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R. Strauss: Capriccio -- San Francisco Opera [DVD] [2003]

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Kiri Te Kanawa, Tatania Troyanos, Hagan Hagegard, San Francisco Opera, Victor Braun
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: German, Castilian
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: ARTHAUS
  • DVD Release Date: 26 Jun. 2003
  • Run Time: 144 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008O8C0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 118,569 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

Countess Madelaine is being courted by poet Olivier and musician Flamand, but cannot make her mind up between them. Her brother the Count is in love with Olivier's former mistress, Clairon, opposite whom he is to star in a play commissioned for the Countess' birthday. The Countess' indecision over her rival courtiers reflects the debate between the importance of music and words in opera. Performances from Kiri Te Kanawa, Troyanos, Hagegard, Braun, Kuebler, Keenlyside, and the San Francisco Opera Orchestra.

From Amazon.co.uk

The last and most subtle of Richard Strauss's operas, Capriccio gets a finely nuanced interpretation in this San Francisco Opera production. A generally excellent cast is highlighted not only by the radiant presence of Kiri Te Kanawa but by the deceptively robust performance of Tatiana Troyanos in her last operatic appearance before her untimely death from cancer.

The composer described Capriccio as a "conversation piece for music in one act", and he put much effort into not only the music but the words, on which he collaborated with conductor Clemens Krauss. Krauss's verbal input was particularly appropriate in this work, because the real subject (symbolised by a conventional love triangle) is the competition (and alliance) between words and music in opera, a subject naturally close to the composer-librettist's heart. The conversation runs through the whole opera in various forms. It begins immediately after the curtain goes up, with a quarrel between the poet Olivier (Simon Keenlyside) and the composer Flamand (David Kuebler) over the respective merits of their arts. They are rivals for the hand of the widowed Countess Madeleine (Te Kanawa); she is to choose between them (i.e., between poetry and music) but she is still undecided as the final curtain descends. The intervening two hours are rich in artistic shop talk and backstage situations that will enchant sophisticated opera-lovers, as well as the love interest for the rest of us.

David Runnicles conducts with a sure sense of Straussian style; and Mauro Pagano's 18th-century set creates the right atmosphere. Keenlyside and Kuebler are eloquent and believable, Te Kanawa sweet, regal and ambiguous. Hakan Hagegard and Victor Braun give particularly vivid performances in supporting roles. --Joe McLellan

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This production has to compare with earlier performances with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Elisabeth Soderstrom. The basic requirement is a Countess who is European in style and mannerisms and who doesn't allow the sheer beauty of the music to make her less of an Austro-German. This production may well be the best we are going to get for a long time. The men are outstanding with clear diction and lively acting. Kiri's singing is as always beautifully poised and graceful and the final scene when she is alone on the stage is excellent. My beef is with her words - even a German speaker new to Capriccio is unlikely to follow the Countess's role without the subtitles. Words are lost in music. This is a bit ironic for a piece all about the competing or differing values of words (le parole) and music (la musica). I felt also that some of her mannerisms didn't look quite right in an Austro-German francophile context. But these are quibbles - hear this magnificaent piece and enjoy!
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This is an opera in which are recorded Strauss's and his libretto writer 's about the reason for opera. The music is as usual warm and almost overpowering. This performance is tru;y beautiful.
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A lovely performance by a stellar cast led by Kiri Te Kanawa of this too-rarely performed chamber opera by Richard Strauss.
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Delighted with service and item - would recommend and use again
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars 30 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A near-perfect production 22 Jun. 2011
By Alex Craig - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I bought this DVD to round out my collection of Strauss opera videos because it appeared to be a straightforward, ungimmicked production, even though most of the singers and the venue were less stellar than on rival recordings. To my pleasant surprise, it turned out to be a near-perfect realization of this beautiful and fascinating opera.
The musical standard-setter for "Capriccio" has long been the late fifties EMI recording under Sawallisch, with a fabulous cast of Schwarzkopf, Ludwig, Gedda, Fischer-Dieskau, Wächter, and Hotter. This cast can't match the unique sophistication of those legendary singers, but their singing is in no way inferior, and their characterizations are right on the mark.
Kiri Te Kanawa is a wonderful Countess. She sings beautifully, she looks glamorous, and she finds every nuance in this last of Strauss' great soprano characters. Tatiana Troyanos plays the great actress Clairon as though born for it. David Kuebler and Simon Keenlyside are youthful and ardent as the Countess' suitors. Hakon Hagegaard is a delightful Count, with his theatrical pretensions and his horror of opera. Victor Braun is an effective LaRoche, reveling in the larger-than-life character, though he sounds a bit weary in his big speech. The smaller roles are also fine. The ageless Michel Sénéchal is just right as the drowsy prompter,while the Italian Singers, the dancers, the Major Domo, and the eight servants are sheer perfection. Conductor Donald Runnicles, like Sawallisch, keeps things moving and avoids sentimentality, and the orchestra plays beautifully. The single set and the costumes are lovely (especially the Countess' gown for the final scene), and the staging is stylish and elegant. Strongly recommended.
4.0 out of 5 stars Add to your watching and listening, but don't expect to whisle a tune. 20 Feb. 2015
By Robert M. Nied - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a well-performed, well cast, well setted (is this a word? but you get the idea), and well costumed opera without a tune in its composition that will be remembered, but that is not really important to me, as the story line has a strong holding quality--like most of Wagner's music dramas. Te Kanawa carries most of the load and whatever criticism exists of her disengagement from her part toward the opera's conclusion (see another Amazon.com review on this point) is well overshadowed by her elegant voice, good acting, shear beauty (except in profile), dignified carry, and well displayed costumes. The completion between the advocates, one for music, one for prose, and one for theatrical production to the detriment of the others is fun to watch and to listen to .
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another definitive performance. 9 April 2014
By Alfredo R. Villanueva - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Probably the world's most static opera in terms of plot and action, and the richest in erudite references to the development of opera itself as a genre. Thus, if you know your opera history, you'll enjoy the witty criticisms sprinkled all over this "conversation set to music". The music is, as usual, beyond gorgeous. The singers are all excellent,and the staging totally traditional. It is the one to have.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Splendid Ending of a Page of Music History. 4 Jun. 2011
By NYC Kern Lover - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Richard Strauss's Capriccio is in a sense the ending of three hundred years of operatic history in Europe, and this performance marks that end in a splendid manner. The work is not for everyone. It requires a rather deep knowledge of that history and how it evolved over the three centuries. But once you get to the point of appreciating what the work achieves, it rewards you gloriously throughout its length, from the chamber music introduction to the final cadential chords. Maestro Runnicles and his cast, as well as the excellent, traditional staging serve Strauss and the work so the viewer can just sit back and enjoy it.
Highest recommendation to this DVD with not a single reservation.
5.0 out of 5 stars I am a great fan of Kiri Te Kanawa and as always her ... 26 April 2016
By thyme - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I am a great fan of Kiri Te Kanawa and as always her performance in this opera is a joy to behold.
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