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Simon Aiken (Wales)

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Stealing Beauty [1996] [DVD]
Stealing Beauty [1996] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jeremy Irons
Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £17.81

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure cinema, 4 July 2007
This review is from: Stealing Beauty [1996] [DVD] (DVD)
Here is a film made by a man who loves cinema - and it shows. Directors and actors equally should study the climatic scene between Liv Tyler and Donal McCann.

Puccini: Tosca [DVD] [2010]
Puccini: Tosca [DVD] [2010]
Dvd ~ Daniela Dessi
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £7.49

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth buying, 5 Jun. 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Puccini: Tosca [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
While I still prefer the Domingo/Kabaivanska film version, this is well worth watching. All the principals can act. Fabio Armilato (Cavaradossi) may not be technically perfect, but his ringing tone on the `big notes' plus the conviction of his acting make for a memorable performance. Raimondi is a suitably nasty Scarpia.

I found the light levels on this recording uncomfortably low throughout, and all with a bluish cast. There are frequent problems with camera focus. These technical flaws somewhat diminish the effect of the splendid Teatro Real sets.

It's worth mentioning that there are genuine `extras' on this DVD (very unusual for an opera recording!) The interviews with cast members are a nice bonus.

Happy Campers [DVD]
Happy Campers [DVD]
Dvd ~ Brad Renfro
Price: £4.04

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why isn't this film 'known'?, 14 Oct. 2005
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Happy Campers [DVD] (DVD)
It's a scandal that this film isn't better known. The humour might be a little off-beat, but many times it's side-splittingly funny. All the lead characters are well-played, but Dominique Swain (Wendy) and Peter Stormare (Oberon - that's BIG CHIEF Oberon!) are outstanding. A very original and entertaining film, and well worth repeat viewings.

Tales Of Beatrix Potter [DVD] [1971]
Tales Of Beatrix Potter [DVD] [1971]
Dvd ~ Frederick Ashton

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical!, 5 April 2005
Pure magic! My two-year old daughter is absolutely enthralled. I confess that the 'Mouse Waltz' brings tears to my eyes, and the final picnic scene when the town mice are joined by the rather uncouth field mice will have you laughing out loud. Fabulous dancing, especially by Jeremy Fisher, Squirrel Nutkin and Johnny Townmouse, and the music itself is inspiring. Choreographed by the late great Sir Frederic Ashton, who dances the part of Mrs Tiggywinkle. A timeless classic that will delight children and adults equally.

Wagner - Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg [Levine, Heppner] [DVD] [2004] [NTSC]
Wagner - Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg [Levine, Heppner] [DVD] [2004] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Price: £18.96

92 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wagner's feel-good opera, 2 Feb. 2005
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
At last, the Met's definitive version on DVD! And once again, the Met shows us that you don't have to try to be different: just follow the composer's directions. Having seen most of the Met's operas that are available on DVD (and, fortunately, many of them at the opera house too), this one is definitely my favourite. The large cast is uniformly superb, the sets are as lavish as we've come to expect, and the constant dedication to the details is mesmerising.
Highest praise to James Morris, who is privileged to be playing the most likeable role in any Wagner opera. (The ONLY likeable role?) The security of his voice in the "big bits" is matched by sensitivity throughout - his Act II monologue is a great example. He's as fine an actor as Wagner himself could have wished to see as Hans Sachs - we love this guy! Karita Mattila actually acts the age of her character (late teens), which is a rare gift for any operatic soprano. All her scenes have a special energy. As our hero, Ben Heppner easily out-sings the Walthers of the two rival productions of Meistersinger that are available on DVD. Thomas Allen avoids the popular "caricature" of Beckmesser and perhaps brings more musicality to the part than we are used to hearing. Among the smaller roles, René Pape's contribution as a rather youthful Pogner is outstanding.
The sound quality is impeccable, and they seem to have got the lighting perfect this time. (One gripe I've had with many of the Met productions on DVD is the murky lighting.) The production also benefits immensely from detailed camera work - no where more so than in the lengthy song school scene in Act I, where we seem to be treated to characterisations of all twelve Masters.
I assume that Maestro Levine likes this opera - we actually see him singing along to the music during the prelude! His tempi are traditionally, as befits this production, with the exception of a rather brisk "Entry of the Masters" in Act III; instead of a self-consciously pompous procession we have the Masters hurrying on to the stage one-by-one in undisguised glee. (Sachs picking up the small girl as he enters is a particularly lovely touch.)
The one drawback to this production? From now on, I'm going to find it hard to take James Morris seriously as Wotan... For a modest price you get almost 5 hours of glorious opera. Buy this recording, watch it, and feel good about the world!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 19, 2014 1:46 PM GMT

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