2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Terrific production and probably definitive for a long time to come,
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This review is from: Hector Berlioz - Les Troyens (Theatre du Chatelet, Paris 2003) [Blu-ray]  [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
Unusually, I would like to commence this review with an overall summary comment that in my opinion this is as fine as we have any right to expect with a sympathetic setting of the opera, excellent surround sound, sympathetic camera work and fine musical values throughout.
The opera is a complete dramatic work with extended dance and purely musical scenes or sections placed within the vocal parts. In this respect it is typical of the French approach to opera of the time as being a whole evening's entertainment but on a vastly greater scale than usual. The Russians share this comprehensive view too. This all-embracing concept suits the epic nature of the story of course.
Berlioz writes this in two parts which subdivide into 5 acts - the Greek's defeat by the Trojans followed by events in Carthage essentially concerning the doomed relationship between Queen Dido and Aeneas.
The production of this epic work is also suitably epic with full use made of the staging to create grandeur. The use of a mirrored wall in the first part is effective in increasing the sense of spectacle so that this is achieved without actual overcrowding. The second part by contrast, uses open spaces, clean cut colours and costuming to create a sense of an upwardly mobile and successful society.
The whole production is of extraordinary vision and rises impressively to scale all the heights. The cast is uniformly excellent throughout. Standout performances are given by Antonacci in the over-wrought role of Cassandra in the first part and this is matched by the conflicted role of Dido as portrayed by Graham. Gregory Kunde provides a good Aeneas in support and Tezier is a well-sung partner to Antonacci in the first part, even though I personally find that his regular lack of eye contact with those he is singing to is dramatically distracting. Still, this is just a personal view which may not be shared by others! All other supporting singers, including the chorus are of equally fine standards. The orchestra under the strong direction of Gardiner is excellent on their period instruments.
There is an extended documentary as an hour's extra which is as detailed as anyone would wish for.
It is very unlikely that there will be a serious challenger to this impressive production in the foreseeable future. The imaging is wonderfully clear and detailed without being invasive and the sound quality is superb in its DTS Master Audio format. In my opinion there cannot be any serious reason to deny this issue the full 5 stars.