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Puccini: Turandot [DVD] [2015]

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

Price: £21.38 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Eva Marton, Michael Sylvester, San Francisco Opera Orch And Chorus
  • Format: Classical, Colour, DVD-Video, PAL, Subtitled
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: German, English, French, Dutch, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: ARTHAUS
  • DVD Release Date: 27 Nov. 2006
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000JLQS8S
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 213,018 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The main problem with this DVD is audio (and I am reviewing an Arthaus/ORF production of 1983, Vienna Opera House just to make sure we are on the same page). While it is stated on the DVD box that the audio is PCM Stereo, in fact the audio is mono throughout: no instruments or voices or audience applause are panned right or left - they are all crammed in the centre and that's what I call "mono" sound. So just a word of warning to those deciding to get a modern performance in quality audio - this is not the DVD I would recommend.
The performance itself is very satusfying and both Carreras and Marton are nothing short of brilliant here. If you already own the Met DVD, you might be curious how it does compare to this earlier staging, so get this DVD even for the wonderful Carreras alone. Ping, Pang and Pong are giving only adequate performance in opening scene of Act II - obviously you can't get the best of two worlds. Orchestra is usual Maazel affair, very spectacular and bright, sometimes too bright perhaps, but illuminating exotic Puccini score. Almost for the first time you will be able to hear the organ part in full glory (well, counting in the audio limitations I outlined above).
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Channel 4 broadcast this performance of Turandot on Christmas Day ten years or so ago. I was able to watch most of it in the kitchen whilst washing up after the family Christmas lunch. My immediate impressions were how striking the design and production were, and reservations about Eva Marton as Turandot.

I hope any readers will be grateful for the fact that this review is not based on that viewing, which took place under rather less than ideal conditions. I now own the DVD, and am pleased to find that my original Christmas Day impressions were correct.

Starting with Eva Marton: the plot assumes that Calaf (the hero) falls in love instantly with Turandot as soon as he sees her. Now I know that opera isn't like real life, and I shouldn't be too sexist, but the concept of a young(ish) man falling in love on sight with Ms Marton does strain belief a little. Although she was renowned for her portrayal of Turandot, she was over 50 when the recording was made and was, sadly, simply too old for the part.

Now for the good things. The acting is adequate (though a bit stiff at times) and the singing by all is good, especially the chorus. David Runnicles, the conductor, does a fine job in the pit. But the real glory of this production is the visual appearance: the sets, costumes, makeup and lighting.

It is not clear precisely how much David Hockney was involved in all of this. Certainly he designed the sets and I believe he had at the very least a large input into the costumes. Whoever was responsible, though, the visual appearance is stunning throughout. The audience applauded at the very beginning of the second act and I would imagine that this was their spontaneous approval of the spectacle that met their eyes.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 12 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent staged version of Turandot 25 July 2013
By The Music Man - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
This strikingly-staged production of Puccini's final opera, "Turandot" was filmed with the Vienna State Opera under the direction of Loren Maazal in 1983. Set on a spare stage with a single ascending staircase rising up to Turandot's chambers, and with sumptuous, impressionistic costuming, the production allows the audience to focus not on the sets or lighting, but the performances, which are uniformly excellent, and lend the production a stark, other-worldly feeling. Carreras is near his prime here, commanding and sure on his arias, while Katia Ricciarelli is radiant as Liu. Eva Marton is pure and powerful as the title princess, giving a weighty sense of grief to her character's fate. This DVD is worth watching just for their performances alone (and you can find a low-quality VHS transfer of this production on YouTube for preview). As the previous reviewer noted, there are no subtitles for the production, but this is typical of older productions - it's simplicity itself to print out your own libretto and follow alone if you don't know the story. Also, the filming and sound is not going to match current production values; but that said, this is still a stellar cast, with glorious performances and lush, potent direction by Maazal.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mostly wonderful. 9 Aug. 2013
By Boz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Marton is wonderful. Carreras is very good. Ricciarelli is ok. The chorus and orchestra are very good. The costumes are fine. But the minimalist sets are dreadful. I dislike minimalist sets in any opera, but in Turandot, they are completely out of place. It should be the ancient city of Peking in all of it's splendor. Instead it is a bare staircase from a boiler factory. I recommend the Metropolitan Opera dvd, with Marton, Domingo, and Leona Mitchell. It has great singing and playing, great costumes, and wonderful, sumptuous sets.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Over the top production but fun to watch 28 April 2014
By MadMax - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I saw this production in Vienna and it was stunning, and LOUD (the woman next to me kept covering her ears). I think it has the longest staircase EVER to be used on a stage. The singing is absolutely top notch; all the principals are superb. The Met production is lovely to look at but this Harold Prince production is also worth a look.
5.0 out of 5 stars I think Puccini would have been pleased 30 Nov. 2015
By Karen M. Osgood - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a magnificent production. Amazon's description indicates Harold Prince as an actor, which, of course, is wrong. Harold Prince has directed many Broadway musicals and he did a brilliant job on this opera. It's the small touches that make a difference. During the duet between Turandot and Calaf, usually you see the tenor aggressively kissing her by planting a big smackeroo on her face. What Prince did here is absolutely right and it was as if a light went on in my head. The kiss is sweet and not aggressive and that is the way it should be since Turandot believes all men are rapists and murderers at heart.
The stars are Jose Carreras and Eva Marton and they are both wonderful. It's nice to see any Calaf with a beautiful voice, but for him to be able to act is an added bonus. The scenery and costumes are maybe a little over the top, but what the heck, it's a fairy tale and who wouldn't want to imagine a place like that?
Highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars this is a beautiful way to relive the experience at home 30 July 2014
By HelpfulReviewer - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
If you have ever experienced an outdoor Italian opera in Europe, this is a beautiful way to relive the experience at home!
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