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Massenet: Don Quichotte [DVD]  [NTSC]
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This production of one of the late masterpieces of Massenet, 'Don Quichotte', in May 2010 from La Monnaie, was the last great role performed by the feted Belgian baritone, José van Dam. This very special context generates a real intensity, enhanced by the stage direction of Laurent Pelly and the expertise of Marc Minkowski in French opera repertoire, following numerous productions by Massenet, Debussy, Meyerbeer, Offenbach, Auber, Boieldieu, Gounod… > The DVD includes a touching documentary on this production.
***** Performance ***** Recording ***** Extras this is both a profoundly moving take on Massenet s comedie heroique and a treasurable souvenir of a great performer in his final role. --BBC Music Magazine October 2012
This excellent release with state-of-the-art sound and vision preserves for the posterity the farewell to the stage ... Marc Minkowski s conducting is an ear-opener. He aims for clean, crisply defined sound there is not an ounce of fat on it, no traditional Gallic schmooze, and the orchestra plays wonderfully. I now want to hear him conduct others of the composer s major works. It could be a revelation. --Rodney Milnes, Opera November 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
The dream world of the knight's idealism in the subsequent four acts is similarly filled with sierras and landscapes made of hundreds of thousands of sheets of paper, reflecting the recreation of Don Quichotte's exploits on paper and the lack of substantiality that these dreams are based on, the valiant knight forgetting that he is now just a foolish old man whose youth has faded. After a 50 year career, José van Dam's voice may also lost some of its youthful vigour and strength, but the passion and sincerity is still there, and in that respect it's a perfect fit for the role of Don Quixote that makes his performance of the role all the more poignant.Read more ›
In view of the importance and the excellence of the documentary I shall start this review by very briefly detailing its contents. The documentary provides an in-depth coverage of the several months of preparations preceding the performance. José van Dam features in this as an important linking commentator and introduces the auditions and the various stages of soloist, chorus and orchestral rehearsals. The stages of stage design and construction are illustrated as well as costumes and make-up. Acting is rehearsed as well as showing how sword fighting is choreographed to fit the music precisely. The whole concept of the production is explained in detail by the producer and this is interspersed with constructional footage as the sets, costumes and lighting are created and adjusted to fit the concept. All this backstage activity is skilfully cut into extracts from the final stage performance so we can really see how it all goes together, and most importantly, understand why. One is left with an overwhelming respect for such a combination of talents, dedication and sheer sustained hard work.
This production celebrates two important anniversaries - the 100th anniversary of the opera plus the 50th and final anniversary of José van Dam's performing career. Although this marks his last production as a singer, his important future in educational and guidance roles is quite clear judging from his considerable involvement in this production in those key ways.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A different cast from the second production (in Palermo) but no less enjoyablePublished 6 months ago by Professor Ian M. Johnson