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Delibes: Lakme [Sydney Opera House] [Emma Matthews; Aldo Di Toro; Stephen Bennett; Australian Opera And Ballet Orchestra; Roger Hodgman; Emmanuel Joel-Hornak] [Opera Australia: Opoz56021Bd] [Blu-Ray] [2012][Region Free] [2013]

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

4 used from £438.96
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Region A encoding. This Blu-ray will not play on most Blu-ray players sold in the UK [Region B]. This item requires a region specific or multi-region Blu-ray player. Learn more about Blu-ray regions

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Product details

  • Actors: Emma Matthews, Aldo Di Toro, Stephen Bennett, Dominica Matthews, Edmond Choo
  • Format: Classical, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Opera Australia
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Sept. 2012
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007C7FFEA
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 134,513 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

Lakmé, Delibes greatest opera, is performed by Opera Australia in all its oriental glory. Starring the exquisite coloratura soprano Emma Matthews as the innocent girl priestess Lakmé, and superb tenor Aldo Di Toro as the love-struck Gerald, the story tackles religion and cross-cultural love against a backdrop of British rule in India in the mid-19th century.

French conductor Emmanuel Joel-Hornak brings out the full depth of the lush, dramatic score, with familiar high points being the beautiful renditions of the well-known Flower duet and Bell Song. Dominica Matthews adds her rich voice as Mallika and Stephen Bennett is darkly dominating as Brahmin priest Nilakantha, Lakmés father, while Roxane Hislop is a consumate Mistress Bentson.

Set and costume designs by Mark Thompson fill the stage with rich colour, atmosphere and exoticism, complemented by Nigel Levings warm lighting. This restudied production, originally conceived by Adam Cook, is skilfully directed by Roger Hodgman.


"It's not hard to see why Emma Matthews is considered one of the greatest opera singers Australia has to offer. As Lakmé, she is startlingly perfect and the audience lets her know it."

--Australian Stage

"Matthews's sound is juicy, always under control, capable of dramatic outbursts yet flexible enough to pull back and negotiate the intricate bell staccatos with glittering accuracy."

--Opera News

'So convincing are these singers [Matthews, Aldo di Toro] that the opera at times ceases to be a Victorian imperialist souvenir and becomes a window into a genre of opera that has faded from the 21st century but was once meaningful to a large public.' --Gramophone, February 2013, David Patrick Stearns

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray
There's a line in Act III of Delibes' Lakmé, when British soldier Gérald is being nursed back to health by Lakmé the beautiful daughter of the Brahmin priest who has attempted to kill him, Gérald awakening to the sounds and the vivid beauty of the world around him that has been heightened by his love for Lakmé, which he describes it being like a caress passing over you. In that phrase you have a summation of everything that Delibes achieves through the lushness of the scoring for the opera, the brilliance and enchantment of the melody and the sheer enveloping beauty and romanticism with which it captures the exoticism of its impossible love story between two people of very different cultures that goes against the prevailing attitudes in an India under British rule in the 1800s.

Léo Delibes is better known now for his ballets than his opera work, with Coppélia and Sylvia still frequently performed as repertory standards, but although Delibes achieved considerable success with his opera compositions, only Lakmé (1883) has made an enduring impression, principally on account of the exquisite 'Flower Song' duet for sopranos (which frequently turns up in television advertisements, most notably some years ago for British Airways), and for the challenging showpiece 'Bell Aria' which allows a coloratura soprano to demonstrate her virtuosity, but it rare to see the work performed in its entirety.
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Format: Blu-ray
Length: 1:59 Mins
Opera Australia's sumptuous production of Lakmé with Emma Matthews in the title role caused something of a sensation when it was shown to the OperaDou Jury in early June 2012. Audiences in Europe have had few opportunities to see OA productions until now, so the realization that so much wonderful music-making takes place in Australia was a "very, very pleasant surprise" as one of our seasoned American opera-goers and regular Jury member says in our "Video Crits". Now that these productions are coming out on Blu-Ray we will at last be able to enjoy more of their performances. If they are all up to the standard of "Lakmé" we have quite an operatic feast to look forward to!

The lavish sets and gorgeous costumes got a special mention from several people on the Jury. It was also a joy to see more long shots than we invariably do in most other operas on disc. The sharpness of the high definition image makes this possible and gives a greater impression of "being there" (no doubt why some 60% of the Jury felt that this HD experience was "better than" or "significantly better than" actually attending a live performance! The remainder judged it comparable with the real thing).

One of the French Jury members was a retired first violinist who has played in performances of Lakmé at the Paris and Lyon operas. He too was amazed at the quality of the OA production, greatly admiring the staging and singling out the orchestral playing and Aldo Di Toro's clear tenor voice for special mention.
However, the greatest, unequivocal and most generous praise was of course for Emma Matthews. She was a discovery for everyone. And what a discovery! She is so believable as Lakmé and sings with such purity, clarity and (apparently) effortless command of her amazing voice.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
An opera lover would be missing something really wonderful if he missed out on this long long long awaited production, especially in the blu ray format. BUY IT and forget the little flaws I have pointed out in this review.

The other video recording I have of this is the celebrated and venerated old one that has Joan Sutherland. Comparisons between the two would not be fair, as both are separated by decades that have seen changing styles, values and other attributes that have gone on to staging an opera as beautiful as this. That having said, Joan Sutherland would never have been able to pull off acting and stage presence at least in this opera, as Emma Mathews has in this one. Emma is truly the star of this production, and her handling of both singing and acting really touched me to the core.

I can definitely deem Stephen Bennet (Nilakanta) as the 'other' star in this production. Dominica Mathews as Mallika impressed. I cant say I was too impressed with Aldo Di Torro. His acting is just a notch above lousy and his singing, although sweet and flawless;this production could have done with a more powerful tenor. Torro I think is an excellent tenor of the second tier. The rest are quite OK, but nothing to rave about. Hadji looks and acts like a kid younger than Lakme.... a little thought to the makeup could have made him more acceptable.

The video and sound are as good as they can be and made this production absolutely enjoyable. Kudos to the Post production team.

The lavishness of the sets and the stage direction were just superb. This production had everything... ALMOST everything to deserve a well earned 5 stars rating...

Why 'Almost' perfect rather than absolutely perfect? A few flaws I would point out that did disappoint me.

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