Author Topic: Opera on DVD  (Read 153038 times)

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uffeviking

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Opera on DVD
« on: April 08, 2007, 12:54:48 AM »
The following is part of a thread from the previous GMG forum and should invite replies here in the new home:

 Opera DVDs you are watching
« on: March 21, 2007, 03:28:00 PM » Quote Modify Remove Split Topic 

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Well, I only watch opera DVDs once in a while but it seems that the Opera and Vocal room doesn't have this sort of thread? I know many of you simply post info on the last opera DVDs you watched in the appropriate specific composer/opera threads but I figured sometimes one would simply want to just mention what one is watching without starting a multi-page discussion on the subject... Or at least without that intention...

Or maybe there already is a (dead) thread of this sort, and I missed it?

Well, anyway, if you think this would be a useless thread then we can just let it die a natural death (by not posting in it or even locking it)...

Last opera DVD I watched was this:

« Last Edit: April 08, 2007, 01:03:04 AM by uffeviking »

Offline knight66

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2007, 01:01:42 AM »
Maciek, I keep reading that e mail...but I cannot see specified what opera you were watching. While you are at it, you might as well tell us why we ought to avoid it.

Mike
DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
I wasted time: and time wasted me.

uffeviking

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2007, 01:13:19 AM »
Did I throw you a curve, Mike? Sorry about confusing you, but while I was working on transferring this thread you caught the first version and then I modified it and now you have no idea what on earth Maciek was talking about. He was talking about this one:

Stanislaw Moniuszko: Halka.

In the process I just discovered that I can not minimize this program, go to another and retrieve it. It's gone.

Offline knight66

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2007, 04:11:12 AM »
Lis, LOL....after all that, I am none the wiser as I know neither the opera nor the composer. The longer we go on the less I seem to know.

Mike
DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Wendell_E

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2007, 05:18:13 PM »
In memory of Colin Graham, who died last Friday, I watched this DVD of his ENO production of Britten's Gloriana.  I saw the production in New Orleans in 1984 with practically the same cast, just a couple of months after it was filmed.

uffeviking

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2007, 06:24:21 PM »
I had the DVD of Gloriana with Josephine Barstow and I am sure it was the same production as the one with Sarah Walker, the one you saw life. I traded my Barstow 'Adriana' for the Walker because the facial contortions of Barstow drove me nuts! I could have just listened to the music, but the production is so beautiful, I wanted to see it all. So I lost Tom Randle in the trade-off, I survived the loss!

I am sorry to hear about the opera world losing Colin Graham, a gentleman of the treasured old style, if I can take this Gloriana production as the norm of his style.   :'(

Wendell_E

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2007, 07:12:17 PM »
I had the DVD of Gloriana with Josephine Barstow and I am sure it was the same production as the one with Sarah Walker, the one you saw life.

Actually the DVD with Barstow is Phyllidia Lloyd's Opera North production.  As I understand it, the film, also directed by Lloyd, makes a lot of cuts in the opera that weren't in the stage production.

I also saw Graham's production of Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire when it was done in New Orleans, but I wasn't tempted to buy the DVD of that one (Previn's fault, not Graham's).

uffeviking

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2007, 07:33:09 PM »
Interesting news! The sets on both productions were so similar, I thought the same director was at work!

Something else interesting: I had the Previn Streetcar and tried at least five times, over a period of time, to stick with it longer than half an hour, but not even Rod Gilfry's bare chest could keep me interested. Since I am not familiar with the original work, I hoped I could understand the singers but René Fleming's elocution is atrocious, no help from her.  :(

Offline Maciek

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2007, 08:27:40 AM »
Lis, LOL....after all that, I am none the wiser as I know neither the opera nor the composer. The longer we go on the less I seem to know.

Mike

Don't worry, Mike. I'll start a separate thread on that as soon as I finish looking through the new posts on interesting threads that have cropped out while I was away.

Offline marvinbrown

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2007, 11:33:32 AM »


   I did not know where to post this inquiry so I figured this is the best place.  For the past couple of days I have been looking for GREAT recordings of Wagner's Ring Cycle on DVD (among other operas on DVD and Bach cantatas).  I am looking for a Ring Cycle set in mythical times.  I have been put off by modern adaptations (eg. the Ring set in modern times where Wotan is dressed in a suit ::)).  I would like see Fafner as a dragon, the Rheinmaidens, the Walkurie on horses and so on.  I was intrigued by the cover of Levine's Ring.  Is this as good as it looks:
 

  Or should I be looking elsewhere?

   Any advice would be appreciated

   marvin

Offline Brewski

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2007, 11:43:25 AM »
Marvin, based on your criteria above, this version would probably fill the bill very nicely.  (Caveat: I have not seen the entire DVD set, but all four operas were done by the same production team, headed by Otto Schenck.)  They are all very traditional -- no one in suits.  ;D

--Bruce
Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.
     ~ Gustav Mahler

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Offline Anne

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2007, 11:47:04 AM »
Marvin,

The last I knew the Met was the only performance that used the clothing style from the actual historical times.  All other productions were modern dress.

I have the performance you are showing and enjoy it.

Ps.  My grandson thought the dragon looked more like a squid than a dragon in the Met's performance.  I had to agree with him.  LOL!
« Last Edit: April 13, 2007, 11:52:05 AM by Anne »

uffeviking

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2007, 11:54:28 AM »
Not completely correct, Anne! There is the outstanding series from De Nederlandse Opera, Amsterdam, directed by the very talented Pierre Audi. No raven-winged helmets, aluminum breast-plated females and tenors in leather miniskirts. The costumes are a fantasy creation resembling nothing in existence and very beautiful. This Ring has been judged by a majority of Ring advocates as the best DVD available to-date.

Offline marvinbrown

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2007, 12:09:18 PM »


  Thanks Bruce and Anna, I have just ordered the Levine Ring!   I tried looking for the Pierre Audi set couldn't find it at an affordable price...Levine won out in the end!

  marvin

Offline Anne

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2007, 03:09:22 PM »
Marvin, you're welcome.  Please let us know how you do or don't like it.

Thanks, Lis.  I had forgotten about the Amsterdam Ring.  Are there any pictures available of that production?  I'm curious to see what the costumes look like.


uffeviking

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2007, 03:15:36 PM »
Probably, but Anne, I am not good at transferring photos from here to there. I'll try, if not I am sure when T.C. reads this post, he will supply you with a bunch of them. - Oh Nigel, where are you?? Sigh. -

uffeviking

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2007, 03:26:02 PM »
Try this one, it's the cover of Rheingold with John Bröcheler as Wotan.

Offline Anne

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2007, 04:42:38 PM »
Thanks!  Guess I missed the boat when this Ring was reviewed.  That costume looks fine.  How are the singers rated?  and the orchestra/conductor?  Don't bother to look it up.  I meant that perhaps you remember what was said. 

uffeviking

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #18 on: April 13, 2007, 05:03:17 PM »
Trying to get a copy of my review of Die Walküre from my files to here, hope it works. - By gosh it did!

"Amsterdam Walküre

Inevitable it is not only for you, T.C., but for any Wagnerian to see this production. Not a traditional ‘NY Met Otto Schenk’ tear jerker; nor a ‘Seattle Green Ring’, and definitely not a ‘Bloomers-dropping Stuttgart Konwitschny’ one. The word ‘monumental’ comes to mind because the sets are huge, clean-lined and stark, with the costumes to match. No frills, no exhibition of bare body parts or raven-winged helmets plus  animal skin costumes.  Concentration was fixed on the singing, acting and music. Hartmut Haenchen led his orchestra as powerful as any I have heard. The ‘Ride of the Walküre’ must have shook the foundation of the Muziktheater.

I have stated more than once that Walküre is my favorite segment of the Ring, but I still wish Herr Wagner would have deleted two-thirds of the cackling herd of Walküren as they gather after singing their Hojotohos. Not only are we introduced to their names, we also get treated to the names of their horses, what those critters are doing – one stallion going after a mare – and all that sung by eight females with questionably good voices. As if that is not enough, Brünnhilde comes running  and pleading with each of the eight, again telling me their names, to protect her. – That’s the time for me to go to my study and check for email or PMs from friends at GMG! – For some reason it is in this scene Jeannine Altmeyer’s voice gets a bit shrill, but I blame the surrounding eight sisters forcing her to raise her voice.

After Wotan sends his daughters packing, except his favorite one, I settle back and enjoy the opera again. “War es so schmählich was ich verbrach?” is a heart-wrenching outcry starting the most dramatic part of this opera. “Leb wohl, du kühnes, herrliches Kind” is handled so many different ways by any of the Wotans I have seen and heard; this one too is different because Brünnhilde is already prone on the floor, arms by her side, shed of her armour and helmet, wearing only a black body suit. Wotan stands a few feet from her and actually has his back turned to her, making it more like a conversation he his carrying on with himself, recalling the wondrous times the two had together. He slowly turns around, walking towards her and kneeling down  by her head and then his: “Denn so – kehrt der Gott sich dir ab: so küsst er die Gottheit von dir“ he stretches himself out on the floor beside her, bends over her face and kisses her on her mouth, with a long lasting kiss. He sinks his head down on her shoulder, drapes his left arm over her body and remains in this position all through one of the most beautiful musical passages of the Ring. Usually the interval is being used by Wotan to arrange her armour over her body, adjusts the helmet, places her sword next to her. Not this time. Motionless, father and daughter, and the music. It is a beautiful idea of the director Pierre Audi!

Then of course the Feuerzauber we are all familiar with, except Haenchen takes it more powerful, not the usual sweet sound of flames created by the piccolo; an abbyss breaks the stage floor behind Brünhilde and a shiny metal barriers moves into place, symbolic of a barricade protecting her. Stunning!

And so was the shattering applause from the house. There was no hesitatent remaining in their seats, from what I could see, everybody jumped to their feet, applauding, whistling, foot-stomping! All of it fully deserved!"
 



Wendell_E

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2007, 05:13:00 PM »
You can see more pictures at the Nederlandse Opera's website.  They are a bit on the small side.  This link will take you the Rheingold gallery, and you can get to the other operas from there.  Since it seems you want a more "traditional" production (not just the costumes), I imagine the Met was probably your best bet, though after looking at the pictures, I'm really curious to see the Audi production. 

As for Valkyries on horseback, I don't think any of the available productions give you that.

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