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Britten: The Rape Of Lucretia [Sarah Connolly, Christopher Maltman, Catherine Wyn-Rogers] [Opus Arte: OABD7135D] [Blu-ray]  [Region Free]
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Sarah Connolly's 'outstanding' (The Guardian) portrayal of the wronged Roman noblewoman, written originally for Kathleen Ferrier, lies at the heart of David McVicar's powerfully stark production for English National Opera as 'an everyday sort of woman who could be living at any time or place.' Her nemesis is the arrogant Tarquinius of Christopher Maltman, 'who made the air tingle with danger' (Financial Times).
" ... the cast is so superb and Paul Daniel's conducting so sure-footed. Every element in Britten's score needs to glow with beauty. The 13 ENO instrumentalists deliver gloriously.
Christopher Maltman's ferocious, magnetic Tarquinius distils all the charisma and youthful sexuality that the music describes. Sarah Connolly's Lucretia is powerful and robust yet strangely sexless, almost boyish.
The opera is a feast of musical moments. The simplicity and directness of McVicar's staging ensures that every detail in text and vocal lines gets attention, and McVicar uses the Coliseum's wide stage space brilliantly." (The Evening Standard)
"Christopher Maltman, a memorable Billy Budd for the Welsh National Opera, had ideal cat-like virility in voice and physique as Tarquinius, with Sarah Connolly an impassioned, robust Lucretia. Paul Daniel, conducting, and the excellent 13-strong chamber ensemble savoured every nuance and texture of the score, from sour, nervy harp refrain to plangent cor anglais and alto flute lament." (The Observer)
"... excellent at every level and provides a forceful reminder that, despite the schoolgirl gush in Ronald Duncan's overly "poetic" libretto, the piece stands as one of Britten's most musically cogent and dramatically subtle achievements.
Sarah Connolly's Lucretia, sung with great intelligence and beauty of line ... Christopher Maltman's crisply focused baritone and taut physique radiate all the mindless macho potency that fuels Tarquinius.
Paul Daniel's impassioned conducting was alive to all the nervy intensity of the amazing score. Did Britten ever again use the orchestra with such inventiveness?" (The Daily Telegraph)
CastSarah Connolly (Lucretia)Christopher Maltman (Tarquinius)Catherine Wyn-Rogers (Bianca)Mary Nelson (Lucia)Leigh Melrose (Junius)Clive Bayley (Collatinus)Orla Boylan (Female Chorus)John Mark Ainsley (Male Chorus)
Orchestra of English National Opera; Paul DanielStage Director: David McVicar
Catalogue Number: OABD7135DDate of Performance: 2001Running Time: 120 minutesAspect Ratio: 16:9Subtitles: EN, FR, DE, JP, KRLabel: Opus Arte
The main cast delivers a superlative response from start to finish. Performance **** Picture& Sound **** --BBC Music Magazine,Jan'14
Connolly's performance sets a standard that's perhaps as important to The Rape of Lucretia as Jon Vickers was to Peter Grimes. Daniel makes every note count in this ultra-spare score. --Gramophone, Feb'14
The Rape of Lucretia is a masterly yet problematic work. This is a thought-provoking and ultimately satisfying attempt at a solution. It is also superbly well sung, played and acted. --IRR, Feb'14
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Top Customer Reviews
Following Peter Grimes, The Rape of Lucretia marks something of a rethinking of approach to opera that would have a significant impact on the style of much of the composer's later dramatic works. The subject of The Rape of Lucretia then is a sparse but powerful one which, when combined with Britten's musical scoring of it, is almost harrowing in its intensity. It's not difficult to see here themes that preoccupy Britten throughout his musical career and even in his personal life relating to the corruption of innocence. Lucretia, for Britten however is about much more than just the defilement of a woman's saintly virtue, but touches on the nature of society and the values that it assigns to men and women. In particular the work questions the nature of violence, in war and as a characteristic of men, and challenges whether pacifism isn't truer to the better nature of mankind.
It's Britten's musical arrangements however that are most innovative, distinctive, modern and relevant. The reduced orchestration highlights the expression of individual instruments and heightens the dramatic tone and tension of the subject.Read more ›
The premiere was held at Glyndebourne,Sussex,England,on the 12th July 1946.Out of this opera came the English Opera group,for which Britten became its resident composer.The Premiere was conducted by Ernest Ansermet,with Lucretia,the part especially written for Kathleen Ferrier-a contralto.(Decca the World of Ferrier Vol 1 & 2).Joan Cross and Peter Pears as the chorus,Otakar Krauss as Tarquinius and Brannigan as Collatinus.The opera has eight vocal soloists and 13 instrumentalists.
Synopsis:"Rome,510.With a male(ten) and female(sop).Chorus commenting and eventually drawing a Christian moral,the opera relates the story of the period,destructive Tarquinius(bar). He rides from the camp where news has arrived of the Roman wives infidelity to make an attempt on the virtue of the sole exception,Lucretia(Mezzo),wife of Collatinus (bass). Claiming hospitality,he later enters her room and rapes her.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I can only endorse the judgement of the other reviewers and say that this is an outstanding production of a great work. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Colin W
Just thinking how I discovered Britten's music drama genius. It was with Peter Grimes. Then Billy Budd then Gloriana and Midsummer Night's Dream. Read morePublished 8 months ago by GrahamH