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17
4.5 out of 5 stars
Theodora [Blu-ray] [2013] [Region A & B & C] [US Import]
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 August 2013
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Dawn Upshaw and David Daniels play out this heady intense drama with such ravishing singing that beauty is the only word I can use to express my delight at discovering this masterpiece. Peter Sellars, the director, uses his gift for visual and directorial art to produce Handel's timeless evocation of moral and spiritual courage in the face of tyranny and deceit, placing the drama with contemporary iconographic representations of oppression and tyranny which give the production an edge that takes it further than perhaps comfortable evocations could. A stunning and rich experience for anyone wanting to learn more about Handel, Sellars, Lorraine Hunt et al, Glyndebourne and William Christie. I am so pleased this Blu ray has been released. It is a worthy document.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 November 2013
I have watched and watched this historic performance of Theodora, the first ever staging of Handel's long ignored masterpiece. It failed when it was first performed as an oratorio in 1750 although the chorus in the third act was, according to Handel, the best piece of music he wrote, surpassing the Allelujah chorus. Lorrraine Hunt, sadly, died less than two years after this recording so it is historic for more than one reason. David Daniels looks youthful and yummy, the ornamentation on his first aria is a wonder. Rarely do you see an opera where the production (lighting, costumes, sets, music) has such a degree of unity.
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on 8 October 2014
very good
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 September 2013
Typical Handel, in other words music of the highest order. A most worthy performance by all concerned.

Very, very good
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 1 November 2008
I will not comment again on the music and the excellent sound, which all other reviewers justly praise.
About the modern staging: for me it *does* work.

"Updating" the Roman soldiers to American ones efficiently drags you in the story by bringing it closer to us (alas it does make me think of events that took places after this recording was made; incredible how oppression keeps having the same horrible creativity in designing their torments - forcing profoundly religious people to take part in sexual activities...).
Making the Christian fugues visual, a sort of stylised modern ballet, underlines their structure and their power. It also gives a sort of abstract quality to the choir, that becomes more than a group of individuals, and truly impersonates the whole Christian community.
The sober background on which the huge shadows of the singers project themselves is another way of underlining their "heroic" quality: they are more than simple mortals, they are archetypes who stand for certain human qualities.

A staging that in short succeeds in creating the quality of a classical tragedy, while moving us deeply and dragging us into its (modern-feeling) story.
One of the most gripping and moving operatic DVDs I have watched and listened to so far.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 28 October 2010
This was my favourite opera production of all time so it would have been easy for the video of it to disappoint... but it did not. It's excellent. The camera work is good, the music repro is good... and I still cried at all the right moments
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15 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on 10 September 2004
Musicwise: Glyndebourne has produced a lively and well orchestrated production. Baroque in it's interpretation of the music; ie: orchestra size, varied continuo & singing style. In general, it's a great recording which I would recommend to anyone who likes Handel or Baroque music.
The Drama: Sadly it is in this aspect that this production has really let itself down. Beign originally a concert work, Glyndebourne has set itself a difficult task trying to adapt Theodora for the stage. Handel does add more drama to his oratorios than other composers would, considering his strong Operatic background. However, with longer arias and choruses, the singers are forced to repeat the same hand gestures over and over again and ultimately it can look like a school production at times. Also, this production tries to be abstract in it's stage design yet still quite conservative on it's costumes and acting style.
In my opinion i would definately buy this recording for the music, but not for the visual.
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