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Rameau - Les Boréades / Robert Carsen, La La La Human Steps, Les Arts Florissants, William Christie, Opéra National de Paris [DVD] [2010]

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Barbara Bonney, Anna Maria Panzarella, Jaël Azzaretti, Paul Agnew, Toby Spence
  • Format: Anamorphic, Classical, Colour, Dolby, DVD-Video, PAL, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Opus Arte
  • DVD Release Date: 20 Jun. 2004
  • Run Time: 218 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001Z65PI
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 110,058 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Director Robert Carsen and his creative team flood the stage with summer blossoms, drifts of autumn leaves, winter snows and thunderous spring storms. The cast of 140 are attired in elegant costumes inspired by late 1940s Dior. This mythical tale of a young queen, Alphise, determined to abdicate rather than contemplate an enforced marriage to a descendant of Boreas, is nothing less than highly-charged.

Press Reviews

"It's possible to recreate everything about an eighteenth century opera except the audience,’ says director Robert Carsen in a documentary included with this DVD. ‘My work is for modern audiences.’ And how...In this brilliant production, Carsen goes to the heart of the drama...Michael Levine's stylised, bold designs allow the story to unfold with gripping clarity and, remarkably, some of the spectacular set-pieces (especially the storm in Act III) work even better on DVD than in the theatre itself. Barbara Bonney is vocally and dramatically stunning as Alphise…Conductor William Christie responds to Rameau's varied and colourful score with élan, and Édouard Lock's choreography – a version of classical ballet deconstructed and then pumped with amphetamines – is breathtaking." (Classic fM - DVD Best Buy)
"The cast...is excellent...The hero of the occasion is the conductor. Once again William Christie justifies the florid metaphors he used when naming Les Arts Florissants.
"
(The New Statesman)
"The cast...is excellent...The hero of the occasion is the conductor. Once again William Christie justifies the florid metaphors he used when naming Les Arts Florissants
"
(New Statesman)
Cast
Barbara Bonney (Alphise)
Paul Agnew (Abaris)
Laurent Naouri (Boree)
Stéphane Degout (Borilée)
Nicolas Rivenq (Adamas)
Les Arts Florissants; William Christie

Stage Director: Robert Carsen
Catalogue Number: OA0899D
Running Time: 218 minutes
Sound: Dolby Surround; Dolby Stereo
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Anamorphic
Subtitles: EN, FR, DE, ES
Label: Opus Arte

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Les Boreades tells the story of Alphise, Queen of Bactria (Barbra Bonney)who is in love with Abaris (Paul Agnew), who's orgins are unknown. However, according to the rules of her country she may only marry a Boread, one of the descendants of Boreas (Laurent Naouri), the god of the North Wind. Alphise abdicates, angering her suitors, Calisis (Toby Spence) and Borilee (Stephane Degout), sons of Boreas,who storm into the wedding and abducts Alphise to their kingdom.

With the help of the magic golden arrow given to him by Eros, Abaris sets off to rescue her. He challenges Boreas and his sons with the golden arrow. Apollo(Nicolas Rivenq) descends and reveals that Abaris is really his son by a Boread nymph.

Although the story line is a little ridiculous, the composition of this opera has some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard and the production itself is enthralling to watch. Rameau's stunning music blends drama, emotion and passion wonderfully, both in the orchestral work and the singing, creating an outstanding effect.

Toby Spence and Stephane Degout were brilliant as the foolish and cruel princes. Spence's (one of my favorite Tenor's) rendition of "Jouissons de nos beaux ans" was perfect, with excellent pitch and great control of this difficult aria.

Barbara Bonney is wonderful in this role, her fiery performance of the aria "Un horizon serein" was fantastic. Her voice is very skillfull and although she does not exclusively specialize in Baroque opera, she adjusted her voice brilliantly, sounding splendid.

However the one that stole the show for me was Paul Agnew as Abaris. His voice created sounds of effortless beauty, with a subtle and delicate tone, which made him stand out from the rest of the singers.

Accompanied by the ballet company La La Human Steps,this production is a great interpretation of Rameau's beautiful baroque opera and definitely worth purchasing.
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Format: DVD
That's what the DVD supplement on the second disc is called, and those are exactly the words to sum up Rameau's miraculous last opera and its equally miraculous realisation by William Christie and Robert Carsen. No tasteless contemporary exaggerations; no twee camping up a past this opera never knew, because its first performance only took place in the twentieth century. No matter how improbable the story may seem, this staging, this conducting make it psychologically real, immediate, terrifying and finally sublime. The singers are beyond praise; the dancers are an enchantment; the musicians need no comment - they're Christie and Co. And I'll never see an umbrella again without thinking of this opera, and especially of Boreas/Naouri in the opera's last moment!
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The staging, which includes, amongst other venues, a flower meadow, is very effective in this brilliant production of Rameau's Les Boreades and I liked the sensible costumes, which give the impression of having been designed not to detract from either the acting or the inspiring music. There's nothing quite so ridiculous as actors clad in kitsch costumes pertaining to depict how the ancient Greeks were supposed to have dressed. In these cases it's much better to opt for a closer to modern day form of costumes.

It was a brilliant idea to engage the La La La Human Steps dancers who admirably enacted how the wind blows in its less dangerous forms from zephyrs to strong breezes. As I watched them dance I thought to myself how cleverly they were interpreting precisely how I've so often felt the breezes blowing and how they would increase and decrease through time. The way in which the choreography blended in with the music, singing and acting could not have been better achieved.

I simply loved to bits all the music and singing. The chemistry between Barbara Bonney as Alphise and Paul Agnew as Aharis was electrifying and, wow, can they sing! No one could have performed better. The rest of the cast were equally good in their roles, all of them performing just like winds do. For me, this opera is all about the personification of wind and the North Wind, or Borealis, in particular. Having been brought up in a very rural environment I've always been acutely aware of the importance of both wind direction and wind force and Rameau has cleverly interpreted all this into music, dancing and singing.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
We've been treated to some stupendous productions on DVD of Rameau opéras-ballets in recent years, not least by William Christie and his Arts Florissants (Les Indes Gallantes, Les Paladins). This version of Les Boréades looked too good to miss, with old favourites in this repertoire like Agnew and Naouri performing alongside well-known names like Bonney and Spence. I found much to admire in the rather dark staging and the effective use of 1940's costumes (though that won't be to everyone's taste) but I was disappointed by two things. First, Bonney's French diction simply didn't sound French (maybe that's just my ignorance of the language). Second, much more importantly, the La La La Human Steps choreography was hopelessly distracting. The dancers gyrated and jerked as though on amphetamines, and merely served to detract from the overall effect. None of it seemed to have anything to do with any conception of baroque style, especially when compared with the magnificent choreography in the other two DVDs (Li for Les Indes Gallantes, Montalvo/Hervieu for Les Paladins) or indeed Scozzi's choreography for Minkowski's Platée. And this is bad news when you consider that Rameau is as much 'ballet' as 'opéra'.
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