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Les Troyens (ROH) [Anna Caterina Antonacci, Bryan Hymel, Eva-Maria Westbroek] [Opus Arte: OA1097D] [DVD]  [NTSC]
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Les Troyens is opera at its most epic. The sheer scale of its story, music, passion, staging and performers make this one of the great Royal Opera events of the decade. Berlioz's great work is one of the most fabulously rich of all operas, a tour de force of passion in music, with extraordinarily demanding roles for the principal cast.
"David McVicar's stupendous production at the Royal Opera House would be worth seeing for Es Devlin's mighty sets and Constructivist Trojan horse alone. But Antonio Pappano's orchestra plays the ravishing score with such élan, and the singing and acting are so fine, especially Cassandra (Anna Caterina Antonacci), Dido (Eva-Maria Westbroek) and Aeneas (Bryan Hymel), that you can forgive the long, angular ballets that are like misbegotten descendants of Isadora Duncan and the Ballets Russes.
" (The Wall Street Journal)
"Pappano drew a big-gestured, brightly colored and rhapsodic performance from the Royal Opera's impressive orchestra and chorus. The Italian soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci triumphed as Cassandra (Cassandre).Her singing was lush, fervent, finely spun and noble. A lovely woman, she is a riveting actress, who achingly conveyed that Cassandra feels cursed by her prophetic powers. The Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek was a splendid Dido (Didon)." (The New York Times)
"Musically the show is top-notch, with the chorus on coruscating form, Antonio Pappano bringing out the instrumental colour with exemplary clarity, and a line-up of soloists led by three outstanding voices. Anna Caterina Antonacci incarnates prophet-of-doom Cassandra with a clear-eyed and commanding urgency. Eva-Maria Westbroek's full-toned Dido is ideally complemented by Bryan Hymel's Aeneas in their exalted duet ‘Par une telle nuit’. And when Hymel lets rip in his long wrestle with his conscience before deserting her, the ringing purity of his tone melts the heart. Other delights include Ed Lyon's exquisitely-sung Phrygian sailor, plus a succession of brilliant coups de theatre thanks to the synergy between McVicar's pageantry and Wolfgang Goebbel's lighting, which at times creates effects worthy of Gericault. A fabulous evening." (The Independent)
"Sir Antonio Pappano has the measure of this huge score, giving it with exhilaration and breathing space." (classicalsource.com)
"Sometimes it all works together extremely well, giving a result as moving as any artistic event can be. That was the case at Covent Garden in 2012 when Pappano and McVicar triumphed in Berlioz's greatest masterpiece Les Troyens.
Everyone in the cast list above is superb but especial mention must be made of Aeneas, Bryan Hymel; Dido, Eva-Maria Westbroek; Cassandra, Anna Caterina Antonacci and Anna , Hanna Hipp; simply because the scale of their roles is so large.
- Recording of the Month -" (Musicweb International)
CastAnna Caterina Antonacci (Cassandra)Eva-Maria Westbroek (Dido)Bryan Hymel (Aeneas)Fabio Capitanucci (Coroebus)Robert Lloyd (Priam)Narbal (Brindley Sherratt)Ashley Holland (Panthus)Daniel Grice (Soldier)
Orchestra & Chorus of the Royal Opera House; Antonio PappanoStage Director: David McVicar
Catalogue Number: OA1097DDate of Performance: 2012Running Time: 254 minutesAspect Ratio: 16:9 AnamorphicSubtitles: EN, FR, DE, ES, JP, KRLabel: Opus Arte
There is plenty of fire and passion. --Gramophone, Jan'14
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Top Customer Reviews
Acting and singing superb.
Fully recommended in every respect.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
By contrast to Troy's oppressive mechanization, Carthage is all salmon colored stone, Moorish arches, and diaphanous lighting. Dido's realm comes off as a bit cartoonish in comparison to Troy. While it works to portray Carthage as actually Northern African, there is still a nod to a certain Orientalism in how blankly pretty Carthage is.
Act IV is a model of economy, during which McVicar lets the action unfold--the great love duet is all the more arresting for its simplicity and lack of directorial fuss. Berlioz's ballets (a must for French opera of the period) are integrated well enough. Act V is when McVicar makes some egregious errors for my taste. The set pieces become incoherent (the ship on which the sailor sings his glorious song is all but an afterthought) and Dido's immolation is completely botched as a robot threatens to eat Carthage. This is the most disappointing of McVicar's choices. He robs Dido of the spectacle she deserves at the end of what is essentially her opera.
But when you make strong choices you get failures. And McVicar makes choices here. As is his style, everything (except the robot) is tasteful and thoughtful and sometimes quite thrilling. This production will probably the definitive TROYENS of our time and will be around for many years.