Customer Review

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a lost opportunity, 27 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Korsakov: Legend of the Invisible City [Blu-ray] [2013] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
The Dutch seem pretty good at producing operas on Blu-ray with good singing, sound and video but then risking all on some very off-beat productions. I am thinking here of their Flying Dutchman set in what might have been the port of Amsterdam with immigrant gangs and whores, The Girl of the Golden West set in a modern Las Vegas gay bar and a car wrecker's yard and now this rarest of all operas set God knows where but surely nowhere that would have meant very much to Rimsky-Korsakov!

Although Rimsky wrote a lot of operas they are usually long and complicated, not very popular outside Russia and are very rarely performed in the West. The Invisible City of Kitezh is generally considered Rimsky's masterpiece and has some lovely music. It is most unlikely another production will appear on Blu-ray for a very long time if ever. It is all the more lamentable therefore that it should have been presented in such a modern style with no explanation either on disc or in the booklet. The story is complex and it needs an audience friendly production to be fully appreciated. I admit to being a traditionalist but many modern production such as the Valencia Ring have been a great success. I believe it is most unlikely the same will be said of this release. Prince Yuri has an Astrakhan hat and a pseudo Russian coat but most of the costumes look as if they came from the Salvation Army store and the sets from some second-hand refugee supplier. The Tartars appear to be Black September terrorists and all-in-all I found it an intolerable abuse of a rare opportunity to present a really unusual work in a way Rimsky might have liked. The singing is excellent, the sound is good and the picture OK as far as it goes under such circumstances. There are no extras other than the booklet that gives a synopsis but even with that I found it hard to follow what was supposed to be happening as the sung text seemed to bear little relation to what the eye could see on stage. The main cast seemed to be fitted with microphones over the left ear and some of the voices sounded a bit out of focus. I was really looking forward to this but confess I am bitterly disappointed. I shall approach future Dutch opera releases with a lot more care as this is my third disappointment!
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Location: Melbourne, Australia

Top Reviewer Ranking: 5,813