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Profile for Erik Aleksander Moe > Reviews

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Reviews Written by
Erik Aleksander Moe "riddion" (Oslo, Norway)

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Transformers - Classic Animated Collection (13 discs) [DVD]
Transformers - Classic Animated Collection (13 discs) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Gwen Wetzler
Price: £29.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There is just one thing that I would like that I feel is missing, 11 April 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This collection was exactly what I wanted. All that is left is getting the old Transformers - The Movie on Blu-ray. There is just one thing that I would like that I feel is missing. That is an episode overview on each disck. But otherwise this is a really excellent collection.

Wagner: Parsifal (Gatti) [Blu-ray] [2014]
Wagner: Parsifal (Gatti) [Blu-ray] [2014]
Dvd ~ François Girard
Price: £10.10

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Truly bad production and conducting, saved by Kaufmann and Pape, 9 Dec. 2015
The first part of this review was my comment on Bloomberg's site after seeing the live stream in a movie theater and reading the glowing review there.
In short, this production is best to avoid. My comments are on the singing and conducting, so I will add my thoughts on the production after.

It may be that I have been used to too many great performances of the past, especially by Hans Knappertsbusch, but Gatti was really dull on Saturday last. I found the cast to be excellent except for Peter Mattei. His acting was good, but the singing acting wasn't. He sounded so angry when singing words that weren't that of anger. It was of only suffering and anguish. I kept wanting to listen to the great interpretations of George London who really made me feel the pain and anguish of Amfortas. Mattei just bantered on with his anger. Back to Gatti. There were several times that I knew the great music that was coming and really wanted to be exalted by it, but I never was, even during Kaufmann's fantastic "Amfortas, die Wunde". Kaufmann and Pape were truly great but was supported very dully by Gatti and the orchestra. Coming back to Kna' performances, e.g. his 1962 from Bayreuth, what comes from the orchestra is really gold at all times, so exciting and you can feel the momentum. We never feel like looking at our watches. I did that several times during this performance. The conducting isn't as dull as Levine's, but still it is boring. I love the opera when done properly and it is such a pity since the cast was so strong.

On to the production. It seems like the Met has taken the "Eurotrash" production standard to heart with this production. It makes me long for the great production on the Levine production on DVD (and I don't care at all for Levine's boring conducting). The extreme use of blood in the second act was very excessive and in poor taste. I almost feel sorry for Kaufmann, having to endure this crappy production. I don't understand why the productions nowadays have to be in a way that doesn't make sense at all. I love going to the opera when the productions are well done. Several years ago I went to Vienna State Opera with my parents to attend La Boheme and they used a Franco Zefferelli production and it was glorious. The same goes when I went to La Scala to attend a performance of Il barbiere de Sevilla with Florez and Di Donato. What I saw there was a production by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle and it was glorious from beginning to end. The sets complemented the opera and make it a very enjoyable experience.
Granted Parsifal is not La Boheme or Il barbiere de Sevilla, but the need for a production that makes sense so the opera performance is enjoyable and not something you have to figure out the meaning of while you're seeing it is extremely important. Now I am always looking at pictures of a production when looking at opera performances to attend to avoid what looks like bad productions (e.g. seeing La Boheme in a cancer ward, which actually is being produced, would only make it depressing.)
I had only paid 300 NOK (around 50 USD at the time) to see it in the movie theater, but I would be very dissatisfied if I had to pay 200 dollars to attend it at the Met.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 2, 2016 8:35 PM GMT

Otello (Panizza, Metropolitan Opera of New York)
Otello (Panizza, Metropolitan Opera of New York)
Price: £12.11

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely amazing, 12 Dec. 2012
I cannot believe that no one has reviewed this amazing performance yet. This is one of those performances that you dream about of your favorite operas. To put yet again very simple, it is an absolutely amazing performance with all the main parts perfectly cast.
By this time (1938) Giovanni Martinelli has been preparing himself for this most difficult of Italian tenor roles for quite a long time. At once when he sings "Esultate" we know that we are in for a night to remember forever. His nuances, coloring, his rages, his restraint and characterization are like nothing I have heard before. He makes even Mario del Monaco sound mellow. To my hears he is the perfect singer for Otello, even though I love Ramon Vinay, Mario del Monaco, Jon Vickers and Placido Domingo in the role.
Lawrence Tibbett is the also Iago of ones dreams. He is charming, seductive, scheming and truly dangerous in his portrait of the evil Iago. Everthing he sings while with Otello and Rodrigo sound so innocent with a hint of menace. So perfect is he that you can almost picture him as the little devil over Otello's shoulder articulating what Otello fears most.
Elisabeth Rethberg too is really great as Desdemona. She is perhaps a little (just a little) too matronly sounding and not quite the almost virginal wife of Otello that such greats as Mirella Freni did to perfection. But still she is really great, and she has enough fire to make us believe that she could defy her father to marry Otello.
Last is the magnificent conducting by Ettore Panizza. For he is up there with Toscanini, Carlos Kleiber, Fritz Busch and Karajan in giving us a fiery performance filled with moments of pure joy.

It is a pity that it seems to be going out of print because this is to be cherished.

Leoncavallo - Pagliacci (New York 1934 Bellezza)
Leoncavallo - Pagliacci (New York 1934 Bellezza)
Price: £7.14

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular performance, 7 July 2011
When reviewing a live recording from 1934 you have to allow for bad, really bad, sound quality. This recording has that, really bad sound quality.
Therefore it is very unfair to have the sound quality be any factor in the rating, otherwise it would be a definite 1-star.

I nearly fell over when hearing this for the first time. Martinelli and Tibbett were staggeringly magnificent. Martinelli's rendition of the famous aria at the end of the first act is unbelievably great. He lives the role to the hilt. The clown's emotions, his anguish, his thirst for revenge, is perfectly sung by the magnificent tenor. Lawrence Tibbett is equally magnificent as Tonio. Queena Mario, as Nedda, was also really good. However she is overshadowed by the two leads.
The bad overall sound quality set aside, is the singing and orchestral playing perfectly listenable when you know what you will get.

Another thing is that you should know the opera very well before buying it to able to truly enjoy this magnificent performance.

A helpful hint: When listening to this recording I would recommend lowering the treble a bit to make the overall sound more pleasant to listen to.

Mozart: Così Fan Tutte
Mozart: Così Fan Tutte
Price: £4.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally a truly joyful Cosi, 28 April 2010
This review is from: Mozart: Così Fan Tutte (Audio CD)
Until I discovered this wonderful recording I have thought that the opera was a little boring (including Bohm's later recording with Schwarzkopf), even though the music was wonderful. This recording truly made me love the opera as much as Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro. Bohm's handling of the score is like nothing before or since. Della Casa, Ludwig, Dermota, Kunz, Schoffler and Loose were so good, despite some not too good diction here and there. All of them worked together so well to make this recording a wonderful experience. Bohm and the solists also made the comedic moments work. The two grand finales too were such joys to behold I couldn't believe what I was hearing. It was two times 20 minutes of pure joy. Everything else was equally joyful.

Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde [Recorded 1936 & 1938]
Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde [Recorded 1936 & 1938]
Price: £8.43

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really great, 23 Jun. 2009
I have quite a few of this magnificent song cycle from Gustav Mahler and must say that this one and Klemperer's recording is the best of the lot. The alto songs haven't been better sung that what Kerstin Thorborg does here. She is mesmerizing, powerful and poetic. She is really exceptional also in the Ruckert lieder. The tenor songs are also very well done. Charles Kullmann is really good, but Julius Patzak and especially Fritz Wunderlich surpass him. He is musical and sensitive to the text at all times.

But it is the magnificent Bruno Walter that is the star here. His conducting is, despite the sound quality, is magnificent. He is totally magical with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra here. He is no less magical in the Ruckert lieder and Adagietto from Mahler's 5th symphony.

The sound is not up to today's standard by any means, but considering the recordings are from 1936 and 38, and no surface noise is noticeable I would say that the sound is really good and no reason to detract a single star because the performances are so really great.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 3, 2015 9:08 PM GMT

The French Connection [Blu-ray] [1971] [Region Free]
The French Connection [Blu-ray] [1971] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Gene Hackman
Price: £8.04

20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic movie but horrible picture quality, 10 Dec. 2008
This is without a doubt the most horrible picture I have seen on a Blu-ray movie. I already have the Five Star Collection region 1 DVD and the picture quality on that DVD is far superior to this Blu-ray.
First I start with the contrast of the picture. The contrast level is so high that everything has so much blooming effect that the it is hard to watch the movie without squinting. For the record I have calibrated by Sony 40 inch full HD TV using the Video Essentials Blu-ray. I tried to watch the movie using my new Sony BDP-S550 and my PS3, and both showed the same horrible picture. The DVD has the contrast in check and much lower without the loss of picture detail.
Second are the colours. All colours bleed like hell. You can clearly see this in the scene at the villain's mansion when he meets his wife. The red colour in his wife's red hat bleeds all over the wall behind her at 9:38. The DVD's colours are so much better. They don't bleed and the same scene at 9:38 has the red colour of the wife's hat totally in check and no bleeding at all. This bleeding can be seen at all times in the entire movie on the Blu-ray.
Third is the level of film grain. I can accept film grain from old movies, but the picture on this Blu-ray contains such high levels of film grain it almost seems to be a, at least, 5th generation duplicate, perhaps even more.
So with the extreme high contrast, colour bleeding and such high levels of film grain, I have to just warn all people that is even considering buying this Blu-ray to stay clear away.
In the introduction to the movie the director of the movie, William Friedkin, says that this Blu-ray shows the movie as close to his original vision as any release ever has. I just don't know what to think about this. All I keep thinking "Has he seen the movie on the Blu-ray at all?", and if this picture is what he envisioned originally I cannot help but be even more complexed and confused because of the fact that it looks truly horrible. It is so frustrating that the picture was so bad since I truly think that this movie is one of the best crime movies ever made. I will be returning my copy and wait to see if Fox will issue it again with the picture quality that the movie deserves.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 1, 2014 4:26 PM GMT

Giacomo Lauri-Volpi Sings Verdi
Giacomo Lauri-Volpi Sings Verdi
Price: £7.05

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There will be noone like him again, 22 Sept. 2008
I must admit that I bought this CD mainly to get the complete 3rd act of Aida with Rethberg. What I discovered was a Giacomo Lauri-Volpi so great and wonderful that I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I had only heard him before on the live Trovatore from Naples with Callas and Serafin conducting. He wasn't good there at all, but on these recordings from the late 20's and early 30's he was as great as any of the greatest of the time, like Martinelli, Merli and Pertile. I just wish there were more live recordings of him from the 30's or even the 40's.
The Aida recordings (the various scenes in act 3 were done separately between '28 and '30) were really excellent. They were as exciting as anything I have ever heard of the opera. Rethberg was as good as her reputation has described her (as the greatest Aida before WW2). Giuseppe de Luca's Amfortas was also really good, perhaps a little bit undramatic, but Rethberg compensated with a really great dramatic reading. The duet between Rethberg and Lauri-Volpi is as great any of the very best ever recorded, including the great recordings with Ponselle/Martinelli, Price/Vickers, Callas/del Monaco (from the 51 Mexico recording), Tebaldi/Bergonzi.
The other recordings on the CD are also really excellent. There are a couple excerpts from Otello where he is joined with Maria Caniglia and Marco Basiola, two duets from La Forza del Destino with Gino Bechi, the 2nd act aria from Rigoletto and an aria from Luisa Miller. All are really great. The Forza del Destino could be a little more dramatic, but still they are really great.
I would recommend this recording wholeheartedly for anyone interested in great dramatic Italian singing from the golden age.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 19, 2010 3:52 AM GMT

Black Narcissus [Blu-ray]
Black Narcissus [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Deborah Kerr

56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Staggering, 29 July 2008
I have previously bought this wonderful film on laserdisc from Criterion and I have loved it and thought the transfer was good, even though colour strips weren't 100% synced. It has become one of my very favourite movies and the partnership of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger one of my all time favourite director/writer team (Life and Death of Coronel Blimp and the Red Shoes are also totally wonderful).

Before I saw this movie again on this Blu-ray I had no idea that it could as awazing as it did on this release. Not only were the colours even more vibrant than ever, but the detail in the picture was staggering. I can now see all the detail in the walls, costumes and props. Alfred Junge got the Oscar for production design on this movie and it is understandable now more than ever. Everything looked totally breathtaking and I could now, more than ever, understand the distraction and beauty that make the nuns forget what they were doing. This is also thanks to the wonderful photography of Jack Cardiff, who won the Oscar for it. His use of colors and the lighting are nothing short of brilliant. When viewing the film it is hard to believe that everything was shot at Pinewood studios, save for some shots from the English countryside. It is a lesson to filmmakers nowadays that you can make a believable movie totally in the studio.
The documentary "The profile of Black Narcissus" is included and is quite informative and interesting, featuring interviews with several of the people who made it, including Jack Cardiff and Kathleen Byron. Is is presented in 576p, so some people with a TV that doesn't support this resolution may have problems viewing it. The Blu-ray is also region free.
If you haven't seen the movie before and are interested in the old way of moviemaking then I totally recommend this magnificent picture.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 25, 2009 8:24 PM BST

Wagner - Tristan and Isolde (Nilsson/Windgassen/Sawallisch/Bayreuth 1957)
Wagner - Tristan and Isolde (Nilsson/Windgassen/Sawallisch/Bayreuth 1957)
Price: £12.53

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply incredible, 1 July 2008
I was never entirely satisfied with the Bohm recording of Tristan und Isolde. Windgassen wasn't nearly at his best and Nilsson was a little too tiresome. Bohm's conducting and the supported cast was the best thing about it.
I began searching for an older recording with Windgassen and Nilsson. I discovered this Bayreuth performance from 1957 conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch. This was exactly what I was looking for. Both of them are in exceptional voice and perform much better than in the Bohm Bayreuth performance.
Nilsson is more youthful here and seems to be much more spontaneous, which I found very welcome. Windgassen was in his 50's best (as in the great Ring recordings from the decade with Krauss, Keilberth and Knappertsbusch).
The supported cast is almost as good as in the Bohm performance. Hans Hotter as Kurwenal is really exceptional, Grace Hofmann is really great as Brangane. Arnold van Mill is quite good as the king, but nothing like the great Martti Talvela for Bohm.
Then there is the great conducting by Wolfgang Sawallisch. His really exciting and energetic conducting is something that I really didn't expect, and it was very welcome. He made the opera really come alive.
When hearing this the first time it was as if I hadn't listened to Nilsson and Windgassen before in the title roles. Everything seemed so fresh.

This simply incredible performance is wholeheartedly recommend as a second or third recording after the Furtwangler (IMHO the best performance ever recorded) recording and possibly the Pappano (with Domingo as a magnificent Tristan) recording.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 9, 2012 5:25 PM GMT

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