on 24 November 2005
I was a late starter listening to the works of Queen. After buying this album on vinyl about eighteen years ago, I fell in love with the amazing studio work. When I finally bought it on C.D. a few years later I thought it couldn't get any better. This new, re-mastered edition has really cleaned up the old recording with quite staggering results. Needless to say that the 5.1 surround sound DVD is just the most amazing thing I think I've ever heard.
The Queen fans of the world will, I'm sure, need no convincing. Those of you who had the album way back when should really give this all new edition a whirl. If you've never heard the album before, give it a listen.
The earlier recordings of Queen were really something quite special. They knew just how to push the recording equipment and technology available at the time to the limits and produced some of the most stunning vocals available even to this day. Remember that all of the wizardry available now was virtually non existent in the 70's and what you hear in the early Queen recordings is the result of pure talent and very hard work.
I loved this album before and I really love it now.
on 23 October 2002
I already have four copies of this album in various formats but I just had to experience it in 5.1 Surround Sound DTS. I was not dissapointed, and neither will you be when you hear the new mix presented here. This album was recorded over 25 years ago but it's almost as though they knew that technology would one day be available to allow the listener to experience the music as they had originally intended. While this album sounds great in normal stereo the new multi channel mix makes an old album sound like new, and listening to it again is almost like hearing it for the first time.
Queen fans will know how meticulous Queen were with their studio recordings, with layer after layer of sound being added to create a depth and sound like no other band at the time. Two channel stereo can disguise some of this hard work as the speakers struggle to seperate out all that is going on at any one time. This new mix solves this problem by splitting the sound and sending each vocal or instrument through a seperate speaker where appropriate, giving unbelievable clarity particularly to such an old recording.
There are parts of this album, which many like me will know note for note, word for word, from beginning to end, which suddenly show you something new, something you haven't heard before. But of course you have - it's just that sometimes the sound has been buried so deep that it doesn't stand out until it is seperated and sent to you via a particular speaker.
Every song sounds great and has something new to offer to new and old listeners alike, although some tracks are particularly noteworthy. The Prophets Song is the standout track for me, with the multi-layered vocal completely immersing you in surround sound. I'm in Love With My Car and '39 also offer a completely new experience with the clarity offering new sounds previously buried.
In addition to the sound quality the whole DVD Audio experience has a lot to offer. The lyrics to the tracks appear on screen as you listen, even changing page at exactly the right time, offering those with Kareoke tendancies a barrel of fun. Also included is the video to Bohemian Rhapsody, the forefather to all pop videos.
My only criticism is on two points. The first may be the limitations of my DVD Video player, which is the Sony DAVS500. The whole album sounded great, but the odd track was very heavy on the 'bass', and my system does not allow me to adjust the bass or treble. Perhaps this would not be a problem on a DVD Audio player. Secondly, the scope for additional features to be included on a DVD Audio disc are immense, with a normal album only taking up half (if not less) of the space available. This album offers little additional content other than the video. I guess this expectation of extra features comes from being fed a diet of massive extras on DVD movies these days. (How about an audio commentary from Brian May (he likes to talk a lot), explaining the recording processes used and some anecdotes about studio sessions and radio reactions at the time).
On balance though the small niggles are that - small, and the benefits offered by the new mix make this an essential item for any music fan who has a DVD Audio player or home cinema system.
I have been wondering where music will go from the standard CD format. The jump from Vinly and Tape to CD was a big one that offered huge benefits in quality and durability, so the next jump must also offer something big, not just a tweak of an existing format, such as minidisc. I wondered if the future was MP3, but while this has many benefits, I can't see the industry as a whole supporting it due to copyright issues. I now believe that I have found the next 'format jump' - DVD Audio. Old albums can be remixed to sound like new, and new albums could be recorded with the six channels of sound in mind.
I look forward to owning more albums on this format and hope that the powers that be will soon add to the current limited list of available titles.
on 9 October 2002
I grew up with Queen from the age of 7 years, after first hearing 'The Seven Seas Of Rhye' on the radio one Sunday afternoon whilst helping my Dad wash his car. From then on, I ate, drank, slept and breathed their studio output and live performances until every aspect of their music became etched upon my memory. If you said I was obsessed with this band then you'd be right on the nail!
I'm 35 now, my tastes have changed a little but I still hold Queen in very high regard. The are without doubt, one of the most pioneering bands ever. Their live shows had to be seen (and heard) to be be believed. My two young daughters are now hooked, as I was all those years ago. This is a nice thing to see in the 'Pop Idol' age we now live in.
The prospect of hearing Night At The Opera again from a new listening perspective was an exciting one. After all, this new DVD-Audio release of NATO was re-constructed by Brian May and the album's original producer, Roy Thomas Baker. I have to say, I wasn't disappointed one little bit.
Two of the stand-out tracks on the album are obviously 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and 'The Prophet Song'. With their multi-layered vocals and guitars, they were almost made for surround sound and I couldn't help selecting them first before listening to the rest of the album. Although extremely impressive (you can imagine how the middle section of 'The Prophet Song' takes you to another place!), it's also surprising how many of the other tracks blossom in their new surroundings.
'Love Of My Life' is particularly stunning as the harp and vocals literally wash over you, filling the room with a warm glow. I remember being devastated when Freddie passed away, almost as though a large chunk of my childhood had been annihilated. Hearing him on this release is almost like having him back again, only this time, he's actually recording the vocals live in your living room! Every nuance and characterization of his voice can be heard quite clearly, as it was meant to be. This is perhaps, for me, is the crowning glory of the album. It's testament indeed to Freddie's highly unique voice and vocal delivery.
'Good Company' is another number that shines brightly on the DVD-A release. Amazingly, Brain May recorded all of the 'wind instruments' on this track with guitars, one note at a time! Well, all his hard work is now showcased brilliantly in this format, as the different 'instruments' attack your senses from all corners of the room. As you can well imagine, 'Seaside Rendevous' and 'Lazing On A Sunday' are similarly wonderful in their delivery, especially the special authentic brass and vocal effects that are peppered throughout the tracks. '39' takes on a whole new meaning too, sounding extremely lush and giving the acoustic guitars great separation and a sense of space.
Before closing, I must add that I listened to the album on a standard DVD player in 5.1 sound, not a dedicated DVD-Audio player. Now that would be a trip. If you're a Queen fan with a surround sound set-up, why are you still reading this review when you should be hitting the 1-Click button? This release is a "must-have" for you.
As Freddie would have no doubt exclaimed; Magnifico Dears!
on 23 December 2005
The work that has been put into this production (especially the DVD with surround sound) is astounding. The clips are not old promos that have all been seen before but an interesting patchwork of live Queen footage and vintage films that add a splash of humour, particularly during Seaside Rendezvous and Good Company. The way the footage has been synch-ed with the studio sound is mind blowing. It must have taken months!
You will NOT appreciate the splendour of this release unless you have your surround sound set up properly! If you have, be prepared for a real treat. You will hear this legendary album from a totally different perspective and appreciate just how Queen worked their magic in the studio. By the way, this release is far superior to the surround track on the DVD-Audio.
All in all a fantastic celebration and a fitting tribute to one of the most innovative rock albums of all time. A true work of art!
on 23 April 2006
This is a wonderful addition to the excellent "Classic Albums" collection. This was truly a ground breaking album in late 1975 and is broken down on this DVD in order of the original track listing. I am consistently pleased with the quality of sound and video of the "Classic Album" DVD's (this being my 4th; the others: Pink Floyd, Deep Purple & Stevie Wonder). This, like the others brings back key individuals that helped to make the album a success and a notch above others (i.e.: original engineers, music critics, fellow musicians and DJ's). They describe how no synthesizers were used for their sound. Multi-tracking, piano flourishes, a harp, a ukulele, and multi-layered guitars all combine for a great and unique sound.
A few highlights:
* A frustrated Freddie Mercury taking out his aggressions lyrically on their previous management in the opening song "Death on Two Legs". They had been taken advantage of financially previous to this album.
* A tale of the very shy bassist John Deacon who contributed very few songs in his career but they were critical and outstanding ones to the group. Brian and Roger tell of how he sheepishly introduces "You're My Best Friend" to them and Freddie. Of course they loved it and Freddie making it a classic vocal with John on keyboards.
* "'39". A "great" Brian May song that he revisits in great detail and sings in a new full acoustic version and in some original archived footage. This has always been one of my favorite songs by anyone but never realized it was about space travel. Now I know why it has some similarities to the Moody Blues "To Our Children's Children's Children" album also about space travel a few years earlier in 1970.
* "Love of My Life". Also one of my personal favorites and an incredibly beautiful song. This was a song Freddie had written about a "woman" he loved which it also explains in pictures. Not only is there some great footage on this but also some great bonus footage of him (appears to be at Wembley where he sings acoustically to a few 100 thousand people. What an incredible performance and performer! A MUST SEE! Also a touching new acoustic version by Brian on this track too.
* In depth details on "Bohemian Rhapsody". Music video footage, sound board separations and great archival live performances.
* Audio: 5 stars (new footage & studio recordings); 3-4 Stars (old footage)
* Video: 5 Stars (new footage); 3-4 Stars (old footage)
* Bonus Features: 5 Stars
Song List (as presented here):
* Death on Two Legs (Dedicated to ...)
* Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon
* I'm in Love with my Car
* You're My Best Friend
* Sweet Lady
* Seaside Rendezvous
* The Prophets Song
* Love of my Life
* Good Company
* Bohemian Rhapsody
* God Save the Queen
on 4 September 2004
Well what is there to say, this is THE best album from probably THE best band ever (I am a fan so I suppose i'm biased!). I have all the Queen albums but never before have I heard A Night at the Opera in such a breathtaking way.
The music has been perfectly arranged to suit a surround setup, and hence you feel that you are actually there watching the performance live! Instruments come from no where and the vocals are strong and clear, coming from a mixture of center and front (sometimes at the back too).
All the tracks are brilliant but there can be only one classic and that is of course, Bohemian Rhapsody. Here this in 5.1 and you will die happy! The crash of the huge cymbal at the end just completes the song as it travels from the front speakers to the back. Brilliant.
on 7 February 2016
OK, let me make it clear from the off: this review relates to a copy of the remastered CD only, since that's what I bought. And if you don't like this album, this review isn't going to attempt to persuade you to buy it or tell you that you really should like it. We all have different tastes, after all.
All that said, this is a terrific remastering of a classic album. It's been done sympathetically, retaining the sound and tonal balance of the original but allowing an album recorded in an analog world to take full advantage of a digital one. Listening to my old CD against this remaster makes the old one sound like you're far away from the music; this puts you close up to it. The multi-layered, multi-person vocal lines come through especially well with it now being obvious (to me, at least) who is singing what. It makes my favourite tracks sound fresh and new, which takes some doing after first listening to them shortly after this album was released on vinyl back in the 1970s.
So if you love this album and don't yet have a copy of this remastered version, buying this is a must. I love it to bits.
on 27 May 2005
A Night At The Opera eh? Well this is one of the best Queen albums out, and thats saying alot! This album was apparently inspired by Freddie's love of opera. The drama, the excitement and the OTT of it all, and this really comes across in the tracks. This is probably the one I listen to the most as well. Its easy going, its rocking and its Bohemian Rhapsody people! This isn't the best one to buy if you're not familiar with the band and want an intorduction because the band did go on for a good fifteen years after this. The best tracks on here, personally, are '39, You're my bestfriend, I'm in love with my car, obviously Bohemian Rhapsody and, though some people may disagree, Love of my life. '39 is a little gem. It's not as famous as some, nor is it as rocking but is a great acoustic song written by Brian May. You're my bestfriend is John Deacons best as is Roger Taylors I'm in love with my car. Bohemian Rhapsody. Enough said. Love of my life, maybe an odd choice but if you've ever been in a crowed when its performed you'll know why. These are my favourites but not one track is dull and are all better than some bands best. 100/10
on 10 November 2002
This really is a whole new audio listening experience. Possibly a novelty and we don't really know whether DVD-Audio will take off but.... Queen - A Night At The Opera is ideal for any fans of Queen or appreciator's of good music.
I'm not Queens biggest fan by any means but I do like a lot of there earlier stuff, it seems a lot more fun for a start. A Night at the Opera is a classic album and one of Queen's best. I didn't particularly buy this album for Bohemian Rhapsody, it was for the Prophet's Song and You're My Best Friend as well. I wasn't disappointed.
The tracks are great, displaying a real range, and a diversity of Queen's song-writing abilities. Freddie Mercury's dramatic influence shines through with Bohemian Rhapsody and (the slightly camp) Seaside Rendezvous.
Now, I should mention the sound, I don't possess a DVD-Audio player (very few do) but I do have a good setup to play Dolby Digital and DTS surround. There isn't a Dolby Digital track on here so make sure you're receiver can accept DTS sound. Multi-channel sound isn't really useful to a lot of written songs and studio recorded music but A Night at The Opera does really lend itself to surround. The way the vocals are layered on the Prophets Song and Bohemian Rhapsody work well in this format. It really is something you have to listen to and is a good purchase for any audio enthusiast!
on 20 February 2006
I strongly suspect that most Queen fans didn't buy A Night At the Opera on DVD Audio as most people don't have DVD Audio players. Enter the 30th Anniversary Edition. The main point of this item is not another remaster of the CD, or as the disgruntled reviewers have noticed for the quality of the new video clips, interesting as they may be for Queen fans.
No, the main point of this 2 disc set is to get people to listen to the DVD surround sound mix. To make room for the video elements, the DVD Audio sound layer has been dropped but the excellent DTS 5.1 track remains. Don't be put off if your amplifier doesn't have DTS 24/96, you'll still get stunning sound, but you must have a DVD player or amplifier capable of decoding DTS. This disc does not contain a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, so beware.
The surround mix is best listened to on a system that has full range speakers (i.e. you don't need a subwoofer to hear the bass) all round in which case you will be treated to an absolute sonic delight. Roger's drums just sound epic and in Sweet Lady sweep around all over the place. Turn it up loud and the whole album will blow you and your neighbours away. For minimum distraction once the music has started, turn off the TV and simply enjoy the album as I'm sure Queen would have loved you to hear it orignally.
For those of you who prefer stereo to surround mixes, the CD isn't the only remastered effort you can benefit from. The stereo track is a 24-bit 48KHz PCM track as opposed to CD's 16-bit 44.1KHz, so you should get a better sound depending on how good your DVD player is compared to your CD player.
Of course, if you have a DVD Audio player then you should already have bought the DVD Audio version where you get full lossless 24-bit 96KHz 5.1 surround sound, and the best stereo version ever released in 24-bit 96KHz LPCM.
Then once you've enjoyed the new versions of the album, it's worth listening to the 3rd DVD soundtrack which has all the band memebers talking about various aspects of the album and recording in general. All very interesting.
So is this just another rip-off remaster? Well, if you're buying it purely for either the CD, or the video clips then you may be inclined to think so. But listen to the surround mix having spent a bit of time setting up your speakers and you'll see the point totally.