18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Truly a wonderful production on a Blu-ray of landmark technical quality,
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This review is from: Les Troyens (ROH) [Anna Caterina Antonacci, Bryan Hymel, Eva-Maria Westbroek] [Opus Arte: OABD7113D] [Blu-ray] [NTSC] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
What a wonderful work of art! I had high hopes for the new Troyens, and this production exceeded my expectations!
First and foremost, I expect a new work of art to provide me new visions, things I haven't seen before, and here the director David McVicar and the team do deliver plenty of food for the brain, and then some! The stunning sets are by Es Devlin, and they are wonderful trough the length of Les Troyens.
For example, look at the giant, mechanical Trojan horse, posing on the cover of the Blu-ray! It took over a year to cast all the pieces, attention to detail is mind-boggling.
Les Troyens is sometimes called a French counterpart to Wagner's Ring, and this production does remind me of the Robert Lepage's new Ring for the Met, in a sense that it also made a grand masterpiece truly work for me, for a first time. The conductor Antonio Pappano seems to have taken a similar (correct) approach to the music, as Levine and Luisi had done with the Ring, less historical baggage, more beauty.
There are many things, that can go less than perfectly with an opera production, but when it really works, there's nothing better. Here we have an example, where *everything* worked; the lighting is wonderful, as are the costumes (all 100+ of them!). The dance choreographies are contemporary, bold, and exciting, alone worth more than the price of this marvelous Blu-ray. The video direction is faultless, it's all good.
The singing is of very high quality, and all the singers look their parts, a very important factor with a filmed production. The ROH orchestra is in a great form, as well.
And then there is the technical quality. This Blu-ray (2 of them) has the best image quality I have seen on a regular 1080 resolution Blu-ray disc, and by some margin.
I can only speculate, but I'd have to guess, that the ROH has acquired 4K resolution cameras, and the video has then been downscaled to 1080i. The image is truly striking, it's simultaneously pin-sharp and smooth-looking; after seeing this, regular Blu-rays look rather grainy.
The blacks are inky, shadow detail is good, colors are very saturated, and there's virtually no noise in the image. The image looks simply stunning, when projected to wall-size.
I really enjoyed the sound quality, as well. The orchestra has been recorded in great detail, with the sound stage close to the listener, a logical choice, when viewing the proceedings at a close range.
The grand choral scenes (chorus master Renato Balsadonna) were recorded with great skill, the sound is layered and 3-dimensional. There's no oppressive, bulky weight, that can burden the listener with these types of scenes. Full points!
The opera comes in a beautiful 2 disc boxed set, with an 80-page booklet. The disc production is great, as well, the opera can be started with an introduction by Pappano, and you don't have to surf the menus to choose English subs and DTS sound, they have been pre-selected (other options are available). Extra materials are good, again.
I rate this production tied 1st, with about 10 other great productions, for the best opera production I have seen. Two of those 10 are also directed by McVicar, Giulio Cesare in Glyndebourne, and Salome with ROH, both are available as Opus Arte Blu-rays. None of those Blu-rays have the technical quality of this one, though, so I have to rate this as the best Blu-ray currently available.
It's also a great, easily accessible opera, and a good, beautiful gift item, that would also work as a good introduction to opera