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on 27 February 2016
Just so every prospective buyer knows: the Amazon listing gives a region warning - I emailed them to let them know this Bluray release is region free, it will play on all bluray players regardless of the country. Amazon have confirmed this after investigating, however at the time of writing this review they have not removed the warning.

Now for the review of the opera production itself:

Beautifully played by the orchestra, beautifully sung by the cast, but the greatness of the music isn't really reflected by the staging, which in the last act stays by the cabin in the woods even though they're supposed to be transported to Kitezh. The libretto is very ambiguous, so if the staging is also ambiguous then it doesn't connect with the audience. The video and audio quality are first rate though.
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on 13 April 2016
The good bits, Tatiana Monogarova, absolutely marvelous mellow voice, Mikhail Gubsky , great tenor, very expressive, enjoyed him immensely,
every other lead singer and the chorus, not a weak link among them.
Orchestra, well balanced and full of feeling.
Costumes pretty well apt seemed appropriate, in the most part.
Now for the staging, the sets require a great stretch of the imagination for where the action is supposed to be taking place. In act one the for3est clearing, not a hint of a tree, but Fevronya is among an assortment of strange wooden structures. The bear is not too bad but the animals of the forest, cardboard cutout carried by the chorus are poor even by childrens TV standard.
In act two the market place of Little Kotezh requires an even greater stretch of the imagination. I spent more time wondering what symbolism the director was hinting at than enjoying the production.
Moving on to some other lowlights, why do two fur clad boys hold on to Grishkas ankles, why do Tartars except for the two leaders have feather dusters instead of scimitars?, and why are they fenced in an enclosure?. Why does one set of Kitezh have upturned boats on sticks, well I could go on and on.
The net result is that I found watching this a bewildering experience, as instead of enjoying music and staging I kept thinking what is all this in aid of. I referred to the synopsis regularly to remind myself what was supposed to be happening.
I have tried it twice and apart from enjoying the photogenic and gorgeous voiced Tatiana, I am at a loss.
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on 16 April 2014
A modern updating of Rimsky-Korsakov's fine mystical opera does'nt really work for me. The mixing of the Meeting of the score with a tale of Soviet thugs is just too violent to work. One to listen to, with the screen blanked out. As far as I can tell the musical side is quite well handled, but the tale that the music tells is very different from what we see.
As I know the score quite well from various recordings, perhaps this is my fault, but I find it difficult to recommend such a rough handling of the tale.
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on 14 January 2017
I was initially attracted to this production compared to the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari/Bolshoi production based on the valid re-imagination of the first act, which solved the staging difficulties. Alas the remainder lapses into crude and unnecessar vulgarity and the final scenes are a tedious visual cop out. Musically excellent but visual trash after the first act.
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on 8 December 2015
Wonderfully staged opera. Very modern, very close to our days. Great performance of Svetlana Ignatovich!

What about BD editioh of Kitezh. Perfect picture and controversal sound. I liked the DTS track more than LPCM stereo.
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on 26 November 2014
This opera was new to me but I was hooked right from the start. One of the finest pieces of R-Korsakov on disc with fine performances ,tight conducting and a cleaver set design.
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on 1 October 2014
Very Good
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on 28 November 2011
This co-production between Cagliari and the Bolshoi was slammed by critics. And certainly the impenetrable and bizarre interpretation of an already complex and unusual fable, is disappointing. Quite what the director wanted to achieve is hard to say, but he gives a very poor case for the work as a dramatic piece on stage. Some scenes have a certain, unexpected beauty of their own...

HOWEVER, this IS the only filmed version available, and for that we must be grateful. This is a sublime work, undoubtedly Rimsky's masterpiece, and despite the eccentric staging, this is beautifully performed.

Don't be put off exploring this gem of an opera by wingeing Wagnerites, complaining of plagurism. Of course Rimsky was inspired by Wagner. Many composers were. Indeed many composers were subsequently influenced by Rimsky. Such is the nature of rapid developments in creativity. I find the cross fertilisation exhilarating.

The opera combines two legends, creating a story in which the lowly peasant Fevroniya, a child of nature, is unexpectedly chosen as queen of a sacred city - Kitezh. When Tatars invade, and the city is betrayed, it is Fevroniya's prayers that are answered, rendering the city invisible. Only in Paradise does the city reappear. Combining pantheistic nature worship and sacred Orthodox music, the opera is a powerful exploration of treachery, guilt, innocence and purity, and an uplifting parable of faith; whether in Nature or God, depends on your personal view, perhaps.

Vedernikov insists on the score being given complete. His is not the most passionate or urgent view of the score. There is more drama to be found, as one hears in Gergiev's Kirov account. But where this recording scores over Gergiev is in the quality of the casting and the sound balance. The orchestra are extremely important (as usual, with Rimsky) and I find more detail coming across in this account. Vedernikov's bells in the transformation scenes are less sonorous than in the Kirov recording, perhaps, but all else is very beautifully performed.

Above all - and the reason for 4 stars - is the quite extraordinary Tatiana Monogarova. Here is a young Russian soprano with a glorious voice, soft grained, lyrical and yet powerful when required. It is the most ravishingly beautiful account I have ever heard of Fevroniya's music, far surpassing Galina Gorchakova with the Kirov (on Philips). every phrase, every moment she is on stage is illuminated with her superb, warm, commited singing. Already a known quantity from her account of Tatiana in the equally contraversial new Bolshoi Eugene Onegin, she here begs the question: why isn't she singing at Covent Garden? she would wipe the floor with Netrebko and Poplavskaya. Monogarova is simply in another league.

I hope the recording appears on CD. It deserves to. Until then, this DVD is very welcome. But please, ignore the visuals, close your eyes and just listen...
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on 25 October 2013
I doubt whether this opera has ever been performed in the UK, and a trip to Moscow or St Petersburg can be expensive, so treat yourself to the next best thing - a DVD. As always with these Russian productions they are authentic, visually stunning and you hear some truly remarkable voices.
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on 26 July 2014
This was not a work that I was familiar with and on viewing it was struck with the resonances with Wagner's work - both musically and dramatically. Needless to say that I was interested to find the same reference in the commentary in the accompanying booklet, which I read subsequently.

The production here is first rate with a real feel for this Russian legend. And the singers are all good musically and in their acting - so important on a DVD where the camera brings us closer to the action than we are in the opera house. Svetlana Ignatovich as Fevroniya is simply charming.

Highly recommended - especially if you are not familiar with the work
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