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Opera, Ballet and Classical Music discs - Page 39

post #1141 of 1207
Coming soon
Rigoletto from MET - Lučić, Damrau, Beczala, Mariotti - Deutsche Grammophon Blu-ray - May 21

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post #1142 of 1207
Here is a bargain: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005OSUL9I/sr=1-25/qid=1366413958/ref=olp_product_details?ie=UTF8&me=&qid=1366413958&seller=&sr=1-25
post #1143 of 1207
Thanks for posting these deals.
post #1144 of 1207
You're welcome
post #1145 of 1207
post #1146 of 1207
There is a new release of Missa Solemnis by Harnoncourt.

Can anyone compare this to the Thielemann version?
Particularly interested in the audio quality (5.1 vs. 5.0).

Trying to decide which to buy.....
post #1147 of 1207
I don't have either one, but we have discussed 5.0 vs. 5.1 and I used Anna Bolena (5.0) to fine tune. The discussion is on page 34 and 35. Just in case you didn't read the whole thread...
post #1148 of 1207
I just saw that Branagh's Magic Flute is coming out on DVD in the U.S. later this month (along with a showing in a NY theater later this week). Though some have complained about it, I found it to be very entertaining, well-sung, and perhaps the best way to introduce people to opera (especially people in English-speaking countries). Anyone heard whether this is scheduled to come out on Blu-ray anytime soon? I can't find anything about any Blu-ray release . . .
post #1149 of 1207
Quote:
Originally Posted by RKreutzer View Post

I don't have either one, but we have discussed 5.0 vs. 5.1 and I used Anna Bolena (5.0) to fine tune. The discussion is on page 34 and 35. Just in case you didn't read the whole thread...
Thanx for the info.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tnilsson View Post

perhaps the best way to introduce people to opera (especially people in English-speaking countries)..
Sacrilege, sir!biggrin.gif
post #1150 of 1207
Thread Starter 
The Branagh film version of Magic Flute will be available on Tuesday 6/11 on Netflix (on DVD) as well as for sale from the usual suspects. No BD at this time as far as I can see.

On Friday there was an article in the WSJ about it --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324063304578523621800011376.html -- but it's behind the pay wall.

Some tidbits: "The Magic Flute" was shot in 2006, it was released around the
world--but it couldn't find a U.S. distributor. ... On Sunday and Tuesday, the film will appear on about 160 American movie screens and be released on DVD, Amazon and iTunes. For locations, go to http://www.magicflutemovie.com or
http://www.emergingpictures.com/titles/the-magic-flute-a-film-by-kenneth-branagh/

The English-language film falls into an unusual category because it is an opera created specifically for the screen. Set during World War I, the $27 million production uses computer-generated imagery and surreal sequences to enhance the fantasy inherent in the opera, which was originally performed in 1791. "We wanted a movie of 'The MusicFlute' with everything the cinema can bring," Mr. Branagh said. The film's principal financier is the British philanthropist and opera advocate Peter Moores.

... this libretto was adapted in English by the writer and actor Stephen Fry. Mr. Branagh said he chose the World War I setting because the epic scale of the conflict resonates with the opera's battle between the forces of darkness and light.

The film, which has been released in nearly a dozen countries since 2006 and garnered mixed reviews, has grossed just $1.9 million, according to Box Office Mojo..
post #1151 of 1207
Thread Starter 
Live in HD Summer Encores 2013

http://www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/liveinhd/LiveinHD.aspx

On Wednesdays -- all at 7pm (local time)

June 19 Carmen
June 26 Il Trovatore
July 10 Armida
July 17 La Traviata
post #1152 of 1207
Quote:
Originally Posted by R Johnson View Post

The English-language film falls into an unusual category because it is an opera created specifically for the screen. Set during World War I, the $27 million production uses computer-generated imagery and surreal sequences to enhance the fantasy inherent in the opera, which was originally performed in 1791. "We wanted a movie of 'The MusicFlute' with everything the cinema can bring," Mr. Branagh said. The film's principal financier is the British philanthropist and opera advocate Peter Moores.

... this libretto was adapted in English by the writer and actor Stephen Fry. Mr. Branagh said he chose the World War I setting because the epic scale of the conflict resonates with the opera's battle between the forces of darkness and light.
Great.rolleyes.gif

Quote:
The film, which has been released in nearly a dozen countries since 2006 and garnered mixed reviews, has grossed just $1.9 million, according to Box Office Mojo..
It's easy to see why.wink.gif
post #1153 of 1207
I really don't understand the sarcasm, or the disdain for Branagh's film. I think he succeeded very well in his goal of making opera appealing to modern English-speakers who all too often view opera as boring, difficult to understand, and hopelessly old-fashioned (I speak German and have yet to see any subtitles or supertitles that catch all the nuance of any German opera or film, so while I generally prefer things in their original language, I have to admit to the benefit of translations). And I think Branagh did so while retaining the magic and mass-appeal that Mozart sought when writing the opera (a singspiel, after all, that Mozart wrote to appeal to the masses at a public theater rather than to the high and mighty at a private, royal theater). Where I think Branagh failed is not in what he produced, but in believing that people who think they dislike opera would set aside their prejudices long enough to give his film a chance, and in believing that opera lovers would set aside their own prejudices and not overlook what he and Stephen Fry did right even though they changed a beloved standard.

Branagh has a history of trying to bring so-called high culture to the so-called masses, to show more people how great our cultural icons are and to induce them to explore further on their own. I think that deserves credit. I have seen local opera audiences diminish, leading to fewer performances and higher ticket prices, which only further diminish those audiences. If no one does anything original to attract new audiences to opera, live opera (and ultimately even opera DVDs and Blu-rays) will ultimately cease to exist. As an opera lover, who wants to see opera continue, I applaud what Branagh has done even if I may not agree with all his choices. And the film will proudly join my other, more traditional, opera CDs, DVDs, and Blu-rays.

At the end of the day, I thought his film was marvelously entertaining. And I suspect that Mozart would have applauded the film (though I suspect Emanuel Schikaneder would have stormed out of the theater). The most even-handed review of the movie I have seen is here; it acknowledges shortfalls but also gives Branagh and Fry credit where due: http://www.musicomh.com/classical/reviews-classical/kenneth-branaghs-the-magic-flute. I think it sums up the film quite well.
post #1154 of 1207
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tnilsson View Post

I really don't understand the sarcasm, or the disdain for Branagh's film
You answer your own question below....

Quote:
I speak German and have yet to see any subtitles or supertitles that catch all the nuance of any German opera or film, so while I generally prefer things in their original language.
post #1155 of 1207
Actually, my point was the opposite: I favor changing the language of operas as subtitles are seldom very good and I think being able to understand the words leads to a more immersive experience for everyone in the audience who is not fortunate enough to speak the original language. And changing the language can be done very well; I think Sir Charles Mackerras, for example, has done a marvelous job with his English-language versions of Mozart's operas.

But I don't want to turn this thread into a debate about one opera on film, or even about the merits of changing languages. As you seem to be highly critical of Branagh's Magic Flute, which alternate opera on DVD or blu-ray would you recommend as the best to introduce people to opera who claim to dislike it? I have not seen many such people willing to pay $60-$250 for an opera ticket just to prove to themselves whether they like opera or not, so that's not much of an option.

In my experience at least, a comic opera is best. And it's all the better if they can understand the singing (as too many people won't even go to a regular foreign movie with subtitles). Branagh's Magic Flute seems to meet that bill for me. But you may have found a better choice to use in introducing people to opera. If so, I'd love to hear it as we host regular opera movie nights and always have people who want to give it a try. I'm always on the lookout for an accessible opera to show them (that won't bore or irritate the regular opera fans in our midst).
post #1156 of 1207
post #1157 of 1207
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tnilsson View Post

Actually, my point was the opposite: I favor changing the language of operas as subtitles are seldom very good
You can make the same argument about spoken language translations.

Quote:
and I think being able to understand the words leads to a more immersive experience for everyone in the audience who is not fortunate enough to speak the original language.
Couldn't agree more.

Quote:
And changing the language can be done very well; I think Sir Charles Mackerras, for example, has done a marvelous job with his English-language versions of Mozart's operas.
Then why can't subtitles be "very good?"confused.gif

Quote:
As you seem to be highly critical of Branagh's Magic Flute
I am critical of any spoken language translation other than what the composer used.
Why?
Because it isn't about the words of the language in the actual original manuscript, it's their SOUND.
Just as Composers composed differently for various instruments, which was dependent on their unique sounds, so did they compose specifically for the sounds of the words when sung.
The singers are instruments too and are treated as such by opera composers.

Quote:
which alternate opera on DVD or blu-ray would you recommend as the best to introduce people to opera who claim to dislike it? I have not seen many such people willing to pay $60-$250 for an opera ticket just to prove to themselves whether they like opera or not, so that's not much of an option.
I don't know what the answer is to this....

Ultimately, it is the music that counts in an opera.
If someone doesn't know the EXACT meaning of the words being sung at any given moment, all is not lost.
Either one likes the MUSIC or simply does not.

Quote:
In my experience at least, a comic opera is best. And it's all the better if they can understand the singing (as too many people won't even go to a regular foreign movie with subtitles). Branagh's Magic Flute seems to meet that bill for me. But you may have found a better choice to use in introducing people to opera. If so, I'd love to hear it as we host regular opera movie nights and always have people who want to give it a try. I'm always on the lookout for an accessible opera to show them (that won't bore or irritate the regular opera fans in our midst).
FWIW, which isn't much, I think the late Mozart operas, Carmen, and some light fare with catchy tunes would work.
Also, something that doesn't require deep analysis (like Wagner, for example), doesn't have a lot supernatural Gods, and is relatively short in duration.
Edited by oink - 6/13/13 at 5:16pm
post #1158 of 1207
That is reasonable, where would I find a qualified review of the performance?
post #1159 of 1207
There are over 30 reviews on Amazon, including mine. To save you the search, here is what I said:

Picture is fine. Colorful costumes and good lighting.

Sound is DTS-HD MA 5.1. Beautifully recorded detailed orchestra extents to the surrounds and gives you a sound stage of 160 degrees. Voices are well balanced with the orchestra and clear due to body mics, but they come mostly through the center. My only complaint. Applause from the sides, which also gives you the impression of sitting in a front row. I listen to this at a loudness setting of -11 db. It will get a bit over 80 db at the loudest passages, but most of the time it is more like a very detailed piece of chamber music. Andy Rose came to mind, but the Music Producer is David Groves, Music Mix is Jonathan Allen. An excellent job.

This is my favorite cast and I can recommend it highly. 5 stars all around.

I also have the Verona Special Edition from 2006 with Fiorenza Cedolins as Tosca and Marcelo Alvarez as Cavaradossi. Sound is also DTS-HD MA 5.1 and well worth the price of $9.00. As an outdoor performance, it sports a large stage and a more impressive setting than the ROH. Sound stage is also 160 degrees, but the orchestra is not as detailed and overpowers the voices sometimes. The voices, however, move across the stage with the principals, which gives it more the feeling of a live performance.
I play this at a -7 db, at which the cannons at the end of act one will hit 90 db. Not for the faint of heart, but at that level it really comes to live.
I rate the cast a bit below Gheorghiu/Kaufmann/Terfel, but it is still very enjoyable in it's more forceful way and would get also 5 stars for surround audio.
post #1160 of 1207
I don't know the Branagh Zauberfloete, so I can't comment on it. But as far as trying to get people to listen to opera, I would think this is a pretty good start, if you have a good 5.1/7.1 setup:
http://www.amazon.com/Boheme-Film-Blu-ray-Anna-Netrebko/dp/B002Q9MZHE/ref=sr_1_130?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1371168253&sr=1-130&keywords=opera
You had that already.

I would go for short and very good surround sound and this one fits that bill:
http://www.amazon.com/Il-Trittico-Blu-ray-Alberto-Mastromarino/dp/B002N5KEN8/ref=sr_1_5?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1371168629&sr=1-5&keywords=il+trittico

3 pieces in about an hour each, beautifully recorded and good picture.
Content can be explained in 30 seconds.
If they are not interested after Il Tabarro, it probably is hopeless.

Cav. and Pag. would also be a good start, but as far as I know there is no Blu-ray of that Domingo/Zeffirelli performance and picture and sound are dated in the dvd.

Then you go with beautiful music, well recorded like:
http://www.amazon.com/Bellini-Puritani-Juan-Diego-Florez/dp/B004097IKW/ref=sr_1_2?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1371169465&sr=1-2&keywords=Nino+Machaidze (DVD only, but best sound)
or
http://www.amazon.com/Rossini-Il-Barbiere-Siviglia-Blu-ray/dp/B001CZVVWI/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1371169288&sr=1-1&keywords=barber+of+seville
or
http://www.amazon.com/Donizetti-Fille-R%C3%A9giment-Patrizia-Ciofi/dp/B000FIGXGM/ref=sr_1_2?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1371169777&sr=1-2&keywords=la+fille+du+regiment (dvd only, but good sound)
or
http://www.amazon.com/Rossini-Cenerentola-Blu-ray-Ruxandra-Donose/dp/B0017RRDPU/ref=sr_1_3?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1371169688&sr=1-3&keywords=la+cenerentola+blu
or
http://www.amazon.com/Johann-Strauss-Fledermaus-Bonynge-Ashton/dp/B00004Z4VP/ref=sr_1_11?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1371239423&sr=1-11&keywords=Fledermaus+opera

All are somewhat lighthearted and just swing along. Elixir d'amour with Georghiu/Alagna would also qualify.

Where do I stop? Romeo&Juliet, Traviata, Tosca,... So many choices, so little time....
post #1161 of 1207
Quote:
Originally Posted by RKreutzer View Post

There are over 30 reviews on Amazon, including mine. To save you the search, here is what I said:

Picture is fine. Colorful costumes and good lighting.

Sound is DTS-HD MA 5.1. Beautifully recorded detailed orchestra extents to the surrounds and gives you a sound stage of 160 degrees. Voices are well balanced with the orchestra and clear due to body mics, but they come mostly through the center. My only complaint. Applause from the sides, which also gives you the impression of sitting in a front row. I listen to this at a loudness setting of -11 db. It will get a bit over 80 db at the loudest passages, but most of the time it is more like a very detailed piece of chamber music. Andy Rose came to mind, but the Music Producer is David Groves, Music Mix is Jonathan Allen. An excellent job.

This is my favorite cast and I can recommend it highly. 5 stars all around.

I also have the Verona Special Edition from 2006 with Fiorenza Cedolins as Tosca and Marcelo Alvarez as Cavaradossi. Sound is also DTS-HD MA 5.1 and well worth the price of $9.00. As an outdoor performance, it sports a large stage and a more impressive setting than the ROH. Sound stage is also 160 degrees, but the orchestra is not as detailed and overpowers the voices sometimes. The voices, however, move across the stage with the principals, which gives it more the feeling of a live performance.
I play this at a -7 db, at which the cannons at the end of act one will hit 90 db. Not for the faint of heart, but at that level it really comes to live.
I rate the cast a bit below Gheorghiu/Kaufmann/Terfel, but it is still very enjoyable in it's more forceful way and would get also 5 stars for surround audio.

Thanks! I will check these out.
post #1162 of 1207
post #1163 of 1207

There is something weird going on with this Amazon entry - the aspect ratio is listed as 1.33:1 and the run time as 120 minutes. There is another Blu-ray entry here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B008ROGZUU where the aspect ratio is 1.78:1 and the runtime is 128 minutes. Is the latter the UK version of the release?
post #1164 of 1207
You are right, there is another Tosca Blu-ray with 33 reviews and then there is this one seemingly identical with a bit lower prices. While I don't think they make 1.33 anymore, region is always a concern. I would go with the 19.74 from the reviewed version, 2 bucks is not worth the hassle of having to return one if it doesn't play. You could of course also ask the seller for confirmation of format and region. Thanks for pointing it out.
post #1165 of 1207
Thread Starter 
Natalie Dessay and La Traviata ....

A while ago I saw the new documentary "Becoming Traviata" at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago before its theatrical release. It's about the rehearsal process for a new production at the Aix-en-Provence festival stage directed by Jean-François Sivadier . Apparently Dessay's first Violetta in Europe.

After seeing the documentary, I ordered the DVD of the performance. (No BD available now.)

A fascinating interview with Dessay about the documentary, etc.: http://www.examiner.com/review/natalie-dessay-talks-about-film-acting-singing-and-becoming-traviata

Today I belated got around to watching the DVD of the performance in Aix. Dessay is simply mesmerizing!

I've started watching Branagh's film of The Magic Flute on Netflix streaming. Some comments to follow later....

"Flute" and "Traviata" and other classics have seen many versions / productions and will see many more in the years to come. I think that most deserve an open minded viewing.

Dessay / Sivadier's is the sixth Traviata in my library. I liked it very much. I also liked the very different Willy Decker Salzburg version and "set designer" Zeffirelli's film.
post #1166 of 1207
post #1167 of 1207
RKreutzer, I have the La Cenerentola you mentioned, and it is good. But I haven't found it to be the best opera to show newbies as it's not as showy as some other operas.

I have this La Boheme which, though well-done, did not grab me for some reason: http://www.amazon.com/Puccini-Boheme-Blu-ray-Teodor-Ilinca/dp/B003LRQ0Z8/ref=sr_1_11?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1371500826&sr=1-11&keywords=la+boheme+opera

I recently saw a live production of Gianni Schicchi which was entertaining (it was performed as part of a double-bill along with "Puccini: The Man & His Muses", a marvelous overview of Puccini and his music which I'd never heard of before, much less seen performed), but I've not seen the other operas that are part of Il Trittico.

I have found this version of Cosi fan Tutte to be marvelous (though it is a pretty fluffy opera all in all, regardless of the performance): http://www.amazon.com/Mozart-Cosi-Fan-Tutte-Blu-ray/dp/B002BZOVLG/ref=sr_1_2?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1371500617&sr=1-2&keywords=cosi+fan+tutte+opera

I'll be interested in hearing others' takes on Branagh's Magic Flute. The trailer for it is quite good and has made several people want to see the film even if they don't love opera: http://magicflutemovie.com/
post #1168 of 1207
I thought Don Magnifico and the 2 daughters in Cenerentola were quite funny and it has good sound. It's a bit long for beginners.
I don't know that La Boheme.
I agree with you on the Cosi, excellent sound, but again a bit long.
You got to get that Il Trittico, short and very well recorded and it should hold the interest of a beginner.
La Fille de Regiment is sung in French with Florez repeating his aria “Ah mes amis” with 9 high c's, that's alone worth the price, the Fledermaus is sung in english, with Pavarotti, Horne and Sutherland as a bonus thrown in singing a few arias at Orlofsky's party.
Enjoy:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5CYg-eaDZQ
post #1169 of 1207
post #1170 of 1207
VERDI: Requiem. Anja Harteros, Elina Garanca, Jonas Kaufmann, Rene Pape, Barenboim
http://www.mdt.co.uk/verdi-requiem-harteros-garanca-kaufmann-daniel-barenboim-decca-blu-ray.html
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