beheadings?
The usual Alfano conclusion omitted Turandot's aria "Del primo pianto" as seems common in stage performances, although usually included in modern recordings.
The orchestra plays superbly and I heard some facets of the score for the first time. The recorded sound does it justice.
As an aside, Decca recorded the full Alfano conclusion with Josephine Barstow on a 1990 CD called Opera Finales. A few copies may still be around in the UK and the USA. A reissue is long overdue.


Verdi: Il Trovatore [Recorded 1952]
Verdi: Il Trovatore [Recorded 1952]
Price: £11.06

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't miss this, 6 April 2009
I first bought this recording at the age of 16 when I was getting to know about opera. From the moment Zinka Milanov started to sing Tacea la Notte I was hooked. Her voice seems to float effortlessly; D'amor sull'ali Rosee is similarly superb. Barbieri is a wonderful 'earthy' gypsy and Bjoerling, while not fortissimo heroic, is secure and mellow, and in my view just right for the young troubador. Leonard warren is a firm and lyrical Count di Luna, try the opening of Il Balen... I was fortunate enough to hear both Milanov and Barbieri in the same roles at Covent Garden in 1957 with the tenor Kurt Baum - magical.
This is a wonderful atmospheric recording - don't miss it in its CD transcription if you want to hear a sample of what was surely one of the a great periods of opera in the 1950s and 60s.
Try also the same four principals in Aida - this with Christoff too. These recordings remain two of my all time favourites - even after fifty years.


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