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Handel : Theodora [DVD]  [NTSC]
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A new production of Handel's tragic opera moving the story from the ancient world to the present day. David Daniels takes the role of Didymus the Roman Soldier whose Christian conscience leads him to risk his life for the noble Theodora. A highly acclaimed production first broadcast on Channel 4.
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Top Customer Reviews
The story of Theodora, a Christian martyr of the Roman period (during the reign of Emperor Diocletian), is not a well-known one, but Handel took Thomas Morell's libretto and produced a masterpiece - one ravishing number after another.
The Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment under William Christie produces a first rate performance, even in Act 3 which in less assured hands can drag rather, without any significant action to be portrayed. Tempi and conventions are apposite, and the audience sit in stunned silence bemused by the unfolding scenes of Christian virtue and pagan obduracy.
Didymus (David Daniels) the Roman soldier loves Theodora (Dawn Upshaw), a Christian, but is under orders from the President of Antioch (Valens - bass) to persecute all those who will not honour the emperor's birthday. The Roman centurion Septimius (Richard Croft), whose job it is to ensure christian compliance with the pagan festival, is also friend to Didymus and later confronts a conflict of interest when he has to arrest his friend and have him and Theodora executed as Christians.Read more ›
Luckily this performance has now been issued on CD so you can hear this magnificent performace without this ridiculous staging. See: (Glyndebourne: GFOCD 014-96) Box set.
Some general ideas of mine and quotes applicable to this staging:
1) Sellars is one of those stage producers who is ignorant of Barogue theatre practice and the art of Baroque music in general, and this staging is an example of this ignorance.
2) This production is an example of self-indulgence and the urge to shock which obstructs the appreciation of Handel. The staging is an expression of a bloated ego, which thinks it is more important and greater than the genius Handel himself.
3) The antics of this modern stage producion "stem from ignorance, cynicsim, and the lust to exploit a hyperactive ego.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very good, thought provoking production of an oper/oratorio I did not know.Published 6 months ago by Alan Brown
Singing was wonderful but stage production was dreadful .Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
Yet another musically excellent rendering of an opera let down by a silly modern director (Peter Sellars in this case). Read morePublished 12 months ago by ads
I bought this disc after seeing a clip from it on Antonio Pappano’s recent “Classical Voices” TV series. Read morePublished 14 months ago by David Garrett
Production-wise, I was profoundly moved by seeing/hearing the eternal and spiritual message of this precious music infused into a shocking depiction of the difficult moral and... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Starwalker
The idea of turning Handel's 3 part oratorio into an opera is brilliant. This production is now seen to have movement and emotion. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Pdon
I have watched and watched this historic performance of Theodora, the first ever staging of Handel's long ignored masterpiece. Read morePublished on 14 Nov. 2013 by Sheena Vernon