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on 14 July 2014
Saw the live streaming of this opera from the Met in the cinema and was pleased as punch to find the dvd on Amazon at a great price. I love this opera and I rate this production vrry highly. Joyce is superb as usual but the young South African soprana playing Elisabeth is a revelation! Her portrayal of the young queen is mesmerising and the voice is sublime. I have no quibble with the picture quality on this dvd either and would say it is high definition quality. All in all you won't find a better production in my humble opinion. Enjoy...
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on 30 August 2014
Joyce DiDonato is wonderful and she is supported by an excellent cast. It is splendid to have such a recommendable performance of this Donizetti opera. The costumes and production complement the musical performance, which is a considerable bonus these days.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 28 February 2015
This is another Tragic Opera by Donizetti and part of his 'Three Queens Trilogy'. The music is fabulous and calls for great virtuosity by Elza Van den Heever as the young Queen Elizabeth 1, and Joyce DiDonato as her cousin Mary Queen of Scots. The costumes of the Elizabethan court are flamboyant and joyful in contrast to the subdued dress of Mary who is a prisoner albeit a luxurious one by the standards of the day, in Fotheringay Castle.
Elizabeth, the rightful heir to the English throne as a daughter of Henry V111, and a Protestant, is a heretic and not legitimate in the eyes of Roman Catholic Mary, a descendant of Henry V111's sister Margaret Tudor who married James Stuart 1V King of Scotland. Mary had been forced to abdicate in 1567 as Queen of Scotland in favour of her infant son James V1, who united the two countries as James 1 of England, after the death of Elizabeth in 1603.
Political factions always gathered around Mary, and she was accused of arranging the murder of her husband Lord Darnley, Henry Stuart, her first cousin and father of James. Scotland had been ruled by Regents as Mary was only six days old when her father James V died. From the age of five she had lived in the French court of Henry 11, betrothed to his eldest son Francis. Her Mother Mary of Guise was French so the Royal houses of France and Scotland were already linked. Henry 11 also proclaimed her Queen of England before his untimely death, and briefly she was Queen Consort of France 1559-1560,as a well educated sixteen year old girl, before 16 year old Francis 11 died from an ear infection and brain tumour.
Catherine de Medici became regent of France for her second son Charles 1X, and Mary returned to Scotland a year after her young husband had died. There was a scandal involving her Italian advisor and musician and in addition to the conflicts between the Catholics and Protestants, Scotland found her court too Italianate. After the death of her second husband Darnley, she married Lord Boswell and miscarried twins, before she was forced to flee to England, and Boswell was imprisoned in Denmark, where he died, apparently insane. Mary's half brother James Stuart became Regent in Scotland. Whilst moved in custody between various Castles and Manor Houses, Mary was accused of plotting the assassination and overthrow of Elizabeth 1, with Spain, Austria, and France, and Germany. Apparently Elizabeth tried to avoid the execution of a Queen in spite of the precedent set by Henry V111, but finally allowed Parliament to have Mary executed at Fotheringay Castle on February 8 1587.

The Opera takes some artistic licence with the facts, but the pivotal plot is a love triangle between Elizabeth, the Earl of Leicester, and Mary, and the fateful meeting of the two women which eventually resulted in Elizabeth signing the death warrant, encouraged by Lord Cecil, (Joshua Hopkins)
The love songs performed by Matthew Polenzani, as Earl of Leicester, are enchanting; and Matthew Rose portrays the sombre role of guardian and confessor, Lord Talbot, as ageing Maria repents of her sins and sings 'one last prayer' with her silver rosary beads, Prayer Book and a wonderful chorus, before climbing the steps to the Axe man. True to documented detail her auburn wig is removed to reveal short grey hair, and a bright red dress is revealed beneath her sombre blue one, the liturgical colour symbolising martyrdom.

Based on a play by Schiller, with libretto by Giuseppe Bardari, Donizetti has created an entertaining as well as tragic and passionate musical drama. The Metropolitan Opera and Chorus, conducted by Maurizio Benini, and the charm of the soloists, make this clear and sharp DVD with introductions by Deborah Voigt, worth playing over and over again.
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on 12 October 2014
Very well done if not erasing memories of Janet Baker. Nevertheless a moving performance by Joyce Di Donato with a good supporting cast
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on 7 November 2014
Excellent signing and staging.Joyce DIDonato's acting is superb particularly in the scene where Mary bids farewell to her entourage
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 23 April 2014
I enjoyed this a lot and am sick of whiging people going on about it not being in blue ray.
I know its cheaper than going to NY to see it live. which i cant do anyway.
The Elizabeth though dressed most unflateringly (hated the fact in the second act her wig didnt get put on correctly and stayed that way till the end of that scene) The hunting costume is so wrong historically it has to be scene to believed.
but it suited her characterisation which was a vast as her vocie incredilly butch and awkward which i think suited the aging manically jealous queen she nearly won out over the star joyce di donato who i had heard of and seen. She sings divinely
and its nice to see her singing something serious for a change her technic is great and brings to this role all the presicion of the rossini singer coloratura with careful phrasing and a mulitiude of varying delightful vocal colours
The Production is period and nothing out of the ordinary but it is an improvement on his Anna Bolenna but then its a better opera. All the men left me cold standard,costumed drearly and workaday but this opera belongs to the queens and will no doubt delight them
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on 6 September 2014
Wonderful singing and the dvd was delivered promptly. What more could one ask for!
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on 14 September 2014
Joyce Didonato is sublime and Elza Van den Heever a wonderful foil.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 March 2015
Brilliant!
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on 20 July 2015
Absolutely bloody fantastically marvelous!
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