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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Britten's most lyrical operas.
There was a lot of jealousy amongest the musical establishment about Britten's success;for it was thought he had sold out,also they made fun of his homosexuality behind his back.However,his true feelings were conveyed quite bluntly in the War Requiem,that remarkable work set to poems by Owen.A pacifist work that was anti-establishment,which shocked some people.He lived...
Published 5 months ago by Ultrarunner

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1.0 out of 5 stars Not an Opera
I had long wanted to see this performance as it was chosen as the Gala Performance for The Queen'Coronation. I was so dissapointed I did not watch after the first act but fast foreword to see if it got better. Was it an opera or a behind the scene theatre production of an opera with stage hands walking about the stage and Britten himself directing. A very weared...
Published 16 days ago by Daniel Rampton


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1.0 out of 5 stars Not an Opera, 31 Mar 2014
By 
Daniel Rampton "danielrampton(London)" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Britten: Gloriana [Susan Bullock, Toby Spence, Patricia Bardon, Mark Stone] [Opus Arte: OA1124D] [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
I had long wanted to see this performance as it was chosen as the Gala Performance for The Queen'Coronation. I was so dissapointed I did not watch after the first act but fast foreword to see if it got better. Was it an opera or a behind the scene theatre production of an opera with stage hands walking about the stage and Britten himself directing. A very weared production indeed. It had very bad reviews in 1953 and I can see why.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Travesty, 12 Nov 2013
This review is from: Britten: Gloriana [Susan Bullock, Toby Spence, Patricia Bardon, Mark Stone] [Opus Arte: OA1124D] [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
A great and unjustly neglected opera - but this production doesn't do it any favours. Presented like an amateur village pageant it completely undermines the opera's integrity. A hideously inappropriate set, likewise many of the costumes, the dance elements caricatured. The only outstanding singer is Toby Spence, the rest are either miscast or poorly sung - Susan Bullock (admired in other roles) falling into both categories.
If you want to see a great Gloriana superbly sung go for Colin Graham's exemplary ENO production conducted by Mark Elder with Sarah Walker and Anthony Rolfe Johnson leading an outstanding cast.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Britten's most lyrical operas., 7 Nov 2013
By 
Ultrarunner (Perth-West Australia) - See all my reviews
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There was a lot of jealousy amongest the musical establishment about Britten's success;for it was thought he had sold out,also they made fun of his homosexuality behind his back.However,his true feelings were conveyed quite bluntly in the War Requiem,that remarkable work set to poems by Owen.A pacifist work that was anti-establishment,which shocked some people.He lived behind a mask and to peak behind it,you will see who he truely was in his operas and music for instruments and voices.

To celebrate the Coronation in 1953 of Queen Elizabeth II,her cousin the Earl of Harewood, founder of the Opera magazine,later managing director of English National theatre,suggested to Britten,that he should compose an opera on the subject of Essex and Elizabeth I. Thus the idea took flight. The libretto written by William Plomer is based upon Lytton Strachey's Elizabeth and Essex(1928)and the more scholarly Queen Elizabeth 1 by J.E Neale(1933)."It is a mixture of prose and verse,archaic and Modern English and the music is a balancing act between Tudor dance and music,plus Britten's own style".(Sadie 2006:260).Thus Gloriana is a succession of tableaux and brilliantly succeeds in showing the private and public life of Elizabeth I.The other characters including Essex are subsidary.One could say that in this opera he was influenced by late Verdi to create a multi-facited women.The booklet suggests that this opera is England's answer to Italy's Aida, the Czech Bartered bride and Russia's Boris Godunov.

Paul Daniel in the interview included with the opera,states that the opera is about the later stage of Elizabeth's life,when she falls in love with the Earl of Essex,who is much younger then her.The problem is Essex takes his position too seriously which ends in his beheading and she ponders upon her own death.Daniel points out that this performance of Gloriana recorded 20th June 2013,Covent Garden,is being performed 60 years after the premiere at the same opera house.

Richard Jones the director scenery is traditional,in the sense he combines 1953 staging and costumes with the Elizabethian era.The opera is set in a Coronation Hall built in 1953. So when the overture begins,the Mayor comes walking across the stage with his wife,to greet Queen Elizabeth 11 and Prince Philip. Thereafter, schoolboys dressed in school clothes of that era come on with letters. Thus,when George VI and his wife come on stage,the letters spell out Windsor,then appears monarch's such as Edward,Victoria,and various Queens and Kings up to the Tudor period. When an event or place is indicated by the scenery,the boys spell out with the letters what is happening.A very clever and witty way of linking all the eposodes together.Also,there is a director at the side of the stage giving directions,stage hands,and even army personal changing the scenery dressed in 1953 costumes.On stage all the singers are wearing Elizabethian clothing.Thus,it is a very traditional staged opera,surrounded by the early 1950's.The Daily Telegraph writes "Richard Jones(Director) paints the picture with a delicate brush...both moving and surprising".

The conductor of the Orchestra of the Royal opera house Paul Daniels,brings out all the emotion in the opera,plus the tempo's are extremely quick.He is a singers conductor and is at one with the staging.Susan Bullock is a brilliant aging Elizabeth 1.The Indepenent states "Susan Bullock is an awe -inspiring Gloriana".She is on stage most of the time.Toby Spence tenor is the much younger Earl of Essex,a foil to the aging monarch.His famous lute song is "Happy were he",known as a beautiful song,which he makes much of.Francis,Countess of Essex is Patricia Bardon a mezzo usually seen in baroque operas, makes much of the part,as does Kate Royal,Penelope,Lady Rich, sister of the Earl of Essex.These two women in the last act sing"We come to plead for him(Essex),sung with baritone Lord Mountjoy,Mark Stone.It is a very beautiful Trio,sung by three singers who have sublime voices. The scheming Robert Cecil is made much of by Jeremy Carpenter.Clive Bayley,with his huge bass voice as Walter Raleigh is very good.At the end of the opera he wants Essex beheaded. He is Lucretia's husband in Britten's Bluray Rape of Lucretia.All the cast are very good.At the end of the opera the curtain closes,and Elizabeth II walks across the stage with Philip trailing behind,receives some flowers from a young girl.She turns around and the curtain rises, there is Elizabeth I.They stand still,looking at each other.The lights fade.FINI.Truely,a great opera written by Britains greatest composer.

ALL REGIONS. SUBTTILES:English.French.German.Japanese.Korean.LPCM 24 bit Stereo. 5.O DTS-HD Master audio.1080i HD. 16.9.Extras features an Introduction to Britten's Gloriana. Britten's Aldeburgh.

REFERENCES:Booklet Gloriana.Opus Arte. Holden,A.(ED)The Penguin Opera Guide.1995.Viking. Sadie,S.(ED)The Grove book of Opera's 2009.Oxford University press.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WONDERFUL PRODUCTION, 6 Nov 2013
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I SAW THIS PRODUCTION AT ROH AND THIS BLURAY CAPTURES THIS REMARKABLY WELL.OF COURSE IT IS NO SUBSITUTE FOR A LIVE PERFORMANCE BUT FOR THOSE WHO COULDNT ATTEND THIS IS A GD 2ND CHOICE.SET IN PROVINCIAL 50S ENGLAND IT CAPTURES THE ESSENCE OF BRITTEN WONDERFULY.THE SINGING IS TOP NOTCH SUSAN BULLOCK AND TOBY SPENCE WORK V WELL 2GETHER .I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS RELEASE 10\10
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5 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars awful, 16 Nov 2013
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This production is cheap and nasty and a disgrace from our premier theatre! The set is an unpleasant distraction and totally unnecessary. The performances are at best mediocre, just watch Dame Josephine Barstow to see how it should be done. This opera is a superb work from England's if not the world's greatest composer. He did not write this as a village hall comedy, that was Albert Herring. It is a surprise that Paul Daniel had anything to do with this travesty as he has proved his ability with the recent release of The Rape of Lucretia from the ENO. Britten is being vandalised by some during his centenary, not only this production, just watch Peter Grimes from La Scala or Death in Venice from Teatro La Fenice di Venezia to prove my point
Luckily we do have many older recordings and also Glyndbourne's Billy Budd, and the recent Britten Festival from Opera North ( Superb and a big thank you to them ) to ease the pain.
It hurts to give this 1 star.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A charming production, 19 Nov 2013
This review is from: Britten: Gloriana [Susan Bullock, Toby Spence, Patricia Bardon, Mark Stone] [Opus Arte: OA1124D] [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
I am not sure about the DVD as I have yet to see it - but this ROH production which I attended this year, was very charmingly done and had some good singing. The pageant was colourful and featured some elegant dancing - Susan Bullock sang the title role with authority and Toby Spence was very winning as Essex. It all made me admire the work more than ever.
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