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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The way musical theatre should be, 12 Jan 2006
This review is from: Jacques Offenbach - La grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein [DVD] [2004] [2006] (DVD)
Once again the artistic coupling of Marc Minkowski and Laurent Pelly have dished up another serving of Offenbach's finest. Whether you will like this production will ultimately depend on your taste for Offenbach's music, although Messers M & L employ all their usual tricks to enhance your enjoyment. Those who have seen previous productions will know what I mean; the 3 dimensional sets, their use of dancers throughout and a frenetic fluidity and pace.
Admittedly this music is not as recognisable as Orpheus or La Belle Helene although there are some great foot tapping tunes, the usual patter songs and at no time does the music ever become turgid or drift aimlessly. Casting is superb, with Yann Beuron putting in his finest performance to date and wonderful singing from Felicity Lott. Also notable are the grotesque make up jobs on many of the characters.
I love this production and sincerely hope you will to. One final word, look out for the hilarious slapstick dance sequence between the 3rd and 4th tableau.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant good fun!, 2 Feb 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: Jacques Offenbach - La grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein [DVD] [2004] [2006] (DVD)
I had never heard of this opera until I saw it on French television a year ago and was totally spellbound - I couldn't wait for it to be available on DVD. It is guaranteed to cheer you up - the music, the lyrics and the choreography are all excellent and Dame Felicity Lott is outstanding. There are lots of very interesting things going on in the background too with the chorus - keep your eyes peeled for the unusual headgear and props by some of the soldiers!
Well worth the money.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outrageous camp and O.T.T!, 25 Nov 2010
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Mr. Mc Warwick (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jacques Offenbach - La grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein [DVD] [2004] [2006] (DVD)
What a fabulous romp through silliness, dripiness and pure unadulterated camp. All the well known bawdy tunes galloping along in an endless volley that will keep you smiling and at times just laughing outloud. This is a splendid production of fantasy which matches the story of a make believe Grande Duchy. All the dust and cobwebs are there together with the miss match, tumbledown sets. The cast are excellent and obviously enjoyed every minute of the performance. The curtain opens towards the end of the colourful overture to show what appear to be dead and wounded soldiers on a barren battlefield with one staggering towards the front of the stage clutching his chest through his tunic only to reveal a bottle of wine which he opens with a "pop" to which all others jump up........He is only drunk and so are the rest. You are into the madnes and need I say more?
The Duchess herself is portrayed by the magnificent Felicity Lott who holds centre stage throughout with a swagger and lilt of boredom with her tiresome position as head of the nation, excellently sung. All of the characters are little gems in their own right. Full marks to Pelly for a well thought out and lively production. The orchestra under Minkowski also have a jolly good romp. Plenty of Offenbachs catchy and infectious music is given with a ballet interlude as well. I would recommend this production to anyone and am sure, like me, it will become one of your favourite DVD's to pass away cold winter evenings. PS. Look for the potatoes! You will be as mystified as me!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 12 May 2010
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This review is from: Jacques Offenbach - La grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein [DVD] [2004] [2006] (DVD)
Rather like a cross between Covent Garden's latest Daughter of the Regiment and La vie Parisienne! It is a gem and a bargain for the price.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exhilarating production and performance that provides outstanding entertainment value, 12 Nov 2011
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I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jacques Offenbach - La grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein [DVD] [2004] [2006] (DVD)
This production of Offenbach's Grande-Duchesse was recorded at the Theatre du Chatelet in 2005. Although not perhaps as well-known as some of Offenbach's other comic operas, a performance and production such as this makes one consider whether this might nevertheless be his best. The opera is full of good and memorable tunes; in addition it has sparking orchestration and a very amusing storyline with a complementary libretto of flair. In this production there is also a great deal of inventive choreography and the whole entertainment never flags for a moment from first note to last.

The production by Laurent Pelly is unendingly inventive but still manages to remain within a totally `believable' period within one main setting. There is a great deal of energetic action throughout the show and much use is made of the stage in a 3D sense in terms of depth of view and action. As a result for example, there may be a main action occurring towards the front of the stage with the main cast but simultaneously there is a considerable amount of choreographed and often amusing action going on elsewhere on the stage. As a result there is a wealth of supplementary detail to be enjoyed at any one time. This makes for excellent repeat viewing via a recording such as this as there is so much that can be further enjoyed upon subsequent viewings.

The cast is uniformly excellent with Felicity Lott taking the title role with great flair and obvious enjoyment. Her French, incidentally, is so fluently delivered that it seems likely that this is a language that she could easily make regular use of in real life. She has a considerable talent for comic timing and passing gestures and expression so her whole performance amounts to a masterly piece of singing and action combined. Much the same can be said of Sandrine Piau who, as the fiancée of hero Fritz, provides endless moments of comic acting coupled with faultless singing. Fritz, taken by Yann Beuron, is yet another example of similar talent and the three make a formidable team. The main supporting roles of Général Boum and Le Baron Puck are equally well portrayed by François Le Roux and Franck Leguérinel respectively and it is with these two roles that there is much inventive choreography used to enliven the band of soldiers as well as the supporting girlfriends portrayed by the rest of the cast. Further on down the cast Prince Paul and Baron Grog played by Eric Huchet and Boris Grappe are also well portrayed in their lesser but important roles.

The orchestra is on top form and the whole performance is kept to an exhilarating forward momentum by conductor Marc Minkowski with his usual levels of energetic enthusiasm.

The recording is very good with engaging camera work which fully captures the humour of the event coupled with crisp imaging that manages to cope faultlessly with all the fast action. Colour rendition is fine. The sound is excellent and reproduces the action all over the stage evenly as well as producing nicely detailed orchestral coverage. The sound is presented in DTS 5.0, DD 5.0 and stereo options.

In summary this is a sparkling production and performance of a very enjoyable comic opera. All the vocal and dramatic demands of the composition are met with considerable aplomb and this is obviously relished by the very enthusiastic audience. To my mind this is an outstanding achievement by all concerned and I would expect it to give considerable and repeat enjoyment to future purchasers. It therefore seems completely reasonable to suggest a full 5 star rating for the disc.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A WHOLE LOTT OF FUN, 9 July 2011
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I. Zaneres (west midlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jacques Offenbach - La grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein [DVD] [2004] [2006] (DVD)
This is one of the most entertaining operettas I have seen and heard. Some comments I have heard say Offenbach uses the same music over again, well there are some strong similarities, but we are in the age of recycling, and I do not care one jot.
There is not one weak voice in the cast, Felicity Lott is in fine voice and is an excellent commedienne. Sandrine Piau has not only a great voice but one of the most expressive faces that I have seen. The gentlemen are all in fine voice, and fine comic aspect. Yann Beuron as Fritz is overshadowed by the antics of the Grande Duchesses minions, and is the straight man to all of them. Hard Role to play. The chorus and the dancers all have a good time, hamming things up to the nine, The sets are imaginative and some of the props too. Subsequent viewings reveal amusing detail missed firstime round. I thoroughly recommend this one, buy and enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Offembach, Minkowsky, Lott, Pelly: a winner team, 5 Nov 2010
This review is from: Jacques Offenbach - La grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein [DVD] [2004] [2006] (DVD)
The Grande-Duchesse de Gerolstain is one of the most beautiful works I've never seen!
Felicity Lott is a wanderful singer and a fantastic actress too.
All the singer are wonderful, and the elegance of the conductor Minkowsky and him orchestra complete this opera.
Jacques Offenbach is certainly one of most intelligent composers of 19th century!
Buy it absolutely because it's a masterpiece. Don't lost it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein, 27 April 2010
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This review is from: Jacques Offenbach - La grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein [DVD] [2004] [2006] (DVD)
This is an excellent DVD starring Felicity Lott, an amazing Mezzo soprano. The overall production is cleverly presented with an imaginative set. It should place Offenbach on a stage with a much higher profile than he normally receives.
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Jacques Offenbach - La grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein [DVD] [2004] [2006]
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