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6 Reviews
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Minimalist brilliance ...
If you want to see how potent minimalistic staging, costumes and acting can be in opera then Peter Sellars' twin productions of Iolanta and Perséphone, commissioned by Teatro Real's Artistic Director, Gerard Mortier, are the epitome of this style. From the moment the spotlight focuses on Ekaterina Scherbachenko and her attendants, and the first words of...
Published 22 months ago by Linze

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well played and sung but a wierd production
I have loved Yolanta on CD for decades and was delighted to read about this new production on Blu. I have the old Philips recording under Gergiev which is marvellous and comes with an excellent booklet. This new production is well sung and played but I could not warm to the wierd production. A 15th century French King in a business suit for Heaven's sake! I felt this was...
Published 22 months ago by John Chandler


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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well played and sung but a wierd production, 7 Dec 2012
By 
John Chandler (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
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I have loved Yolanta on CD for decades and was delighted to read about this new production on Blu. I have the old Philips recording under Gergiev which is marvellous and comes with an excellent booklet. This new production is well sung and played but I could not warm to the wierd production. A 15th century French King in a business suit for Heaven's sake! I felt this was an unnecessary decision that did not help the opera at all. The booklet tells quite a lot about the background but NOTHING about the story! If you have the Gergiev booklet get it out and read it. The highlight of this opera to me is the twin bass arias by the King and the Moorish doctor Ibn Hakia, brilliantly sung here by Willard White. They are again beautiful to listen to but the production makes little effort to open up the story, quite the reverse, The same staging is used for Perséphone which again came with no explanation. This is an even more difficult opera to follow and although Stravinsky's music is light on the ear it has none of the power and compelling nature of his early masterpieces such as the Rite of Spring. It grows on one with repeat hearings and the Cambodian dancers do a good job but quite why they are there is not fully explained. This is an interesting disc and almost worth it for the two bass arias but with just a little more thought and care it could have been so much better produced.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Minimalist brilliance ..., 5 Dec 2012
This review is from: Iolanta/ Persephone (Ekaterina Scherbachenko/ Alexej Markov/ Madrid Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/ Teodor Currentzis/ Peter Sellars) (Teatro Real: TR97011DVD) [NTSC] [2012] (DVD)
If you want to see how potent minimalistic staging, costumes and acting can be in opera then Peter Sellars' twin productions of Iolanta and Perséphone, commissioned by Teatro Real's Artistic Director, Gerard Mortier, are the epitome of this style. From the moment the spotlight focuses on Ekaterina Scherbachenko and her attendants, and the first words of Tchaikovsky's Iolanta are sung, this production is captivating. The singing is superb throughout, as it has to be as there is nothing else happening on stage to hide any imperfection behind. Set on an otherwise empty stage the simple 'door' frames, with their improbably balanced obsidian stones, are used to indicate different rooms and structures within the imagined spaces of the story. This works exceptionally well with the lighting effects used giving both depth and definition to the artists movements on stage.

Sellars uses the same set for Stravinsky's Perséphone to great effect with changing backdrops and lighting giving the simple frame structures a completely different feel. Whilst I felt Stravinsky's piece was less compelling musically, it was beautifully performed and had the additional interest of the Cambodian dancers from Amrita Performing Arts who shadowed the story in their unique form of ballet.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Production of opera, 18 Jun 2014
By 
Mrs. Brenda J. Page (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Iolanta/ Persephone (Ekaterina Scherbachenko/ Alexej Markov/ Madrid Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/ Teodor Currentzis/ Peter Sellars) (Teatro Real: TR97011DVD) [NTSC] [2012] (DVD)
The opera itself and the soloists were all first class, in fact world class. This is a most unusual opera but very moving. However, as is often the case, the set and production left a lot to be desired. All those door frames and odd shapes on top. Also they used the same set to go straight into Persephone, also on the DVD, which made even less sense.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My kind of Fairy Tale, 28 May 2014
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This review is from: Iolanta/ Persephone (Ekaterina Scherbachenko/ Alexej Markov/ Madrid Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/ Teodor Currentzis/ Peter Sellars) (Teatro Real: TR97011DVD) [NTSC] [2012] (DVD)
Iolanta is well sung and produced. The style is faithful to the story. Persephone is also well done and is aptly paired with Iolanta.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unas buenas operas, con una coreografia, demasiado fria y simple, 31 Dec 2012
By 
Francisco J. Cervera Guarro (Valencia, España) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Iolanta/ Persephone (Ekaterina Scherbachenko/ Alexej Markov/ Madrid Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/ Teodor Currentzis/ Peter Sellars) (Teatro Real: TR97011DVD) [NTSC] [2012] (DVD)
Lo que menos me gusto, la coreografia. Por lo demas, bien. Creo que todo contribuye a la hora de hacer una critica, La musica y los cantantes bien.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare combination of christian and antique heritage set in music by two great composers, 24 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Iolanta/ Persephone (Ekaterina Scherbachenko/ Alexej Markov/ Madrid Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/ Teodor Currentzis/ Peter Sellars) (Teatro Real: TR97011DVD) [NTSC] [2012] (DVD)
Are you a fan of the director Peter Sellars, this is a new triumph.
The Tchaikovsky opera Iolanta (his last) based on a danish litterary source from
the so called Golden Age, explaines the Hans Christian Andersen like naive view of christianity.
I suspect this have a special appeal to Tchaikovsky, and was helping to make way to the combination
of simplicity and subtility in both word and music.
I a way I am tempted to see this swansong opera as Tchaikovsky's Parsifal. The simple fool finding, in this
case, here way to the highest step of knowledge.
And as a more sophisticated - and modern - encore, you get Stravinsky! A melodrama I had no knowlidge of
before seeing it in this DVD.
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