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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding.
This production of Gluck's Alceste is an all time great, which it would be difficult to improve upon in any realistic sense. Anne Sophie von Otter, who is awesome in the role of Alceste, is supported by a dedicated cast, all of whom, including a boy and girl representing Alceste's children, fulfil their roles brilliantly as also do the orchestra and chorus. Costumes,...
Published 15 months ago by H. A. Weedon

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Acting and stage setting: too astringent.
Published 9 months ago by deroet


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding., 17 Jan. 2014
By 
H. A. Weedon "Mouser" (North Somercotes, Lincolnshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gluck: Alceste [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
This production of Gluck's Alceste is an all time great, which it would be difficult to improve upon in any realistic sense. Anne Sophie von Otter, who is awesome in the role of Alceste, is supported by a dedicated cast, all of whom, including a boy and girl representing Alceste's children, fulfil their roles brilliantly as also do the orchestra and chorus. Costumes, choreography, staging and direction are all of the highest standard that blends in beautifully with the music.

Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787) was the son of a German-Bohemian forester and huntsman who was employed in sequence by a variety of German aristocrats including Prince Lobkowitzt. Around 1732 Gluck attended at Prague University, after which he became a chamber musician in the household of the prince in Vienna. He is a paramount figure in the development of opera. The success of his music owes much to its austerity of design in contrast to the more ornamental style of his contemporary, Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764).

Both sound and picture quality on this 16: 9 EMI disc are very good. The music is of the kind that allows the viewer-listener to relax and bath in it and it instils thoughtful contemplation of the inter-relationship of life and death. It's 'we can only live in this moment' music that teaches us that it's all a question of knowing how best to pass from one moment into the next. Here we have husband and wife, mother and father, showing us how dedicated self-sacrifice, however painful at the time, can nevertheless bring its own reward as true love triumphs. If you enjoy great music, you will very much enjoy this outstanding performance of Alceste.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Less well known, but good!, 10 Sept. 2009
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J. Mcdonald "Yelochre" (Glasgow, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gluck: Alceste [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
"Alceste" is one of Gluck`s french operas, less well known than "Orphee et Eurydice" but just as great. A brief synopsis:
King Admete is dying, the people are dismayed; his Queen, Alceste, consults the oracle and is told that if another will die in his place he will be spared; she agrees to take his place. Admete recovers but is distraught when he learns of his Queen`s decision. Meanwhile, his friend Hercules (the demi-god, no less), vows to prevent the gods from having their way. Admete follows Alceste to the entrance of the underworld intending to follow her in; Hercules appears at the last minute and confronts Charon and his entourage; Apollo comes down from heaven and commends Hercules for his courage and sets all to rights; all ends well.
Despite the happy ending, this is a very sombre and tragic work from the outset; some of Gluck`s most beautiful and moving music is to be heard in this opera. This production is from the same team responsible for the Chatelet/Gardiner "Orphee et Eurydice" also on EMI classics under the stage direction of Robert Wilson. the presentation is similar to "Orphee"; sombre colour palette, stylised movements and minimal set design; as most of the time the characters are singing of their inner thoughts and emotions little would otherwise happen on stage so it is to their credit that there is always something on screen to hold the attention - like "Orphee" this is a beautiful and timeless vision. The cast is flawless and Anne Sofie Von Otter as Alceste is the stand-out performer.
If you enjoyed the "Orphee" DVD you`re certain to like this.
The picture is presented in 16.9 widescreen, NTSC region free and with DTS 5.0 surround or LPCM Stereo. the only extra is a 25min. trailer reel.
Highly recommended, and like "Orphee" worth shopping around for - this can be found for a very reasonable price.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alceste, Gluck, 30 Nov. 2011
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This review is from: Gluck: Alceste [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Gluck's incredible opera, tells the story of Alceste (Anne Sofie Von Otter), Queen of Thessaly. Her husband King Admete (Paul Groves) is dying. Not being able to bare the thought of living without him, Alceste goes to the High Priest (Dietrich Henschel) to ask Apollo to spare her husband. Admete is saved, however someone else must volunteer to take his place. Alceste sacrifices herself and is confronted by her recovered husband, who begs the gods to take him back instead of stealing his beloved. They refuse and Alceste descends into Hades underworld.

While her subjects mourn her, Hercules (Dietrich Henschel) hears of her sacrifice and vows to bring her back from the clasp of Hades. At the gate of the underworld, Admetus implores her to let him take her place, but she refuses. Hercules arives and fights the spirits to rescue Alceste. Apollo (Ludovic Tezier) is impressed by the love and devotion of Admetus and Alcestis, as well as the bravery of Hercules permits them to live.

This production is amazing, with set designs inspired by Ancient Greek theater and stunning surrealist lighting, which create beautiful imagery.

Baritone Dietrich Henschel was great, playing both the High priest and Hercules, with an amazing deep voice of astounding strength. Soprano Hjordis Thebault and Tenor Yann Beauron were also excellent as Coryphee and Evandre, who narrate the opera.

Anne Sofie Von Otter is mesmerizing. Her remarkable voice sounded effortless, with sublime richness and power. Her singing was astoundingly beautiful, conveying the subtly of Gluck's composition perfectly. Her rendition of the arias "Où suis je?..Arbitres du sort des humains" was breathtaking. Paul Groves was equally brilliant, his voice was very moving, with a wonderfully pure tone. His voice is fantastic for these roles, sounding light, but powerful at the same time.

Gluck's beautifully subtle composition for Alceste, is not as well known as Orphée et Eurydice, which will always be his masterpiece, but Alceste should definitely not be overlooked as it is an outstanding piece of work and one of the best operas I have seen and heard.

Performed at the Theatre Musical De Paris, this production, with its impeccable singers, accompanied by the excellent Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists, is fantastic and definitely worth buying.
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5.0 out of 5 stars for good quality of dvd, 26 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Gluck: Alceste [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
5 stars for prompt delivery, for good quality of dvd; but I was so distracted by the way the singers stood there with their arms in the air like clothes driers,that at times it almost took my attention away from Gluck's wonderful sublime, fantastic music.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 23 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Gluck: Alceste [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
good quality i the recording. I would have liked a leaflet with synopsis
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 14 July 2014
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This review is from: Gluck: Alceste [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Acting and stage setting: too astringent.
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Gluck: Alceste [DVD] [2009]
Gluck: Alceste [DVD] [2009] by Robert Wilson (DVD - 2008)
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