Author Topic: Opera on DVD  (Read 233174 times)

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Offline huntsman

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #720 on: June 13, 2013, 01:36:10 AM »
Heh heh!

Hi mc ukrneal -

Yes, opera is sadly under-supported in the music realm, but thank you for your suggestions.

I'm totally open in my search, but really wanted to pin people down to their best 'three' just for interest and also to help me in my search.

We sadly have exactly zero operas annually in my city, and unless I learn more via the 'net, I'm stymied...

Someone suggested torrents and YouTube as a source, but I want to start with some really good productions....the three you mention sound great!
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Offline Wendell_E

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #721 on: June 13, 2013, 02:26:25 AM »
But suggesting DVDs is a difficult thing when there is no focus - does language matter? Any preference or style you prefer? Are you looking for something that is just a good opera or something with bells and whistles? How important is the quality of the picture? Are you familiar at all with opera (or are you just starting out)?

Just what I was thinking.  And it's hard to pick just three.  Anyway, here's one each from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries:

Handel: Giulio Cesare.  David McVicar's Glyndebourne production, conducted by William Christie, with Sarah Connolly, Angelika Kirchschlager, and Danielle de Niese.

Verdi: Otello. Zeffirelli's Metropolitan Opera production, conducted by James Levine, with Vickers, Scotto, and MacNeil.

Janáček: From the House of the Dead.  Patrice Chéreau's Aix Festival production, conducted by Boulez.

I haven't seen the Hänsel und Gretel production mc ukrneal recommends, but I can second his other choices.
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Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #722 on: June 13, 2013, 03:05:29 AM »
Heh heh!

Hi mc ukrneal -

Yes, opera is sadly under-supported in the music realm, but thank you for your suggestions.

I'm totally open in my search, but really wanted to pin people down to their best 'three' just for interest and also to help me in my search.

We sadly have exactly zero operas annually in my city, and unless I learn more via the 'net, I'm stymied...

Someone suggested torrents and YouTube as a source, but I want to start with some really good productions....the three you mention sound great!
Well the three operas I suggested are all good starting operas. Boheme is 4 acts of 30 min each with beautiful melodies. Ideal. Hansel has beautifu music in German, so you'll get another style in a story that is familiar to you. Figaro is the longest, but is hysterically funny with great music/songs. So these are great to start with.

After that, we have lots of possibilities - Donizetti, Wagner, Handel, Monteverdi, Verdi, Wagner, Strauss, etc. There are multiple good versions on DVD for all the major operas.

I like Wendell's Otello suggestion too (I haven't seen the other two).
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Offline huntsman

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #723 on: June 13, 2013, 04:36:45 AM »
I realise of course that it's all terribly subjective, but I'm sure that the cream will generally rise to the surface...

In addition to yours, mc ukrneal, I particularly like Wendell_E's Janacek suggestion, as this is unknown to me and totally unexpected. My main problem is that I have to import all DVDs (no-one sells them in my country) and I want to ensure that I get operas that people can recommend personally.

I'm sure as people chime in, my shopping list will grow proportionately... :)
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Offline Brewski

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #724 on: June 13, 2013, 07:05:37 AM »
Verdi: Otello. Zeffirelli's Metropolitan Opera production, conducted by James Levine, with Vickers, Scotto, and MacNeil.

Janáček: From the House of the Dead.  Patrice Chéreau's Aix Festival production, conducted by Boulez.

I can heartily second both of these, which incidentally, represent two very different ways of approaching an opera production. Zeffirelli's is lavish; Chéreau's is quite spare. Both are excellent.

And I've recommended this elsewhere and often, Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, in this production originally done at the Holland Festival. You couldn't ask for a better "pit band" - the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra with Mariss Jansons - and the singers are all excellent.



But this one, Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, might be my single best recommendation. The director captured all the principals in outstanding form, and Robert Carsen's minimal production is gorgeous, done mostly with light. Valery Gergiev and the Met Orchestra are superb.



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Offline Wendell_E

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #725 on: June 13, 2013, 08:24:03 AM »
But this one, Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, might be my single best recommendation. The director captured all the principals in outstanding form, and Robert Carsen's minimal production is gorgeous, done mostly with light. Valery Gergiev and the Met Orchestra are superb.

I'll second that one.  In fact, I debated for a while on whether to list it, or the Otello, as one of my three picks.
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kishnevi

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #726 on: June 13, 2013, 05:48:34 PM »
I don't have an extensive library of DVDs, but some of the favorites
--the Zeffirelli/Metropolitan Opera production of Turandot featuring Domingo (there's a second, much newer DVD of the same production featuring different singers, so don't be too confused)
--Netrebko in Anna Bolena
--another Metropolitan Opera DVD of their current production of Hansel and Gretel. which is intelligently and moderately staged with updated scenery and costumes, and some bows to Regietheater,  but those bows are done intelligently and in some cases beautifully (the angels guarding the children as they sleep in the forest become a dream banquet of Sendak like chefs and animal headed waiters, for instance).  Don't have it as a DVD but saw it on American TV.
--Rosenkavalier with Fleming, Damrau, and Koch in a production that's superb for the singing, scenery and costumes, and acting.  It's updated to suggest a time period between 1930 and 1960.  Jonas Kauffman turns comic for his turn as the Italian Singer, and IIRC it's conducted by Thielemann.
--Rossini's Cenerentola with Joyce DiDonata and Juan Diego Flores in a production from, IIRC, Barcelona.

I saw the Otello  Wendell listed as a live production, with a different cast (Sherill Milnes was Iago, but I don't remember who sang the other leads), on tour in Atlanta--at that time the Met did spring tours in select American cities--and it was a memorable production, indeed--literally, since as I write this my mind is running over the opening scene in full detail, even though it's been about thirty five years since I saw it.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2013, 05:50:37 PM by Jeffrey Smith »

Offline huntsman

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #727 on: June 13, 2013, 09:50:39 PM »
Ah -

The stone is now starting to roll - thank you!

I ordered the Eugene Onegin last night on BluRay from Amazon, so now my extensive collection is successfully launched!  ;)

I will try to stream the suggestions the forum offers at first, and then purchase BluRays if I really love them. I read somewhere that there are now over 1500 different productions on DVD (presumably less on BR) so I will have to be circumspect... >:D
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Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #728 on: June 14, 2013, 09:54:16 AM »
Ok. I went through what I have or have seen (mostly from my library) and the ones I liked most (besides those already mentioned) are:

- La Traviata (Domingo/Stratas/Levine/Zefferelli)- this is a film adaptation (with 15-30 minutes excluded), but the visuals are good. Domingo is excellent.
- Turn of the Screw - I don't know which one to recommend (I don;t think the one I like most ever made it to DVD), but this is a real horror story as operas go and well worth seeing!
- La Cenerentola (Von Stade/Abbado) - Von Stade is outstanding, but good production all around
- Rosenkavalier (Schwartzkopf/Jurinac/Rothenberger/Karajan) - I've heard it is much improved picture on Blu-ray, but the singers are just amazing. A classic.
- Rake's Progress (Ramey/Haitink) - Bit of a strange opera, but great performance - another classic
- Don Giovanni (Te Kanawa/Van Dame) - I think Te Kanawa is just a natural in Mozarrt
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Offline Brewski

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #729 on: June 14, 2013, 10:30:52 AM »
--the Zeffirelli/Metropolitan Opera production of Turandot featuring Domingo (there's a second, much newer DVD of the same production featuring different singers, so don't be too confused)

--another Metropolitan Opera DVD of their current production of Hansel and Gretel. which is intelligently and moderately staged with updated scenery and costumes, and some bows to Regietheater,  but those bows are done intelligently and in some cases beautifully (the angels guarding the children as they sleep in the forest become a dream banquet of Sendak like chefs and animal headed waiters, for instance).  Don't have it as a DVD but saw it on American TV.

Happy to second these two, too. Turandot is almost worth it just for the production alone, possibly the most lavish the Met has ever presented.

And I saw Hansel and Gretel around the time they made this DVD (from the live broadcast). The forest scene Jeffrey describes is beautiful and quite touching (the woman with me was in tears) and you also get the great Philip Langridge (R.I.P. - he died just a year or so after this was made) as the Witch - he's hilarious. Overall, the production is a bit darker than some might expect, but to me it freshens the impact. And again, the Met Orchestra (with Vladimir Jurowski) plays Humperdinck's score beautifully. I had never seen (or heard) the opera before, and quite liked it.



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Offline knight66

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #730 on: June 17, 2013, 08:34:23 PM »
I agree with Bruce on Onegin and that it is possibly the best DVD I have. Here is my review of it. I am sure you will enjoy the disc.

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,116.msg399452/topicseen.html#msg399452

Mike
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Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #731 on: June 17, 2013, 09:28:00 PM »
I agree with Bruce on Onegin and that it is possibly the best DVD I have. Here is my review of it. I am sure you will enjoy the disc.

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,116.msg399452/topicseen.html#msg399452

Mike
That is really a wonderful write up (that I somehow missed the first time around) and I wanted to run out and buy it the second I finished! Bravo!
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Offline huntsman

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #732 on: June 18, 2013, 06:14:24 AM »
Great stuff!

I purchased it purely on trust and I can't wait to get it now!

Less risky perhaps, I also ordered what I think is the first opera I ever saw, viz Carmen, with Domingo and Migenes, a production I adore, so now my BluRay collection is off and running...

I'm busy researching some of the others mentioned, La Cenerentola and Rosenkavalier are two, and I found Don Giovanni on YouTube, which was wonderful.
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Offline knight66

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #733 on: June 18, 2013, 08:16:54 AM »
MC, thanks for your comment. Do let us know what you think of it. I hope i have not given too muuch away about the production.

Huntsman, I agree, that Carmen was very good, filmed rather than a stage performance, but it was really involving.

Mike
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Offline knight66

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #734 on: June 18, 2013, 08:30:24 AM »
Not to test tour patience, but here is a long post which discusses Handel. The DVDs of both are at the top of my list and the Caesar one has been reccommended by several of us. The Theodora is almost a kind of St Matthew Passion experience.

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,2077.msg300552.html#msg300552

Mike
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Offline huntsman

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #735 on: June 19, 2013, 09:06:45 AM »
Hey Mike -

Those two reviews were really insightful, thank you.

It is so much easier choosing something when your contemporaries give you something to get your teeth into. I am really at the birth of my Opera 'period' and it's wonderful!
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Offline Brewski

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #736 on: June 19, 2013, 10:05:04 AM »
IMHO the DVD format (and LaserDisc, but that format never became widely popular) has been a great boon to opera; if you can't experience one live, this is the next best thing.

Another fave: this production of Peter Grimes. The flat, monochromatic set (which I loved) didn't win universal accolades, but there is no doubt that the singing - particularly of Anthony Dean Griffey in the title role, and the spectacular Met Chorus - is worth it.



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Offline knight66

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #737 on: June 19, 2013, 11:28:37 AM »
Well, it has Runnicles in charge, how could it be less that terrific? I may be tempted to this.

Mike
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kaergaard

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #738 on: June 19, 2013, 01:42:54 PM »
Too many great ones to list, but in my opinion only a recording of a live performance is preferable. Yes, even with any tiny trumpet geekser or a tenor's struggle. Compare the DVD of the live recording of Il trovatore] with Placido Domingo where he turns his back to the audience and reaches for the throat spray under his red cape to achieve the famous high C of Manrico's call to arms to the much overpraised Solti Ring. , the studio performance where all minute inconsistencies have been erased, corrected, replaced by numerous immaculate repeats; a showy product as perfect as a can of sardines.

kishnevi

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Re: Opera on DVD
« Reply #739 on: June 19, 2013, 05:09:08 PM »
IMHO the DVD format (and LaserDisc, but that format never became widely popular) has been a great boon to opera; if you can't experience one live, this is the next best thing.

Another fave: this production of Peter Grimes. The flat, monochromatic set (which I loved) didn't win universal accolades, but there is no doubt that the singing - particularly of Anthony Dean Griffey in the title role, and the spectacular Met Chorus - is worth it.



--Bruce

Yes!  That's another MET broadcast I've seen on PBS which I thought was extremely good;  I had forgotten that it was available on DVD.