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Dido & Aeneas, by Henry Purcell / Connolly, Meachem, Crowe, OAE, Hogwood, McGregor, Royal Opera & Ballet (ROH Covent Garden 2009)  [Region Free]
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The Royal Ballet and The Royal Opera join forces for Wayne McGregor's acclaimed fusion of music and movement, whose richly layered designs perfectly complement Purcell's telling of a classical tale of love thwarted by evil powers. With Sarah Connolly and Lucas Meachem in the title roles, Christopher Hogwood conducts the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Filmed with High Definition cameras and recorded in true surround sound.
"The wide open spaces and minimalist designs contrive a vast universe against which a very intimate human tragedy can be teased out, presented with an almost classical purity and restraint." (BBC Music Magazine)
"Belinda is unaffectedly played by Lucy Crowe, her bright tones and precise articulation all one could desire. Sarah Connolly, whether tormented by love or grief, is an equally ideal Dido." (Gramophone)
CastSarah Connolly (Dido)Lucas Meachem (Aeneas)Lucy Crowe (Belinda)Sara Fulgoni (Sorceress)
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; Christopher HogwoodStage Director: Wayne McGregor
Catalogue Number: OABD7049DDate of Performance: 2009Running Time: 72 minutesSound: 2.0 PCM & 5.1 DTSAspect Ratio: 1080i High Definition / 16:9Subtitles: EN, FR, DE, ES, ITLabel: Opus Arte
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But for the silver lining, there isn't that much ballet...
The video on this Blu Ray is absolutely stunning as is the audio.
Sets are minimalist and timeless without any evidence of an attempt to shock the viewer or make a statement. They go well with the costumes and actions of those on stage. Dance sequences are tastefully done and to my eyes, not the eyes of a balletomane I have to say, entirely appropriate. Hogwood and the OAE give excellent support and are beautifully recorded.
Lucy Crowe as Belinda looks and sounds very fine and Sara Fulgoni is an apt sorceress, oozing the sense that she isn't about to take any lip from anyone. As the witches, Eri Nakamura and Pumeza Matshikiza provide some novelty by appearing in one costume. Perhaps a nod to those demanding belt-tightening in the world of the arts. Lucas Meacham as Aeneas failed to inspire me both vocally and in appearance, though apparently he does it for the ladies in the audience and he certainly he gets Dido going.
And it is for Sarah Connolly that I bought this performance. Having seen her only in trouser roles I wanted to sample her capabilities in something totally different. She is superb. That the voice is glorious is no surprise. What is, is the sheer sensuality she brings to the role of Dido without sacrificing the essential regal qualities. Nobody would accuse her of looking like your standard box-office starlet, but she is all woman. Troy must be a pretty special place, you feel, for Aeneas to want to take off and leave her. "When I am laid to earth" is technically spot-on and very moving. A masterpiece of a performance.
This is my first Blu-ray and a convincing introduction to the new medium. Picture and sound are impeccable.
I see there's a new dvd of the work about to appear with William Christie in charge. Should be good, and it needs to be to compete with this one. It's a credit to ROH.