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Satish Kamath (India)

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Verdi - Aida  [DVD] [2004]
Verdi - Aida [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Ernst Marzendorfer
Price: £24.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mixed fare, 8 Sept. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Verdi - Aida [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
They have spared nothing insofar as the sets, costumes and such are concerned. In fact, caricaturisation or not, the effect is good.
The video has been shot very well, is clear and crisp and does at no point of time show any lack of detail. Excellent, I would say. Kudos to the cameramen and production people.
The voices, although not well known, are quite adequate for the roles and I could detect very few hiccups.

Why then, just two stars?

To begin with, bad sound engineering. These guys may be good recording in halls, but I think they have a lot to learn while recording and post production for the open air. The orchestra sounds detached or too thin in the soft passages and overpowering the voices in the loud ones. A sense of balance in the treatment of brasses is quite evident too. I am sure it was just great when people were watching it live, but in the DVD, it flops miserably.

The ballet... less said about it the better. It is just next to pathetic, both choreography as well as dancing. The costumes in the Triumphant march ballet is more ideally suited to the Eurotrash that we see sometimes in the so called minimal modernistic productions. The dancers are dressed like they are going to do a BDSM right after the event. Actually they kind of do it to a 'beautiful' boy/man who is just as confused and lost as the dancers are. He is sacrificed anyway at the end of the dance.
The dance director was confused as to whether he should introduce Egyptian motifs (which he does not) or European (which again he does not). It is a kind of fusion between Greek, French and Broadway at various times. The result is an unattractive hotchpotch.
I would any day sit back and see a production of this on the DVD from say, the Met or La Scala. At least those fellers know from experience how to record a piece and definitely have better directors and choreographers.
Unfortunately, it is rather harsh on the singers, all of them, who did a neat job. A lot of money spent is all I can infer. Wonder who the funders were...

Rimsky-Korsakov: Le Coq D'or [DVD]
Rimsky-Korsakov: Le Coq D'or [DVD]
Dvd ~ Marinsky Theatre Chorus

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rimsky-Korsakov's Golden Cock.... SOLID GOLD...., 7 Sept. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)

I have been familiar with the orchestral excerpts, suite and arrangements of this Opera for quite a long time. If you too are, then falling in love with this production should be almost has been my case.

This rendition is superb in every sense of the word. Being a fairy tale capable of being conjured up in any culture, it can be adapted to any style, and the Kabuki type adaptation suits it just fine, as would probably a superbly adapted African/Indian/South American Tribal/Artistic adaptation would... The concept, staging and rendition is just superb to say the least.

The singers are fantastic, and the costumes just out of this world....

All I can say, is BUY IT.... You are sure to enjoy it ... as I have....

Mozart: Cosi Fan Tutte [DVD] [2010]
Mozart: Cosi Fan Tutte [DVD] [2010]
Dvd ~ Topi Lehtipuu
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £23.63

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fellow Reviewers - THANKS A TON, 5 Sept. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have been familiar with Cosi ever since I can remember. From an aria or two on my dad's 78RPM records to the beautiful Otto Klemperer recording on vinyl and later on to many VHS tapes and then the Gardiner version, although good, started appearing a little jaded thanks to average acting and dramatization.
So when I felt I should have a fresh new DVD (sans Eurotrash), I thought I would look up the views of the reviewing proletariat - and thought I would risk buying this one.
THANKS GUYS.... Whatever you have stated in all the previous 10 reviews to this is almost absolutely correct. This is the nearest thing that is akin to an un-putdownable book that I have seen. So fresh, vibrant in acting and absolutely precise sublime singing and interpretation. I think I will measure any other Cosi by the standard of this one.
Not just period costumes, but sets that are minimal, but bright and not jungle-jims or abstract pillars and stuff that do not distract, but bring out the essence of the interpretation. I am also overjoyed that it has been performed by artistes thus far not known to me... maybe they are doing well these days, must look that up now.
Just that I do not agree with one reviewer here who stated that the third set of Despina and the Don are not up to the mark.. Yes. Despina here is no Lucia Popp but is quite adequate for the role, and if Don had been more powerful, may have killed the character. I think he is just right for the role too...
I would unhesitatingly recommend this DVD to anyone irrespective of whether it is the first ever DVD of Cosi or even if one has all the other recordings of it.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 21, 2011 5:04 PM BST

Wagner - Tristan and Isolde (Friedrich) [DVD] [2002]
Wagner - Tristan and Isolde (Friedrich) [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Friedrich

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little limp in parts, 2 Sept. 2010
Gwyneth Jones in the Twilight of her career is just not up to Isolde...maybe 10 years before this recording, she may have been quite great both vocally as well as (...ahem....) visually. Her voice just couldn't at the time of recording this, have the kind of power the role demands and had once, although the dedication and emotions are intact.
Kollo is simply great, and I am sure there is no argument on that. The rest of the cast are quite good although as someone suggested somewhere, the role of Brangane could have been allotted to a soprano. Even so, Schwartz does a good job of the role.
What I generally dislike is the sense of balance in the recording. I have heard this one now on two or three sound systems of good quality.
The work as such, is considered generally as more dependent on the interpretation and the power of the orchestral score and how it is brought out. I am sure that in the opera house it must have sounded just gorgeous, but on the recording, it sort of automatically recedes to deep background when the singers are doing their bit. This is more so in the Act 2. Not that the orchestra should overpower the singers, but the balance is just not right. This is very evident when the orchestra plays by itself... It sounds just fantastic as Wagner should.
The overall quality though, is quite passable. I am glad it is in widescreen.

Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro [DVD] [1996]
Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro [DVD] [1996]
Dvd ~ Malin Hartelius, Erwin Schrott, Michael Volle / Chor und Orchester der Oper Zürich, Franz Welser-Möst Martina Janková
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £9.65

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual, but Good, 27 Aug. 2010
Yes. A perfect countess in Malin Hartelius. Bravo Malin. Comparable with the best.
Figaro (Schrott) and Susanna (Jankova) are simply marvelous too. Excellent rendition and equally good acting and interpretation of the characters.
The Count (Volle) is quite up to the mark, although I wish he was not(forced by the director?) made to act like more of a comic than his position or role in the opera would suggest. Sure Mozart in his age would never have dared portray him as a two bit magician and a bit daft. A little tiresome on stage at times, but singing? Excellent.
I cant say I was too impressed with Cherubino (Judit Schmid) who seems to become suddenly inaudible in tiny patches in her most vaunted numbers. Maybe the Fredrika Stade renditions have made Cherubino's part the one to compare the others with, and by that standard, Schmid is not up there.
Marcellina, Bartolo, Basilio and Barbarina were average but fitted in quite well with the rest on the stage.
Welser-Most has done a decent job with the orchestra and so have the post production people... Clear Print with an aspect ratio of 16:9 please note.

The disappointment for me was the 4th act, where the staging is quite clumsy, and a dose of what borders on slapstick has been exaggerated... may look good on stage for a performance, but on a DVD could get pretty tiresome when watched over and over. The one star I have deducted was for this.

Hansel And Gretel: Wiener Philharmoniker (Solti) [DVD] [2006]
Hansel And Gretel: Wiener Philharmoniker (Solti) [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Edita Gruberova
Price: £19.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flies in the Ointment, 12 Aug. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This production of Hansel and Gretel is actually the best there is, EXCEPT FOR ONE THING.... Those pesky kids that appear from time to time - supposed to be in the audience, but one can easily make out that they are all hamming it. Had it not been for their presence intermittently, I would have given this 7 stars if I could have, let alone 5. This is probably the only instance in my whole life that I even thought about infanticide even fleetingly. Wonder who finds those intrusions "charming"....
Like someone else also commented, it is like throwing a bucket of cold water on your face from time to time when the going really gets good and dreamy.

Borodin: Prince Igor - The Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg [DVD] [2002] [NTSC]
Borodin: Prince Igor - The Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg [DVD] [2002] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Putilin
Price: £14.99

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy It, 28 Jun. 2010
There were some horrible reviews in the US edition of Amazon that put off my decision to go in for this one. Thank god many of the armchair critics like me are wrong many a time. People have criticized this production for stuff like 'old sets', costumes and even the way some characters, especially the Khan, has been portrayed. I find the costumes and make-up quite adequate and authentic, if one were to see the pics of these in various encyclopedias and so on. I wonder if that critic has seen a period caricature of Kublai Khan or even Gengiz Khan. They have both such mustaches as well as earrings.

Anyone who knows the more popular Polovtzian Dances and the lesser known but fabulous overture composed by Glazunov incorporating many themes from this opera, can enjoy it without any problems.

One of the people who wrote here has problems with the dancers. I know that Kirov (Actually Mariyinksky) could and would do much better if the dances were performed separately for a DVD on ballet or on stage. But here, the rustic and crude nature of the Polovtzis is maintained well by lack of mechanical precision and one can see the dancers having a good time and so did I.

This production has some of the best singers, dancers and a great conductor. It has been shot quite well, and is never found wanting in its sound track. What more does one want in an Opera DVD?

La Bayadere [DVD]
La Bayadere [DVD]
Dvd ~ Altyani Asylmuratova
Offered by babsbargains *Domestic, EU & International Shipping*
Price: £24.99

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Collectors Item, 24 May 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: La Bayadere [DVD] (DVD)
Asylmuratova, Bussel, Muhammadov and Dowel.... No need to comment on or further glorify these dancers through this review.... As expected, these dancing deities do their job as expected of them - divine.
So why just 4 stars?
Well, there is no ballet without a good score and rendition. I have great respect for Lanchberry for his other arrangements and conducting, but in this one, I think he kinda screwed up just a bit. A bit too brassy at times, and I am afraid they go out of control in some places, and the OOM-PAH of the Tubas and other Base brass Instruments are sometimes a little overwhelming. I think the post production sound editing too did not come through too good. The balance between the brasses and the rest of the orchestra is found terribly wanting at times.
The orchestra too, was a bit off colour, with the woodwinds sounding a little brittle at times, and the strings 'tired' in spite of the high treble equalization. Lesser said about the solo violinist, the better. He somehow managed to squeak through his passages. As someone mentioned in a review, why could the original score not be used?

I would any day go for the Paris National Ballet rendition. For one, the music is much better played and recorded. The costumes are far more authentic (in the sense they are far more 'Indian' than caricatures like the ones used here), and so also many little details like even the hairstyles are far better attended to. The only exception is the Rajah who, in this edition, is just fine in those aspects. In the Paris edition, Guerin is simply fantastic and the clarity of the picture (recorded much later than this one) enhances the DVD experience exponentially.
This is more of a collector's item for those who like me, literally worship Asylmuratova and the rest of the main cast.

Gavrilin/Maximova/Vasiliev - Anyuta Ballet (Bolshoi Ballet) [1982] [DVD]
Gavrilin/Maximova/Vasiliev - Anyuta Ballet (Bolshoi Ballet) [1982] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Gavrilin
Price: £15.74

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Marble Statue with a Wooden Head, 18 May 2010
I bought this DVD ONLY because Katya was dancing. She did not disappoint and neither did the others - the video was great in spite of its age and that of Katya when she danced this.

What is absolutely disappointing is the Music. Except for some pleasant passages in the beginning and here and there, much of it just boils down to sheer cacophony. I could have shot Gavrilin at the Ball scene. Having a declared distaste for the obtuse and the 12 tone, Gavrilin invents new techniques of jarring one's ears all in the name of 'modernity' of then, which kills the work in places that affects the whole ballet.
However brilliant the dancers are, they are dancing to music. And when music degenerates into noise that means nothing, the whole exercise becomes a drivel. Just remember, that what is danced as showpieces out of this ballet are the ones where music is actually quite pleasant. None of the great ballets would have achieved their greatness from Delibes to Stravinsky if not for the consistent beautiful score however brilliant the dancing may be.
Mark my words, this ballet as such will be forgotten thanks to the instability of the musical score, but a few pieces like the pas de deux and the opening theme may be danced as show-pieces all by themselves.
My three stars have been arrived at as thus : 5 to the dancers 1 to the music - average of, which is 3
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 17, 2013 7:33 PM BST

Bolshoi 67 [DVD] [1967] [NTSC]
Bolshoi 67 [DVD] [1967] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Bolshoi Ballet

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old Gold, 20 April 2010
When reviewing this DVD, one has to note the fact that this was a creation of the 1960s. Given the era and the exposure of the Soviet Union to tastes outside its own world, this is a balanced and worthwhile production, if compared with the other Sovietski stuff that used to make the rounds those days.
Being in a third world country, we were pounded by propaganda both from the USIS as well as the Russian Culture Centers apart from British Councils and Alliance Francaise, and this movie came in as a breath of fresh air. Not that the USIS and the BBC productions were so great either.
Apart from the edited full length ballets from Bolshoi et al that were shown in regular movie theaters, I guess this one stood out - revealing a lot about ballet to those who were just about getting initiated into the art. Thankfully, ballet music was available in plenty on vinyl, so understanding the dances was not a problem.
The Soviets had to package stuff that would be dazzling and easily comprehensible to people in other countries like ours, and this movie did its job quite brilliantly.
YES, in comparison with some of the productions (post 1980) of Soviet ballet, this one pales a bit. However, we get to see gems like Maximova and the three small clips from Don Quixote, Giselle etc.... which honestly stand out even today as showpieces compared to the modern ballerinas.
In deference to one of the reviewers elsewhere who has lauded a version of Bolero by Plisetskaya (Bejart's), I would any day watch this one, however tacky it may be. The so called fantastic version by Bejart is nothing but an extension of rhythmic gymnastics that is passed off as 'modern'. I honestly think the one on this DVD will be far more appreciated even at the cost of one's tastes being dubbed as 'pedestrian'for quite some time to come.
For a film that was shot in or around 1966-67, the copy is very clear although the sound is perhaps a little over-processed and shrieky; far better than some of the 1980s productions that are doing the rounds without a shred of reprocessing of the picture quality that one can do easily today.
I would recommend this one to just about any lover of ballet, even as a collector's item.

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