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Avonova (Lea Stream)

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Massenet: Werther (DECCA The Originals)
Massenet: Werther (DECCA The Originals)
Offered by Japan-Select
Price: £23.95

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Music Magnificently Sung, 29 May 2011
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I fell in love with Massenet's Werther the first time I heard it. I have not seen it on stage and I don't have a DVD but this recording is just so smooth and flowing and the performers are well suited. If you are a Carreras fan then this is for you. The character of Werther is very suited to his magnificent voice. If I could have this performance on DVD as well as CD it would be top of my favourites.

I don't find the story depressing but it is sad and I like to listen to Werther when I am feeling sad because it reminds me that there is always something worse happening in the world than what I am feeling sad about.

This double CD set comes with a booklet so if you are unfamiliar with the story, it is right there for you to read. I associate the story with Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin which is also a sad story with sad music although of course the music is quite different and if I could have only one, it would be Werther.


I Lombardi [DVD] [2001]
I Lombardi [DVD] [2001]
Dvd ~ Verdi
Price: £15.77

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Religious Epic, 29 May 2011
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This review is from: I Lombardi [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
"I Lombardi Alla Prima Crociata" - (The Lombards on the First Crusade), not by any means my favourite opera story but it's a Verdi Opera and Jose Carreras sings the part of Oronte with Ghena Dimitrova as his lover Giselda. All of Oronte's arias are beautiful and beautifully sung although this character doesn't appear until Act 2. Giselda is a larger role and Ghena Dimitrova does a very good job.

This opera has 4 tenors, 3 sopranos and 2 bases, not your most usual opera combination but it works for this story. From my point of view there are too many characters and the story too complicated for opera. One of the other tenors has a thin scratchy voice. I think this is Arvino played here by Carlo Bini who is unfamiliar to me and his brother Pagano/Hermit, a bass is played by Silvano Carroli and his singing is very good but I am also not familiar with his name either.

What I like least about this story is the character of Oronto being converted from a Muslim to a Christian at the last moment so that he can go to heaven. Also I don't know how the hermit could do that. The hermit says to Oronto and Giselda that their love is sinful. Oronto agrees to the conversion to Christianity but the hermit doesn't suggest that they should also be married, so it seems that it is sinful only to be a non Christian, not to be unmarried!

After all that, if you like Verdi, Carreras and Dimitrova then go for it. Also I must mention the beautifully played violin prelude between Acts 2 and 3. We think of Verdi and Opera but this is a different piece showing Verdi's wonderful way with music.

I have this Opera on Video and DVD so I highly recommend it.


La Traviata [DVD]
La Traviata [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sesto Bruscantini
Price: £24.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Young Carreras, 28 May 2011
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This review is from: La Traviata [DVD] (DVD)
I would be happy to give this DVD 5 stars but I have taken one off for the quality and the Japanese sub-titles which are permanently glued to the video. If you want English, French, Italian or Spanish sub-titles they are available and will come over top of the Japanese words. If you don't want any sub-titles that is not possible. I have watched this twice since buying it and I have found that I didn't notice the Japanese after awhile because I was so involved with the opera itself.

If you just want to watch Verdi's La Traviata there are plenty of choices but if you specifically want Jose Carreras as the madly in love Alfredo then this is the only DVD that is available on Amazon at this time and that includes the US, Canada, France, Italy and Germany.

If you want to see a very young Carreras singing Alfredo then this is the one for you. The reason the quality is not 100% is because it was originally on film or video and does not seem to have been enhanced, other wise it is very good and takes little away from the viewing. The sound track is fine, no problem that I noticed there.

I have two other DVDs of La Traviata which don't have Japanese sub-titles and are of better quality but I like this one the best.


Andrea Chénier [DVD] [2011]
Andrea Chénier [DVD] [2011]
Dvd ~ Giordano
Price: £11.28

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Performance, 27 Mar 2011
This review is from: Andrea Chénier [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
I took a chance on buying this DVD as I was not very familia with this opera but I know the voice of Carreras and bought this DVD for him alone. I was not let down and enjoyed also Cappuccilli and Marton in fact a brilliant trio. As for Carreras straining at times, a better word would be passion. This is the way Carreras sings, a powerful voice that he puts to full use. He is not a great actor but everything comes across through his singing. When he takes on a role it as if he becomes that person, he is Andrea Chenier the poet who will die because the words he wrote were the truth from his heart. Marton leaves no doubt that she is in love with Chenier and will die for him. Cappuccilli, the most experienced of the three gives his best and the La Scala audience loves him. Unfortunately this great baritone is no longer with us, but his voice lives on.

Carreras the Spaniard, Cappuccilli the Italian and Marton the Hungarian come together with all the smaller roles and the wonderful orchestra and chorus of La Scala Milan conducted by Riccardo Chailly and give us a performance worth watching over and over again. Of course without the captivating passionate and melodious music by Giordano and the libretto by Luigi Illica we would not have this breath taking opera.

I cannot compare this to any other performance of Andrea Chenier but for fans of Domingo or perhaps Zancanaro, there is a DVD available, a performance by the Royal Opera Chorus, Royal Opera House Orchestra, with Placido Domingo, Giorgio Zancanaro and Cynthia Buchan in the leading roles. There is yet another DVD with Domingo and Cappuccilli which a reviewer has given only one star because there are no subtitles so there is no mention of the actual performance.

For me, I am satisfied with this La Scala performance and I hope you will buy it and enjoy it as much as I have.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 16, 2011 1:23 PM BST


Doctor Who: Castrovalva - Episode 117 [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Doctor Who: Castrovalva - Episode 117 [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Peter Davison
Offered by RAREWAVES USA
Price: £10.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5th Doctor First, 5 Aug 2007
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For those who are not so familiar with Doctor Who, or at least the earlier Doctors, this is the episode where the 4th Doctor regenerates into the 5th. Taking up the role of the Doctor after Tom Baker had been playing the part for some years could not have been an easy task for Peter Davison and to give him a chance to create the new Doctor's image and character, Castrovalva was filmed after two or three episodes which would appear later in the series.

The new Doctor is very vulnerable because the regeneration has not gone well, but the faithful companions work together and help him through this difficult time. Quite a contrast to "Four to Doomsday", which was actually filmed before Castrovalva, where the same companions behave like squabbling siblings.

His costume, that of an Edwardian cricketer, is perfect and suits Peter Davison very nicely, although it may have been better without the hat. If anything it was distracting as he spent a lot of time putting it on and taking it off rather than actually wearing it.

The 5th Doctor is the youngest of all the Doctors and as such he acts with a lot of energy and enthusiasm as he runs and jumps as if he feels that he finally has a body that matches his mercurial mind. Also he appears to be nearer to the age of his companions and thus is more of a friend to them although he is still the aged Time Lord. In fact Peter Davison does an excellent job of portraying the old man in a young body which makes his Doctor one of the best.

Castrovalva is the name of a lithograph by Abruzzi of a mysterious mountain city. In this story it is a small town on an unnamed planet in the Andromeda Galaxy. The mystery is there as in the lithograph, and as the Doctor endeavours to recover from his regeneration sickness he must also unravel the incongruity of the history of the town. Can the character known as the Port reeve help save the day or is he not who he says he is! Only one way to find out.

These episodes were made about 1980 so don't expect great visual effects or sets as you would see in today's Doctor Who. This was the low budget period for Doctor Who so if you don't expect too much you will find the DVD very enjoyable and certainly entertaining.

The extras are plenty, with Peter Davison and others commenting on the making of the episode and even having a laugh at themselves. There are also interviews and a photo gallery.
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Doctor Who - Time-Flight [1982] / Arc of Infinity [1983] [DVD]
Doctor Who - Time-Flight [1982] / Arc of Infinity [1983] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Peter Davison
Price: £9.60

16 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Avonova Favourite Doctor, 27 July 2007
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Well, I'm one of the rare species of human being who actually likes both "Time Flight" and "Arc of Infinity" and why? They are entertaining! Peter Davison, no matter what he does is entertaining. He does his best with what ever he takes on. In fact all the cast of these two episodes do their best with the material they have to work with. I have worked in theatre and have a great experience with low budget productions. Most of the Peter Davison episodes were low budget and perhaps not the best stories, but I love them. Even Peter Davison himself doesn't like "Time Flight" but he should still credit himself with doing his best under the circumstances. Watch for the scene where the Doctor climbs out of the TARDIS when it is lying in its back in the cramped space of Concord's cargo hold. He raises his eyes to the ceiling much to say, "This is ridiculous, how many more times do I have to do this?"

I am looking forward to seeing these two episodes on DVD, as I can watch them on my computer unlike the rather warn videos. I just hope I can tolerate the rubbishing of "Time Flight", by the actors themselves, especially Peter Davison. Perhaps he has a new perspective on it by now. Of course I don't have to listen to the sound track comments, but I know I will. I just wish there was a place on line where I could answer them.

Don't expect the greatest Doctor Who ever, you can't beat today's budget for the present Doctor Who which has pulled out all the stops. This is 2007, these episodes were about 1981. Either buy and be entertained, or don't buy, but enough of the complaining please!

Avonova


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