Customer Review

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A glorious Gloriana -, 22 May 2009
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This review is from: Britten: Gloriana [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
I own the other two versions of this Opera on commercial release. I have to say that the Opera North (heavily edited) version has wonderful psychologically arresting performances. However, this 1983 ENO production has better vocalists in all the central roles. Whilst I prefer the emotional intensity of the Opera North production (Barstow is as fine an Elizabeth I as any on stage or screen), the drama is just as high in the ENO production because the vocalists are so fine; Sarah Walker has a steadier voice than Barstow's rather more 'superannuated' one. However, the orchestra is the most powerful recommendation for this DVD. The intensity of the orchestral performance is a revelation.

This is a glorious sounding Gloriana and has made me realise how special this opera is. This is far from being Britten's 'damp squib' composition. Indeed, I find it a work of great beauty, both subtle and thrilling. The finale is terribly moving. Britten surpassed himself for dramatic intensity in what was a composition of genius. This production helps us see just how good the opera is in the right hands. I recommend it. However, if you have the resources buy the Opera North one as well.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Dec 2009 17:31:26 GMT
D. W. CARVER says:
It is, with regret, that I cannot share KC's enthusiasm for this or for the Opera North dvd. I only wish I could. Whilst the Opera North production was excellent the dvdm which is also excellent, is only a truncated version of the opera - a 'for television' production seeing the opera through the eyes of Josaphine Barstow. This made me look forward to the release of the ENO performance, which I knew must be lurking around somewhere because I remembered it being televised. Sadly, when it finally surfaced as a dvd the sound quality put it beyond acceptance as far as I was concerned - having been a long time enthusiast for this opera.

Sadly we still await an acceptable dvd of this, surprisingly, rarely performed work.

Posted on 26 Jan 2010 13:44:10 GMT
Not sure what you mean by the other two versions of this Opera on commercial release,
do you mean there is a DVD of a third performance other than the ENO & ON ones?

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Jun 2010 10:27:44 BDT
I think KC is referrring to the CD version (Decca).

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jun 2013 13:01:24 BDT
Last edited by the author on 20 Jun 2013 13:09:33 BDT
It may interest you to know that there exists a recording of the November 22, 1963 performance (for Britten's fiftieh birthday) : Queen Elizabeth 1st - Sylvia Fisher, Earl of Essex - (Sir) Peter Pears, Raleigh - Forbes Robinson, Countess of Essex - Joan Edwards, Lady Rich - Jennifer Vyvyan, Lord Mountjoy - Raimund Herincx, Conductor Brian Fairfax. BBC broadcast, not stereo but a good recording. The CD can be ordered on www.operapassion.com.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Jun 2013 17:49:47 BDT
Waldteufel says:
There is also an excellent cd recording on Oriel of the SW Proms performance around 1974 with Ava June a superb Elizabeth - which she also sang at the Coliseum and on tour in Vienna. She was a protégé of Joan Cross who created the role - and it shows.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jan 2014 14:08:04 GMT
Last edited by the author on 29 Jan 2014 14:09:48 GMT
KJ says:
Veronique, this broadcast, from Lord Harwood's private collection, was originally released as a very good download by Chandos with an exceptional booklet. My guess is Opera Passion have made use of it!

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jan 2014 14:22:03 GMT
Last edited by the author on 23 Feb 2014 13:54:23 GMT
I have found the download of recording you mean (live recording of the first performance of 1953, which comes from Lord Harwood's private collection, with Joan Cross and Peter Pears, conductor John Pritchard) here: http://www.theclassicalshop.net (which seems to be connected with Chandos) .
The CD of operapassion.com is a concert version of ten years later: 1963, Nov 22th, with Sylvia Fisher and Peter Pears, conductor Brian Fairfax (Broadcast commentary includes an announcement of Kennedy's assassination earlier that day).
Thank you KJ, I am glad to have now both live performances, including the one with Joan Cross.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jan 2014 15:30:28 GMT
Waldteufel says:
The Ava June Gloriana was a BBC Proms broadcast Sept.2nd, 1973 conducted by Charles Mackerras celebrating Britten's 60 th birthday. I'm pretty sure it was once available on Oriel. I can recommend very highly an Aldeburgh performance from 2003 with Christine Brewer and Tom Randle cond.R.Hickox from Opera Passion CD88083. A superb performance in excellent sound (another BBC broadcast).
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