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Customer Review

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Opera Australia - and Lakmé - wow the OperaDou Jury! *, 5 May 2012
This review is from: Delibes: Lakme [Sydney Opera House] [Emma Matthews; Aldo Di Toro; Stephen Bennett; Australian Opera And Ballet Orchestra; Roger Hodgman; Emmanuel Joel-Hornak] [Opera Australia: Opoz56021Bd] [Blu-Ray] [2012][Region Free] [2013] (Blu-ray)
Length:: 1:59 Mins

Opera Australia's sumptuous production of Lakmé with Emma Matthews in the title role caused something of a sensation when it was shown to the OperaDou Jury in early June 2012. Audiences in Europe have had few opportunities to see OA productions until now, so the realization that so much wonderful music-making takes place in Australia was a "very, very pleasant surprise" as one of our seasoned American opera-goers and regular Jury member says in our "Video Crits". Now that these productions are coming out on Blu-Ray we will at last be able to enjoy more of their performances. If they are all up to the standard of "Lakmé" we have quite an operatic feast to look forward to!

The lavish sets and gorgeous costumes got a special mention from several people on the Jury. It was also a joy to see more long shots than we invariably do in most other operas on disc. The sharpness of the high definition image makes this possible and gives a greater impression of "being there" (no doubt why some 60% of the Jury felt that this HD experience was "better than" or "significantly better than" actually attending a live performance! The remainder judged it comparable with the real thing).

One of the French Jury members was a retired first violinist who has played in performances of Lakmé at the Paris and Lyon operas. He too was amazed at the quality of the OA production, greatly admiring the staging and singling out the orchestral playing and Aldo Di Toro's clear tenor voice for special mention.
However, the greatest, unequivocal and most generous praise was of course for Emma Matthews. She was a discovery for everyone. And what a discovery! She is so believable as Lakmé and sings with such purity, clarity and (apparently) effortless command of her amazing voice. She brought tears to the eyes of quite a few Jury members with the famous coloratura showpiece aria the "Bell Song" which, combined with her radiant smile and authentic Indian gestures, was a moment of sheer delight.

This was a very memorable evening for everyone, with 90% of the Jury saying they would like to see the production again in the cinema, nearly 80% saying they would add this disc to their own collections and 95% saying they would recommend it to their family and friends!

A few of the Jury members - including the three Australians we had with us that evening - regretted not being shown any shots of the iconic Sydney Opera House where this performance was filmed. It would have given an even greater sense of "occasion" they felt... And be a proud statement of where all this is coming from!

(*The OperaDou Jury is made up of 12 professional classical musicians, dancers and seasoned opera & ballet afficionados who meet at the L'OperaDou "Home Opera Theatre" in the south of France to review classical HD productions and share their opinions with a global audience. More details can be found by Googling "OperaDou". The complete review and all Video Crits can be consulted on the "Lakmé" page at "OperaDou Archives").
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