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Mr. GM Roebuck (London UK)

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Delibes: Lakme (Sydney Opera House) (Emma Matthews/ Aldo Di Toro/ Stephen Bennett/ Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra/ Roger Hodgman/ Emmanuel Joel-Hornak) (Opera Australia: OPOZ56020DVD) [2012] [NTSC]
Delibes: Lakme (Sydney Opera House) (Emma Matthews/ Aldo Di Toro/ Stephen Bennett/ Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra/ Roger Hodgman/ Emmanuel Joel-Hornak) (Opera Australia: OPOZ56020DVD) [2012] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Emma Matthews
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £24.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Lakmé, 12 Sept. 2012
Two spectacular sopranos steal the stage when Emma Matthews and (mezzo) Dominica Matthews sing the famous Flower Duet in Delibes's luscious and Hindu-inspired opera, Lakmé.Roger Hodgman directs this restudied production originally conceived by Adam Cook, and Emmanuel Joel-Hornak conducts this exotic treasure which features some of Australia's leading bel canto singers. Lakmé may not be a household name, but the Flower Duet from Act I is one of the most well-known opera moments in the world. Used as backing music for a British Airways TV commercial, it has come to symbolise the epitome of pleasure and luxury, and has found its way onto countless `best of' recordings and film soundtracks.

Two of Opera Australia's most distinctive voices sing this famous duet. Emma Matthews brings her crystalline coloratura to the role of Lakmé, while Dominica Matthews is the darker voiced Mallika. Both have sung the roles before, but this will be the first time Sydney audiences have heard this combination. It will also be the first time for Sydney-siders to hear Emma Matthews singing Lakmé's spectacular showpiece, the Bell Song, which soars up to a high E.

Aldo Di Toro also makes his role debut as the well-meaning soldier, Gerald. Jane Parkin, Angela Brun and Luke Gabbedy complete the ensemble, with Roxane Hislop as Mistress Bentson, Stephen Bennett as Lakmé's father Nilakantha and Edmund Choo as the scary Hadji. Delibes's luscious score, is conducted by Emmanuel Joel-Hornak.

Gerald is a lieutenant in the British Army stationed in India during the Raj. While out walking with friends he hears Lakmé, the Hindu Princess, and her hand-maiden Mallika, singing, as they drift down a river under dense canopies of white jasmine. The music, the heavy scent and Lakme's exotic looks prove to be quite intoxicating. A cross-cultural romance is unthinkable for both, but nevertheless the two fall in love. Can Lakmé and Gerald be together, or will their families and duty tear them apart? Not having seen this opera before there is no other production for me to campare with it but it is another excellent DVD on the Opera Australia label.

Delibes: Sylvia [DVD]  [2010] [NTSC]
Delibes: Sylvia [DVD] [2010] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Darcey Bussell
Price: £24.99

77 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sylvia, 19 Mar. 2008
Ashton's brilliant choreography, revived by Christopher Newton and Delibes' expressive music combine to make a charming evening out at the Royal Opera House or in your own home if viewed on the excellet Opus Arte DVD. This homage to the 19th-century French ballet style is a light hearted mythological story of a nymph captured by huntsman and restored by Eros to her true lover. It is an excuse for some inventive, romantic and dazzling decorative dances, both solos and handsomely crafted groups. Peter Farmer tastefully developed the original attractive Second Empire designs of Robin and Christopher Ironside to provide sumptuous sets and costumes.

Some may claim that none quite match Fonteyn's playful musicality when the ballet was created on her in 1952. But it is wrong to compare artists with each other, which is why dance awards are invidious. Today's dancers provide a technical brilliance with a satisfying emotional appeal.

In the complex title role Darcey Bussell, is persuasive as the proud nymph as well as tenderly showing the first awakenings of love. With her thrilling long extended legs, flirty, flying elevation and speedy articulate footwork she is still in her prime. She dances with perfect precision in the pizzicato divertissement and is ravishingly radiant in the pas de deux powerfully partnered by Roberto Bolle who also displays some soaring elevation as the shepherd Aminta. Mara Galeazzi has developed into an accomplished performer and shines as Diana with Martin Harvey providing a superb and mischievous Eros. It is gorgeous.
Gavin Roebuck

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