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Colin W

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Haydn: Orlando Paladino (Freiburger Barockorchester/Jacobs) [DVD] [2009] [NTSC] [Region 0] [2010]
Haydn: Orlando Paladino (Freiburger Barockorchester/Jacobs) [DVD] [2009] [NTSC] [Region 0] [2010]
Dvd ~ Marlis Petersen
Price: 24.74

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Dreadful Production, 7 July 2012
Let me say first of all that this opera is excellent and well worth hearing. It is as good as anything by Handel or Gluck, for example. Unfortunately the staging and production for this DVD let Haydn down badly.
The forces performing here presented a concert performance of this work at last year's Edinburgh Festival. It was a revelation which delighted the audience and left me keen to buy this DVD. It is sad to say that the concert performance represented a superior production than this one from Berlin.
The directors seem unaware that to present comedy which is well written all that is required is to present it straight with high production values and let the writer and composer's talents show through. Instead, everything here suggests that the directors have no confidence in the opera at all.
One of the characters, Pasquale, appears in a duffle coat with school-boy short trousers, black shoes and ankle socks. This is no doubt meant to be funny and tell us that we are watching a comedy. All the costumes are equally pathetic and unfunny. The sets look cheap and are infantile. Why could the story not have been taken seriously? Then the humour of the libretto and score would have shone out.
A travesty of a production. Not recommended.


Monteverdi: Operas [DVD] [2007]
Monteverdi: Operas [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Monteverdi
Price: 12.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Monteverdi, 28 Jun 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I endorse all of the praise heaped on these performances by the previous reviewers. I saw these productions when they were performed in the Edinburgh Festival many years ago. They were thrilling then and remain so on the DVDs. The cast, performances and filming are all well-nigh perfect with the camera seemingly roaming around the stage and showing intimate close-ups as appropriate. A must-have set.


Schubert: Alfonso Und Estrella [1997] [DVD] [2009]
Schubert: Alfonso Und Estrella [1997] [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Jurgen Flimm
Offered by Naxos Direct UK
Price: 8.75

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unknown but enchanting Schubert, 22 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Schubert's operas are generally considered to lack dramatic interest. However, Alfonso und Estrella surpassed my expectations, especially since this production works well and takes the opera seriously. The production is slightly updated but fairly traditional. The sets are disappointing, failing to match the mountainous locations of the plot.
The cast is excellent with Thomas Hampson and Luba Orgonasova acting well and singing beautifully. The rest of the cast are almost equally good. The Chamber Orchestra of Europe play superbly and Harnoncourt's conducting is sympathetic and dramatic.
For any Schubert admirer this DVD is a must since the music is beautiful throughout. There are several highlights but track 12 "O sing mir, Vater" is a typically glorious piece of Schubertian lyricism (although the song seems irrelevant to the plot).
The sound quality was my biggest disappointment. On my system at least, it was no more than adequate.
In summary, a beautiful and welcome addition to Schubert on DVD.


Schubert: Fierrabras [DVD] [2007]
Schubert: Fierrabras [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Jonas Kaufmann
Price: 6.03

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good music, poor production, 15 May 2012
Fierrabras dates from 1823 and so is mature music by Schubert. Musically it is well worth a listen with many beautiful passages in typical Schubertian style. The libretto is weak and a really good production is required to maintain some level of dramatic interest. Sadly this production is infantile, looking at times like a set from a Little Britain comedy sketch. Wooden swords, toy trees and inappropriate costumes are amongst the many misjudgements. Worst of all, a look-alike actor has been employed to play Schubert, wandering on stage throughout the performance in front of a giant piano and chair and delivering some of the spoken dialogue. This is a shame since it not only lets down Schubert but also the excellent conducting (Frans Welser-Most) and singing (Jonas Kaufmann, Juliane Banse). My three star rating is entirely for the music.


Verdi: Attila [DVD] [2010]
Verdi: Attila [DVD] [2010]
Dvd ~ La Scala Chorus
Price: 7.73

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent early Verdi, 3 April 2012
This review is from: Verdi: Attila [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
The quality of the music in this early piece by Verdi (his 9th opera, I think)is superb. Especially moving is the introduction (scena e romanza) to Act 1 (following a lengthy Prologo) when Odabella mourns the loss of her father and her lover, Foresto. Samuel Ramey is excellent as Attila, in fine voice and really looking the part. Cheryl Studer is a wonderful Odabella. Muti, as one would expect, is the ideal conductor with the La Scala chorus and orchestra in good form. A must for lovers of 19th century opera.


Puccini: Il Trittico [DVD] [2006]
Puccini: Il Trittico [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Puccini

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding set, 1 Feb 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The three operas here are Puccini's last completed works and amongst his best. They are in a mature style assimilating various influences, including Wagner. The sets and productions in all three works are excellent. Il Tabarro is set on a barge under a bridge over the Seine, enhancing the claustrophobic atmosphere. The duet "E ben altro, il mio sogno" is magnificent. Suor Angelica is set amidst the (moveable) columns of a convent church and Gianni Schichi in a bedroom. The lead singer Amarilli Nizza is an outstanding actress who can also sing beautifully. She is perfect in the first two works if a little old for the part of Lauretta in Gianni Schichi. The whole cast is excellent as are the contributions of conductor and orchestra.
A must for any opera lover.


Meyerbeer: Les Huguenots [DVD] [2010]
Meyerbeer: Les Huguenots [DVD] [2010]
Dvd ~ Joan Sutherland
Price: 14.53

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Joan Sutherland, 21 Jan 2012
This was my first encounter with a Meyerbeer opera and not a short one since it lasts 3hours and 20 minutes. For the first two acts I found the music melodic but verging on the trivial. I could understand Wagner's low opinion of Meyerbeer. However, Dame Joan Sutherland, in her farewell performance, more than made up for this. The continuation of the opera after act 2 improved greatly and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole piece. The cast as a whole are excellent. From Sydney opera house, the staging is superb with dazzling sets appropriate to the period and the epic nature of the subject matter. At the end there is a 15 minute extension as Joan Sutherland accepts the appreciation of the Sydney audience in an extended and spectacular tribute to her artistry.
Thoroughly recommended.


Richard Strauss - Daphne [2005] [DVD] [NTSC]
Richard Strauss - Daphne [2005] [DVD] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Roberto Sacca
Price: 15.19

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A late, great masterpiece, 21 Jan 2012
I disagree with the previous reviewer on the quality of this work. It is certainly true that the action is quite limited but I think Strauss, at this late stage in his career, was pursuing an ideal of beauty which is fully realised in this piece. It is an example of the great works of Strauss's Indian summer, a long outpouring of lyrical beauty. June Anderson relishes the wonderful soprano lines in her role as Daphne and is almost matched by the two fine tenors Roberto Sacca and Scott MacAllister as Leukippos and Apollo respectively.
The staging is fairly simple but effective. The orchestra and conducting is sympathetic and rises well to the beautiful final scene, one of Strauss's greatest achievements.


Mascagni/Leoncavallo - Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci [DVD] [2005]
Mascagni/Leoncavallo - Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Yelena Obraztsova
Price: 9.57

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Cav and Pag, 2 Jan 2012
Cavalleria Rusticana was shot on location in Sicily and not in a theatre. This works very well with Zeffirelli's direction producing a very moving performance. Placido Domingo is wonderful both vocally and dramatically and is matched by Renato Bruson and Elena Obraztsova. Pagliacci is equally good, shot in La Scala but without an audience to distract. The camera stays on the action all through with no cuts to the orchestra or conductor. Teresa Stratas, as Nedda, acts brilliantly and Domingo is again in superb voice. Both operas are higly recommended.


Orchestra Music
Orchestra Music
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: 14.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to a forgotten master, 30 Nov 2011
This review is from: Orchestra Music (Audio CD)
All the pieces on this disc are of the highest quality of inspiration and craftsmanship. The use of Scottish themes (in the Burns rapsody) is delightful without being sentimental. The Benedictus is very moving and deservedly one of Mackenzie's best loved pieces. It's difficult to understand why such a talented composer has been largely forgotten. Any of the items on this disc would be warmly received in concert. The orchestra and conductor are in top form here and given a beautifully warm recorded sound. Let's hope that more of Mackenzie's works will be recorded in the future.


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