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Puccini: Tosca [Blu-ray] [2011]

4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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  • Puccini: Tosca [Blu-ray] [2011]
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  • Verdi: La Traviata [Blu-ray] [2008] [Region Free]
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Product details

  • Actors: Fiorenza Cedolins, Marcelo Álvarez, Ruggero Raimondi, Orchestra and Chorus of the Arena di Verona
  • Format: Classical, Widescreen
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: Italian, English, German, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Italian
  • Region: All Regions (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: ARTHAUS
  • DVD Release Date: 26 Sept. 2011
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005G02RIC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 32,167 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

Over 140 minutes of highlights from 47 critically acclaimed Opera, Ballet & Documentary productions on Blu-ray Disc!

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
The main selling point of this production of Puccini's 'Tosca' is the luxurious staging at the Arena di Verona, an outdoor theater built into the ruins of a public building dating from 30 AD. The stage is huge and the scenery needs to be huge as well for it to work effectively. And in this production it certainly does that. The stage is dominated by enormous broken statues of a noble Roman head and of its arm holding a sword and a crucifix. This is somehow transformed into the interior of the church in Act I, Scarpia's headquarters in Act II and the scene in which Cavaradossi is killed and Tosca leaps to her death in Act III. Act I features an enormous painting on which the painter Cavaradossi is working; it stands at least twenty feet high. And, without giving the coup de théâtre away, it figures in Scarpia's dramatic entrance late in that act. The costumes, too, are rich, colorful and appropriate to the era circa 1800 in which the opera is set. Tosca's and Scarpia's costumes must have cost a fortune. The stage direction is fluid and telling without interfering with the action. Both the intimate moments and the crowd scenes are packed with interesting details. Someone entirely unfamiliar with the opera's plot would have no difficulty following the stage action. There are no liberties in which some European opera directors have indulged themselves except for one small, not bothersome solecism: the shepherd boy at the beginning of Act III is, instead, a little boy with a fishing pole sitting on the bank of, presumably, the Tiber into which Tosca latter jumps.

Musically there is more to argue with. There are many DVD Toscas available, and this one is a notch below the best of them.
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If I had been in the audience of the Arena di Verona for the recording of this performance I would have been very happy indeed. OK so it isn't the best Tosca ever but it is a very good one. Considering the restraints placed on the recording by the venue I think the production crew did a very creditable job to bring us a recording of such good quality.

The cast led by Fiorenza Cedolins and Marcelo Alvarez give good performances bringing the characters of Floria and Mario to life. I have only heard Alvarez a handful of times and in this recording he is the best I have heard him. I have never heard Cedolins sing before and while good enough, Alvarez is a notch above her. Recondita armonia, Non la sospiri, la nostra casetta, Vissi d'arte and E lucevan le stelle are the highlights as you would expect but I really enjoyed O dolci mani

There is no problem with the sound quality either stereo or 5.1, both sounded fine to me. The quality of the blu-ray is also good and for less than £7 I cannot imagine you getting a better value Tosca anywhere especially when the DVD version of this performance is being sold for £25 elsewhere.

If you are looking for a better Tosca then you should track down a copy of the 1978 Met recording staring Luciano Pavarotti, Shirley Verrett and Cornell Macneil. Unfortunately not available on Amazon UK but like several othe Opera DVD's it is available from amazon.fr which is where I ordered my copy from. You can login with yor UK username and password and all your address and card details appear just the same as the UK. Even if you are a Prime customer you will have to pay shipping of around 7 Euro's. My total bill was for about 20 Euro's.
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perfect!
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Fantastic
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By I. Giles HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on 7 Dec. 2011
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I have owned a few video presentations of this opera and this, for me, is the best option among the more modern versions. I also bought it before the price was reduced to the current bargain range (depending on the Arthaus version advertised) so it seems to me to offer terrific value.

The venue at Verona is spectacular with everything being presented on a large scale. This produces a situation of swings and roundabouts. The voices can get somewhat submerged, but not inaudible, at the big moments - and there are many. However, with the aid of the subtitles, it is easy enough to precisely follow the words being sung without any guesswork.

At the same time there is also conveyed a degree of required effort which I personally find appropriate to the scale of the drama being portrayed. The crucial death of Scarpia must equally be conveyed with an overwhelming passion and hatred and in this respect we are fully catered for. Several otherwise fine performances fall at this hurdle. The singers here are all up to the task vocally and as actors. The orchestra are well recorded especially when considering the demands of the venue.

As a recording this succeeds in creating the sense of considerable spectacle and the imaging is as crisp and as involving as one could reasonably expect from such a setting and venue. The sound is equally praise-worthy and is presented in DTS 5.1 and stereo options.

This is a red-blooded Tosca writ large. Tosca is all about passion, larger than life characters and events supported by music conceived on a large scale. That, for me, is what we get here and I for one, am very satisfied. Highly recommended especially as it is now available at a much reduced price.
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