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This opera deserves more than beautiful pictures of Venice
on 30 November 2012
Since I liked very much Tony Palmer's "A Time There Was" I had great hopes with this film and I was rather disappointed. The good side of it is mostly in the filming: beautiful pictures and atmosphere. But the opera itself... There are several cuts, e.g.: the wonderful Chorus ("Phaedrus learned what beauty is") from the scene 7 act I, the whole scene 14 act II. It is specified in the score that "cuts should not be made, other than those optional cuts indicated by the composer" and these ones are not among them. For a version that was claimed to be "close to the original", it is misleading.
There is an appearance by Pears (1:58:35 to 2:02:35) singing (and acting) the beautiful Phaedrus aria from scene 16 act II when he replaces Robert Gard - I gave the 3rd star for these 4 minutes.
There are no subtitles (even not in English).
I must say that I prefer to listen to the CD with the original cast, Pears included (and it does make a difference) and without cuts.