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Colin W

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Verdi: Aida (Aida: Bregenz Festival 2009) [DVD] [2010] [NTSC]
Verdi: Aida (Aida: Bregenz Festival 2009) [DVD] [2010] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Verdi
Price: £29.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A Cut Version, 15 July 2014
This production is outdoors, on a lake and with huge cranes. The most disappointing aspect is that the music is cut somewhat. Also, all the singers are conspicuously body-miked. However, the performances are good and well acted. There are some grand effects and it looks spectacular at times. I enjoyed it but would not recommend it as a definitive performance to own on DVD.


Romeo Et Juliette: Salzburg Festival (Yannick Nezet-Seguin) [Blu-ray] [2009]
Romeo Et Juliette: Salzburg Festival (Yannick Nezet-Seguin) [Blu-ray] [2009]
Dvd ~ Brian Large
Price: £15.83

5.0 out of 5 stars An Outstanding Production, 13 Jun 2014
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This production is performed on the huge stage of the Felsenreitschule in Salzburg. The set, with series if arcades in the background and a raised platform in the centre, is very effective. The performers occasionally move into the audience area.
I have not seen or heard this work before and so cannot compare it to other performances. But I find it hard to imagine this performance being bettered.
The Mozarteum Orchestra is excellent under the baton of Yannick Nezet-Seguin who is surely one of the finest conductors of our day. Brian Large's video direction is outstanding. He really knows how to film opera. The chorus are superb both when singing and acting. The whole cast is top class but special praise must go to Rolando Villazon and Nino Machaidze. She is convincingly young and beautiful as Juliette but also sings and acts brilliantly with teenage charm at the start developing into convincing passion and love. Rolando Villazon matches her in all these respects bringing out the passion and fiery nature of Romeo. The sword fight is startlingly realistic.
All in all, a triumph for everyone concerned.​


Donizetti: Anna Bolena [DVD] [2011] [NTSC]
Donizetti: Anna Bolena [DVD] [2011] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Anna Netrebko
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 11 Jun 2014
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I can only endorse the superlatives given by the other reviewers. The sets and staging appear fairly discrete but very effective. This is in no small part due to the performers. Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca are brilliant in singing and acting. The same is true of ldebrando D'Arcangelo as Henry 8th. All three look the parts which is a great bonus.
The orchestra under Evelino Pido perform superbly. The video direction by Brian Large is, as usual, exemplary, without wasted camera shots or close-ups which would destroy the atmosphere. There are of course close-ups but always well judged.
A must buy for opera lovers.


Replacement Ear Pad Cushion For BOSE QuietComfort 2 QC2 Headphone
Replacement Ear Pad Cushion For BOSE QuietComfort 2 QC2 Headphone

5.0 out of 5 stars They do the job, 1 Jun 2014
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These comparatively cheap ear cushions for the Bose QC2 headphones were easy to fit and work perfectly. Thoroughly recommended as an alternative to the expensive Bose version..


Verdi - La Traviata [Levine, Metropolitan Orchestra] [DVD] [NTSC]
Verdi - La Traviata [Levine, Metropolitan Orchestra] [DVD] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Teresa Stratas
Price: £14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully atmospheric film, 29 May 2014
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This is a film from 1982, not a staged performance. The director, Zeffirelli, takes full advantage of the medium to produce a lavish production with Parisian street scenes, scenes in the country and many touches impossible in the theatre. It really looks terrific. The opening pays a nod to Dumas' original novel (La Dame aux Camelias) where the heroine's possessions are being sold off after her death. Here, they seem to be sold off during her final moments alive. This works quite well.
Teresa Stratas is excellent, looking the part and, as usual, acting and singing very well. Placido Domingo looks rather too mature to be Alfredo but his voice is so wonderful that it does not really matter. Cornell Macneil is an ideal Giorgio Germont.
My only complaint is that the work is cut. I understand that this reduces it to a normal length for a film which might give it broader appeal. However, a lot of wonderful music is omitted. Violetta's duet with Giorgio Germont is heartbreakingly beautiful but sadly truncated here.
The Salzburg Festival production with Villazon and Netrebko is a modernised production of the whole work with two excellent soloists. I would recommend this to avoid the cuts. But better to have both DVDs.
Otherwise, a wonderful film of a supreme masterpiece.


I Puritani: Teatro Comunale Di Bologna (Mariotti) [Blu-ray] [2014]
I Puritani: Teatro Comunale Di Bologna (Mariotti) [Blu-ray] [2014]
Dvd ~ Bellini: I Puritani
Price: £21.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully sung but poor production, 29 May 2014
I had not heard this opera before and so I cannot compare it to other productions. The sets are simple and everything starts off dark blue (really everything). It never emerges much from this gloom as a production. The first two scenes are completely static with the chorus and soloists singing straight to front with no visible acting. I presume this was the director's wish, but it filled me with apprehension that I might have nothing worthwhile to see.
But then Nino Machaidze appears (as Elvira) and transforms the whole production. She is beautiful, sings really well and acts superbly. Juan Diego Florez' entrance continues the transformation. Two leads who look, sing and act the parts make this an excellent experience. Musically this is top rate from all concerned and well worth buying.
The production never really achieves much. The chorus seem unable to act which makes the camera work inexplicable. Why have close-ups of people who are just standing, staring around while they sing? The camera often goes behind the performers showing their backs and the view out including the conductor. I find this equally pointless.
However, buy it for the wonderful performances, especially by Florez and Machaidze. I will watch it often. I can't imagine a better pair of leads in this piece.


Verdi: Un Ballo In Maschera [Massimiliano Pisapia, Franco Vassallo, Chiara Taigi, Riccardo Chailly] [Euroarts: 2055107] [Blu-ray] [2013]
Verdi: Un Ballo In Maschera [Massimiliano Pisapia, Franco Vassallo, Chiara Taigi, Riccardo Chailly] [Euroarts: 2055107] [Blu-ray] [2013]
Dvd ~ Massimiliano Pisapia
Price: £9.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Great DVD, 12 April 2014
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The blu-ray of this work is superb. Wonderful picture quality and great sound. The cast is consistently good and Chailly's conducting is, as usual, excellent. I thoroughly recommend this recording.


Verdi: Otello (Salzburg 2008) [Aleksandrs Antonenko, Marina Poplavskaya] [C Major: 725104] [Blu-ray] [2013]
Verdi: Otello (Salzburg 2008) [Aleksandrs Antonenko, Marina Poplavskaya] [C Major: 725104] [Blu-ray] [2013]
Dvd ~ Aleksandrs Antonenko
Price: £29.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Outstanding Otello, 7 April 2014
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There can hardly be a better opera conductor than Riccardo Muti. He is, as usual, outstanding here with the Vienna Philharmonic in good form in the pit.
The sets are fairly minimalist with a central square area for characters to make a strong entrance and raised areas at the side. These are used flexibly and work really well, not least because the production and performers are so convincing.
Aleksandrs Antonenko is superb in the title role. He sings beautifully and his acting brings out all the facets of Otello's personality: his regal bearing and love for Desdemona at the start then his doubt, jealousy and rage and finally his bitter anguish. he also looks the part, young and strong.
It would be hard to overpraise Marina Poplavskaya as Desdemona. She acts and sings wonderfully and looks terrific. Her performance is truly affecting.
Carlos Alvarez is ideal as Jago, completely convincing as the hate filled schemer.
I found this a gripping theatrical experience, beautifully shot for the screen.
Buy it now if you don't already have it.


Verdi: Don Carlos (Blu-Ray) [2014]
Verdi: Don Carlos (Blu-Ray) [2014]
Dvd ~ Karita Mattila, Thomas Hampson, Josť Van Dam, Waltraud Meier / Theatre du Chatelet, Antonio Pappano Roberto Alagna
Price: £13.55

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous cast in the Original french Version, 26 Mar 2014
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Many consider the original French version superior to the Italian re-write (called Don Carlo). Personally I have both on DVD and find it hard to decide on a preference. The opera is a masterpiece of the highest order in spite of the librettists silly decision to have a couple of appearances of Philip's father as a ghostly figure.
I have given this five stars because the production is very good and especially because the cast is absolutely outstanding. Roberto Alagna acts and sings brilliantly in the title role. Karita Mattila and Waltraud Meier in the two female roles look wonderful and act and sing to perfection. The other two male roles are filled by Jose van Dam as Philip and Thomas Hampson as Rodrigue, both of whom are outstanding. It is really a dream cast on top form. It is also quite rare to find a cast that all look the part.
The voices are well recorded but the orchestra only adequately. My one reservation is that for a lot of the time the synchronization between lip movements and sound is slightly off. This is an irritating distraction.
However, on the whole, a must have production.


La Traviata, by Giuseppe Verdi (Teatro alla Scala, Milano 2008) [Blu-ray] [2010] [Region Free] [NTSC]
La Traviata, by Giuseppe Verdi (Teatro alla Scala, Milano 2008) [Blu-ray] [2010] [Region Free] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Angela Gheorghiu
Price: £7.70

2.0 out of 5 stars A Disappointing Traviata, 26 Mar 2014
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I found this a complete disappointment. The production is good and Maazel and the orchestra are excellent. However, I think the performances do not rise above the routine. Angela Gheorghiu's voice seemed unsuited to the role. She gave the appearance of working hard to no great effect. Ramon Vargos as Alfredo was better, singing and acting reasonably well. Roberto Frontali as Giorgio sang quite well but his acting seemed unconvincing with his eyes often seeming to seek out the conductor.
I will be looking for an alternative blu-rau production.


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