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M. J. Fuller (Edinburgh, Scotland)
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Ariadne Auf Naxos: Salzburg Festival (Harding) [Blu-ray] [2014] [Region Free]
Ariadne Auf Naxos: Salzburg Festival (Harding) [Blu-ray] [2014] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Jonas Kaufmann
Price: £11.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity, 9 Feb. 2016
In many ways, the original 1912 version of 'Ariadne auf Naxos' - in which the opera follows Hofmannsthal's version of Moliere's comedy 'Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme' - makes much more sense than the more often seen 1916 version. I was fortunate to be able to see the 1912 version in a staging at the Edinburgh Festival some years ago, and it was a revelation - coherent, daring, and often riotously funny. Sadly, that is not what is presented here. Instead, we have the director's 'take' on the Moliere, with Hofmannsthal himself introduced as a character, and lines (and, indeed, characters) borrowed from the Prologue of the 1916 version. It's leaden, humourless, and, frankly, rather dull.
Which is a waste of a very good cast. Jonas Kaufmann will doubtless be a draw for many purchasers of this DVD, and he does not disappoint. Many of the other singers here can be heard also in the DVD recording of Claus Guth's production of 'Ariadne' (the 1916 version, of course) from Zurich, and unless you really want to experience the 1912 version (or, at least, a version of that version), you're much better off with that.


Les Troyens: Metropolitan Opera (Levine) [DVD] [2007]
Les Troyens: Metropolitan Opera (Levine) [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Brian Large
Price: £14.99

2.0 out of 5 stars The Met orchestra sounds terrific (it's a great shame that an easily-pleased audience claps ..., 26 Sept. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Very much a mixed bag. The Met orchestra sounds terrific (it's a great shame that an easily-pleased audience claps over it on several occasions). A deeply dull staging, and direction that relies on the principals to 'stand and deliver': by and large the three main characters do so very pleasingly (though with a degree of over-emoting that was probably more effective from a seat in the gods than viewed in close-up), but there is little dramatic engagement from the rest of the cast, still less the chorus. Sound and (especially) picture quality are very much of their age. Anyone wanting a more visually and dramatically compelling version of this marvellous work is urged to check out the version from the Paris Chatelet (Gardiner), or - best of all - that from Covent Garden (Pappano).


Wagner: Lohengrin [Falk Struckmann, Michael König, Camilla Nylund] [Oehms: OC946]
Wagner: Lohengrin [Falk Struckmann, Michael König, Camilla Nylund] [Oehms: OC946]
Price: £38.03

5.0 out of 5 stars A great theatrical experience, 11 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As one who was there in person when this recording was made, at what was a tremendous theatrical experience, I hope that the previous reviewer would indeed have enjoyed it. It's a huge shame that Oper Frankfurt settled for an audio-only release, when a DVD would have been so much more effective. The orchestra and chorus come across very well in this recording, and the cast is generally very good - and is caught with that extra level of excitement that only a live recording can generate. There are, of course, imperfections in the singing, but better that than the mannered or over-engineered contributions to some older studio sets. Thoroughly recommended.


Franz Schreker: Der Schatzgraber
Franz Schreker: Der Schatzgraber
Price: £16.32

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars but otherwise I cannot recommend this release too highly, 11 Jan. 2015
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Congratulations to the Netherlands Opera on this release: a beautifully-played, well sung and superbly recorded account of what is probably Schreker's most approachable opera. It is a pity that there is no English translation of the libretto, but otherwise I cannot recommend this release too highly.
Is there any chance of a DVD recording of this staging?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 9, 2015 10:54 AM GMT


Wagner: Lohengrin, Metropolitan Opera (Levine) [DVD] [2006]
Wagner: Lohengrin, Metropolitan Opera (Levine) [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Peter Hofmann
Price: £18.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Desperately dull, 30 Dec. 2014
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Oh dear - what a disappointment. A desperately dull staging, and wooden performances from the cast, most of whom are bettered by singers on other recordings. The orchestral sound is lovely (although its forward presentation disfavours the singers, and the tempi are slow). If you like traditional 'stand and deliver' stagings you're better off with Werner Herzog's beautiful Bayreuth production; and if you prefer something more dramatic and engaging, with Nikolaus Lehnhoff's version from Baden-Baden or Richard Jones' from Munich.


Wagner
Wagner
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £11.64

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Having seen Vogt sing Erik, Lohengrin and Parsifal in ..., 2 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Wagner (Audio CD)
Having seen Vogt sing Erik, Lohengrin and Parsifal in the theatre I can assure listeners who are only acquainted with his voice on CD that he certainly does have the vocal apparatus to sustain these roles, and to project clearly over a large orchestra. His is not the kind of baritonal Heldentenor one often associates with these roles, to be sure; but unless you are for some reason wedded to the idea that a Wagner singer must have such a voice you will find Vogt's rendition of these roles a refreshing alternative.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 26, 2015 11:08 AM GMT


R. Strauss: Elektra Sacd
R. Strauss: Elektra Sacd
Price: £34.92

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thrilling live 'Elektra' from Amsterdam, 30 May 2013
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Having attended one of the performances on which this recording is based, I was bemused by the negative response of an earlier reviewer. Having now obtained the recording, I remain bemused. This is a technically very good recording of an intensely dramatic live experience. There are few recordings of this work in which so many orchestral nuances are so effectively realised, and the cast is about as good as one can expect today. Perhaps some of the singers do not compare to the finest exponents of their roles in the past; but Herlitzius's Elektra is the best I have heard in the theatre, and Schuster's characterful Klytemnestra is up there with the best. Most of all, the sense of a real performance in this set, unfolding dramatically and inexorably to the drama's bloody conclusion, makes studio versions of this work feel hidebound, if not artificial (e.g. Solti's overwrought reading). Only Mitropoulos' more impulsive live account bears comparison in this respect; but the sound of that version is considerably inferior to that of the present set.

What a shame there has (so far!) been no DVD release of this production, allowing its visual impact to be preserved alongside its aural one.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 26, 2015 10:58 AM GMT


R. Strauss: Ariadne auf Naxos (Vienna State Opera/Karl Bohm, 1976)
R. Strauss: Ariadne auf Naxos (Vienna State Opera/Karl Bohm, 1976)
Price: £24.69

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A normative 'Ariadne', 3 Feb. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Readers of the first review of this recording to be posted may have felt its author inclined to hyperbole. Not a bit of it. I have over 30 recordings of this wonderful opera (and have seen it `live' many times), and this version is absolutely outstanding. Böhm's conducting is inspired, constantly bringing out fresh details, and moulded lovingly to the variety of moods captured by Strauss's music. The superlative cast, most of whom have recorded their interpretations in studio versions of `Ariadne', are caught with that extra edge which only a live recording can generate; and the sound, though sometimes a bit fierce in the climaxes, isn't as `boxy' as some recordings from this venue.

The Sanjust staging has been preserved in a Deutsche Grammophon DVD with a cast almost identical to this one: unfortunately, however, the DVD soundtrack was recorded in the studio, and is very inferior to these CDs. If only the performance caught here had been filmed as well ... but we may be thankful to have two mementoes of an interpretation of `Ariadne' that must remain normative.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 13, 2012 4:33 PM GMT


Thomas Ades: In Seven Days; Conlon Nancarrow: Studies Nos. 6 & 7
Thomas Ades: In Seven Days; Conlon Nancarrow: Studies Nos. 6 & 7
Price: £15.34

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ades, In Seven Days, 18 Dec. 2011
This piece is an absolute gem. Joyful and ebullient, it makes an overwhelming impact in concert, and it's good that it has now been caught on DVD (it is definitely a piece to be seen as well as heard, thanks to Tal Rosner's captivating images). If you're new to Ades's music, don't hesitate: if you're familiar with it, this recording is self-recommending. The Nancarrow pieces and an interview with Ades and Rosner make very worthwhile fillers.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 3, 2012 7:38 PM GMT


Thomas Ades: Anthology
Thomas Ades: Anthology
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £18.73

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thomas Ades Anthology, 21 Sept. 2011
This review is from: Thomas Ades: Anthology (Audio CD)
Well done EMI for its commitment to Thomas Ades. These discs make a very satisfying survey of his work to date. The first disc includes some recent, previously-unrecorded pieces for solo piano, and these are warmly and fully recorded without the slightly recessed sound of earlier pieces on the 'Life Story' disc. Personally I'd like to have seen 'Asyla' included amongst the orchestral music on the second disc - maybe the Berlin version, currently only on DVD - but every listener is likely to have different preferences among Ades' phenomenal output, and the selection here charts his development as a composer very effectively.

I look forward to recordings of 'Court Studies', 'In Seven Days', 'Lieux Retrouves' and 'Four Quarters'!!


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