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Profile for Holly McEdwards > Reviews

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Holly McEdwards (London)

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Barbara Bonney Sings Mozart
Barbara Bonney Sings Mozart
Price: £33.66

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Can't be faulted for vocal quality, but..., 27 Jun. 2007
There's no passion in Bonney's voice, especially in Mozart. It's ironic, really, that she talks so much in interviews about how it's essential to act through the voice in Mozart, and yet in practice this is the one area in which she fails. The quality of the voice itself is stunning - light, silvery, effortlessly beautiful. But there's not one drop of emotion in her singing, and that's what Mozart opera is all about - emotion. It's a shame, really, because I adore lighter voices for Mozart - larger voices are often too heavy and generally don't have the dramatic flexibility that lighter voices have. Mozart needs to be acted as well as sung, however, and no amount of pure vocal beauty will make up for that. My advice would be to go and buy Magdalena Kozena's or Bryn Terfel's all Mozart albums instead - not only do they have superb voices, but they're marvellous actors too. Bonney's interpretation just doesn't cut it for me, no matter how lovely her voice is, and the orchestral playing on this CD in general is pretty lifeless.

Addams Family Values [1993] [DVD]
Addams Family Values [1993] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Anjelica Huston
Price: £5.69

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even better than the first!, 12 Jun. 2007
I must have watched this film hundreds of times, and yet it never, ever grows old. Every character is just spot on. Anjelica Huston is perfect as Morticia - sexy, vampish, with a perfectly calm, silky voice that manages to extract every last drop of comedy from even the most simple lines. Chrisina Ricci as Wednesday could give masterclasses on deadpan wit. Jimmy Workman is fabulously, idioticly naive as Pugsley (I challenge anyone to watch him dressed up as a Thanksgiving turkey singing 'Eat me' without killing themselves laughing). Christopher Llloyd is a wonderfully grotesque Uncle Fester that you can't help feeling painfully sorry for. But the star of the show for me has to be Raul Julia. His Gomez is lusty, suave, sophisticated, with an underlying child-like enthusiasm. His pride in his kids is actually really touching, and the chemistry between him and Huston is electrifying. His monologues have me screaming with laughter (My favourite being his speech at the police station - 'I DEMAND JUSTICE! SOMEONE HAS MARRIED MY BROTHER! She took him to Hawaii! They have moved to a large, expensive home, where they make love CONSTANTLY!')

I cannot stress the brilliance of this film. It beats every other version of the Addams family hands down, including the prequel to this particular re-make (which I also recommend, just because most of the actors are the same). But it now, if you haven't already. If it doesn't at least raise a smile from you then you are a cold, if not dead, fish.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 8, 2012 12:55 AM BST

Mozart - The Marriage of Figaro [Opera in English]
Mozart - The Marriage of Figaro [Opera in English]
Price: £18.97

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 27 Aug. 2006
It does take a while to get used to the English singing, but it also really helps to get the jokes across. I was splitting my sides when I first listened to it, there are some real gems in this translation (A prime example being in the middle of Susanna and Marcellina's duet as they exchange insults: 'Your quality/ Your quantity').

The conducting is wonderful, always taken at a brilliant pace by that great Mozartian David Parry. The cast are spot on, the only real exception being Yvonne Kenny's Countess (a good voice, just a bit too much vibrato here). I especially love Christopher Purves' Figaro, William Dazeley's Count, Jonathan Veira's Bartolo, John Graham Hall's Basilio and Sarah Tynan's Barbarina. Purves is perfect in his role; so characterful that you warm to him as soon as he opens his mouth. Dazeley is perfectly aristocratic and strikes the right balance between hero and villain. Veira is, as always, a joy to listen to, bringing the character of Bartolo to life as the pompous old man he is. John Graham-Hall is one of my favourite singers; he's so good at acting through his singing you can see the character clearly in your mind. And Tynan is going to be a huge star; I can see it. A voice as clear as a bell, and a good actress to boot, it's no suprise she's been picked by ENO to sing Susanna in their version of this opera in a few months.

This CD is more like a performance than a disc. You can see everything that's going on clearly in your mind. It's fabulous. It's important to me that singers can act as well as sing, and these people can do both, and it shows through this recording.

Bizet: Carmen [DVD]
Bizet: Carmen [DVD]
Dvd ~ David McVicar
Offered by chasewater
Price: £14.00

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Go on, buy it, you know you wanna!, 22 Aug. 2006
This review is from: Bizet: Carmen [DVD] (DVD)
I was already a fan of David McVicar's when I brought this, having seen his Guilio Cesare and Nozze di Figaro, and he didn't dissapoint with this offering. I hadn't seen Carmen when I first saw this (I know, that's shameful) but now it's one of my favourite works.

Anne Sofie von Otter dominates the production as Carmen; she sings brilliantly, and she brings a raw, rough sexuality to the character (typified by her sniffing her own armpit at one point). Lisa Milne brings such sweetness to the role of Michaela, that I thought I was going to cry for her at one point. The Toreador is equally fine, but I found the Don Jose to be a weak link in the chain - he just seemed to be mildly irritated when he was ment to be driven to distraction by Carmen. BUT... that really really doesn't matter at all. The musical performance is superb (although I really wanted to hit the conductor because of his pretentious and over-the-top dancing on the podium) and the sets and costumes are brilliant, with shades of red and black being used to really give a sense of stiffling heat and sexuality.

I have one warning, however. Once you've seen von Otter as Carmen, no one else will ever compare. I know as I've seen many other Carmens since I first watched this one, and no one else matches up. You have been warned.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 30, 2009 11:11 PM BST

Pride & Prejudice - 2005 [DVD]
Pride & Prejudice - 2005 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Keira Knightley
Price: £2.74

5 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Austen, actually, 7 May 2006
I've never understood why Jane Austen's books inspire such great films. I don't think she's that great a writer, having read Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Emma. Her books seem to lack emotional depth. But they always form the basis of great films, and I'm not sure why. I'm sure I've made a few enemies with what I've just said, but there you are.

I first saw this film before I had read the book. I was so amazed by it that when I returned home I read the book and watched my friend's DVD of the BBC version. I have to say that neither the novel or the BBC version compare to this film. It's much less stodgy that the television version, and more emotional than the book. Not only this but it's visually stunning. The use of landscape is particularly effective. The director hasn't made the mistake of creating a film based on froth and lace. Elizabeth's dresses are muddy at the hems, and the Bennet's lack of fortune is evident by where they live and their simple clothing. They also don't assume that you know the story; the character development was so good I knew who was who and what their motives were without ever having read the book.

The acting is, in my opinion at least, spot on. Keira Knightly proves she is more than just a pretty face with a splendid performance as Elizabeth. She only looks about twenty, but is assured in herself and her intelligence is admirable. Matthew Macfayden is a gorgeous Mr Darcy, upstaging even Colin Firth. He seems to be a painful mixture of aloofness and crippling shyness. The chemistry between Elizabeth and Darcey is electrifying. All of the Bennet sisters perform exeptionally, and the young actress who plays Lydia gives a magnificently irritating performance. The only qualm I would have is that the actress playing Mary is a litle too pretty for the role. The person who plays Mr Collins deserves to be knighted for his services to comedy, ahd he performance by Donald Sutherland made me laugh throughou the film, but cry at the end.

All this is immaterial anyway, as the film's genius speks for itself. Just ignore the BBC version and don't try to compare the two: The film stands alone as a brilliant piece of cinema. However, there is no 'Lake/Wet Shirt' scene. This is, obviously, a fatal flaw in the film.

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