Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
on 22 August 2011
I have both the 1988 and 2009 met versions on DVD. Of course, the trick is to get to see the performances live, and for those lucky enough to do so, both performances will have seemed wonderful experiences.
The 2009 version, also with set design by the genius Franco Zeffirelli, is available in near-HD or Blu Ray. The colours and resolution are very much better and far less dark than the 1988 version and many of the supporting performers are equally good. For example, Ping, Pong and Pang (Hopkins, Stevenson and Valdes) appear the equal of the 1988 performers (Schexnayder, Glassman and Laciura).
The main advantage of the 2009 version is the high quality video which brings home just how ornate and beautiful Zeffirelli's production is. However, the singing by the main performers in the 1988 is a league above that of 2009. Eva Marton is quite outstanding and Domingo, if not quite at his very best, is very strong throughout. Both performers display high levels of acting to their roles and the closeups of Marton in particular, reveal subtleties which might be lost to the live audiences. In such company as these, the performances of Maria Guleghina and Marcello Giordani in the 2009 version start to pale. Marina Poplavskaya, surely a super star in the making, is impressive in the 2009 version, yet Leona Mitchell operates at an even higher level as Liu in 1988. Goodness, what talent was available in 1988.
Both performances are so entertaining in their own ways that I recommend both! Whilst the 2009 version contains some excellent treats for the eye, the 1988 is close to the highest quality singing ever heard on DVD. The 2008 version contains a wonderful set, brilliant costumes and dancing that even improves, albeit slightly, on Zeffirelli's 88 masterpiece. The quality of the 2008 film is also very substantially better. But if its singing you want on your DVD, the 1988 is the one to have.