- Note: Blu-ray discs are in a high definition format and need to be played on a Blu-ray player.
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] [Region Free] 
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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
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
|Length: 1:59 Mins|
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.Read more ›
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.
1.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I think this would have been a great production to see live being a veritable feast for the eye. Being that Delibes is more closely associated with dance than opera, I was... Read morePublished 14 months ago by david
This is a beautiful production both for the singing and the staging. The sets and costumes are really lovely. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Roy Kennedy
Excellent singing all round. The costumes and scenery are both lavish and beautiful. A gem in every respect. This production has really been well thought out. Read morePublished on 30 July 2014 by Brenda
An opera which there are very few productions available on DVD. This one fills the bill admirably. Australia's Emma Matthews leads a good cast.Published on 8 May 2014 by Nicolas Edwards
Lakme is not in the same league as the powerful works of Wagner or Verdi. However it is a beautiful and highly melodic piece of 19th Century faux orientalism which is thoroughly... Read morePublished on 19 Mar. 2014 by Colin W
This production goes a very long way to prove that there is a lot more to Lakmé than the ever popular `Flower Duet', rather it is a beautiful depiction of a story of love,... Read morePublished on 4 April 2013 by Stuart Sillitoe
Previously to obtaining this version I had the Joan Sutherland with Richard Bonynge, it is restrictive in that it only plays on region 1 compatible players, I have one in my... Read morePublished on 27 Dec. 2012 by I. Zaneres
I just love love love this recording.
It sounds and looks better than live in Melbourne and Sydney. Read more