Customer Review

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A curate's egg, 29 Oct 2010
This review is from: Henry Purcell - England, My England [DVD] (DVD)
I'm not sure what to make of this. I watched it on TV when it was first shown in the mid 1990s and remember enjoying it and it certainly gave me a lot of pleasure this time around, even if I did not find Tony Palmer's concept of exploring Purcell's life and times through the eyes of a group of actors in the mid 1960s (or so it says on the DVD sleeve; hairstyles and events would suggest a decade later) especially effective, however literate and amusing the script by Charles Wood and John Osborne may be. The acting is, of course, very fine; how could it be otherwise with a cast featuring Simon Callow, Corin Redgrave, Rebecca Front, John Shrapnel and the late, great Robert Stephens? Michael Ball is, moreover, a revelation as Purcell, confounding all my (unfair) expectations. The chief glory of the film is, inevitably and quite rightly, Purcell's sublime music, performed superbly by the English Baroque Soloists under John Eliot Gardiner and featuring such expert soloists as Susan Graham, Lynne Dawson, Nancy Argenta and David Thomas. The musical excerpts underpin the whole film with point and wit and are in themselves ample justification for what is by any standards an intriguing DVD.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 10 Feb 2011 20:27:34 GMT
Br Bird says:
I totally agree with this review. I remember watching this when it was broadcast, & being bowled over by it, this is a period of English history that really appeals to me, although I'd forgotten it was about Purcell, probably because at the time I new nothing of his work, unlike now. this production has always stuck in my mind. I don't think it has been seen for quite a while. So you can imagine my surprise while visiting a website on the work of John Eliot Gardiner looking for a recording of Berlioz Romeo & Juliet, to stumble across this DVD! I agree Michael Ball is a real surprise.
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M. Joyce
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