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Meyerbeer: Robert Le Diable [Bryan Hymel, Patrizia Ciofi, John Relyea] [Opus Arte: OABD7121D] [Blu-ray] [2013] [Region Free]

4.3 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Bryan Hymel, Patrizia Ciofi, John Relyea, Marina Poplavskaya, Nicolas Courjal
  • Directors: Laurent Pelly
  • Writers: Giacomo Meyerbeer
  • Producers: Royal Opera House
  • Format: Colour
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Japanese, Korean
  • Region: All Regions (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Opus Arte
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Jun. 2013
  • Run Time: 211 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00CIWPJ86
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 97,889 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

A grand opera that dominated the stages of Europe for most of the 19th century, Robert le diable is a masterpiece. Director Laurent Pelly breathes new life into Giacomo Meyerbeer's great spectacle and audaciously entertaining moral fable, in this colourful new staging for The Royal Opera. The wonderful score includes brilliant arias, dramatic ensembles, rousing choruses and a ballet of ghostly nuns, and with the wavering hero of the title sung by Bryan Hymel, acclaimed for his role as Énée in Les Troyens for The Royal Opera and the Metropolitan Opera, this is an unmissable experience.

Press Reviews

"‘‘…some amazing singing. Bryan Hymel as Robert and Patrizia Ciofi as his beloved Isabelle tackle their immense roles with tremendous panache and stamina." (The Guardian)
" ... the production is worth seeing for anyone interested in the history of opera and it may well be another 120 years before Covent Garden stages it again." (The Washington Times)
"... the opportunity to see this particular Meyerbeer creation, last given at Covent Garden in 1890, should not be missed bv lovers of the composer's music." (International Record Review)
Bryan Hymel (Robert)
Patrizia Ciofi (Isabelle )
John Relyea (Bertram)
Marina Poplavskaya (Alice)
Nicolas Courjal (Alberti)
David Butt Philip (Master of Ceremonies)
Royal Opera Chorus; Orchestra of the Royal Opera House; Daniel Oren

Stage Director: Laurent Pelly
Catalogue Number: OABD7121D
Date of Performance: 2012
Running Time: 211 minutes
Sound: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Subtitles: EN, FR, DE, JP, KR
Label: Opus Arte


Whatever the reasons, the opportunity to see this particular Meyerbeer creation, last given at Convent Garden in 1890, should not be missed by lovers of the composer's music. --IRR, Sept'13

The high standard of filming and sound is indeed everything one would expect from Opus Arte. --Gramophone awards issue, 2013

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
The DVD of the London December 2012 production has now appeared, and gives more leisured opportunity for experiencing this famous but unknown work. It is so helpful to those who are considering something new in exploring Meyerbeer, whose works are not generally known these days.

The detail of the cover(s) says it all. The disc comes in a slipcase depicting the gaping mouth of Hell from a medieval Miracle Play. The centre piece features the satanic tempter Bertram. But it is in fact a careful cutout, and when the cover is removed, we are presented by a strikingly attractive montage showing the hero flanked his two heroine mentors (Alice and Isabelle), with his demon-father(Bertram) beneath in infernal fire.
This colourful and rather glamorous image effectively reveals the thematic configuration of this operatic parable of the human dilemma and its spiritual dimension.
It should be said right away that this production is bright and absorbing, rich in iconic allusion and consistently making reference to intriguing artistic prototypes and models in presenting the very rich and complex symbolism of the story

The ROH production of `Robert le Diable' nonetheless did leave much to be desired. At least it was not of the same dreadful nature as the `Eurotrash' productions staged in Berlin (2000, set in a cinema) and Erfurt (2011, set in a mental asylum). The producer Laurent Pelly always has his own perspectives and agendas---as is the case in these days of the "producers' opera". Some of his ideas nevertheless do have considerable innate interest.

Pelly has used a series of medieval artistic concepts to underpin certain symbolic elements in the scenario.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I bought this despite being aware of other reviewers critical to this production because I could not see that a Blu-Ray of another production would be available in the near future. So rather than knowing nothing about this opera I went ahead.
The opera shows potential on this Blu- Ray which makes it understandable why it was so influential in the 19th century But except for the gambling scene in Act 1, Act 3 and the last twenty minutes it lacked any tension that could have been brought about by more powerful singers and a far more credible production. There is good singing from John Relyea, Marina Poplavskaya who is showing better projection and Patrizia Ciofi especially in her wonderful Act 4 Aria but earlier seemed to lack belief . The artificial colours of the horses which match those of the women's courtly dresses and lighting are hideous. They are supposed to resemble, or so I am told by Laurent Pelly on this Blu-Ray, those used on illuminated manuscripts.But these are natural colourings and can't compare with those used in this production
I am thankful that I was on holiday and missed this production at the opera house..
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Format: Blu-ray
The folly and the controversy surrounding the Royal Opera House's production of Meyerbeer's 2012 Robert Le Diable have been extensively reported elsewhere, from the cast changes and departures through to its critical mauling in the press. Those weaknesses are still apparent here, but they can be offset to a large degree in this case just by the rare opportunity to see one of the greatest works of 19th century opera performed on the stage. The challenge that faced director Laurent Pelly to stage this unfashionable monster of the Grand Opera repertoire however was never an enviable one. He may not entirely have succeeded, but in a way Pelly does capture the spirit of Meyerbeer to some extent. Perhaps it's more of a case that audiences still aren't ready for Meyerbeer.

Which is understandable, but a pity nonetheless. If nothing else Robert le Diable is an opera experience like no other. Musically and in terms of plotting it's not the most sophisticated, but Meyerbeer packs the five acts of the opera so full of melodies and dramatic development, underlining it with grand choral refrains, lyrical expression, comic interplay and over-the-top gothic imagery with some ballet sequences thrown in for good measure, that it's never anything less than pure value-for-money entertainment. Pelly's production, unfairly criticised I feel, attempts to put all the colour and the darkness of the work up there on the stage in the sets and costumes, and he does so rather well. It's faithful to the spirit of the work, playing it straight where it ought to be, exaggerating in other places, but never stooping to making fun of the melodramatic developments and wild declarations.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
An early outing for opera's abiding obsession with devil/disciple relationships the now rarely performed Robert Le Diable ends with the triumph of the young adventurer of the title over his former manipulator who finally disappears through the open mouth of hell. Until this 2012 production from Covent Garden Meyerbeer's admirers were best served by a 1985 radio recording from Paris with stand-out performance from Samuel Ramey as the evil Bertram and June Anderson as Isabelle, Robert's love interest. Nearly thirty years later there is now a DVD version available to excite further interest.

This is a well sung production with experimental staging, far removed from traditional concepts, that includes hearty knights clad for war, vividly coloured horses and small movable castles. There is a continuity that does complement the action and production values are fortunately far removed from anything resembling a Zurich style mishmash. It is unfortunate that in a misplaced attempt at marketing the DVD's producers have decided to enclose the jewel case in an outer cover depicting the mouth of hell. This necessary property makes only a brief appearance in the final act but its use in a blatant attempt to boost sales will offend as well as attract customers. This is yet another example of Covent Garden's questionable priorities for the booklet, although containing an informative essay and a synopsis, lacks both chapter headings and time frames.
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