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Renée Fleming in Concert

Renée Fleming in Concert

Recorded live at the Salzburg Festival, August 2011


Strauss, R:

Befreit, Op. 39 No. 4

Renée Fleming (soprano)

Winterliebe Op. 48 No. 5

Renée Fleming (soprano)

Traum durch die Dämmerung, Op. 29 No. 1

Renée Fleming (soprano)

Gesang der Apollopriesterin Op. 33 No. 2

Renée Fleming (soprano)

Arabella: excerpts

Renée Fleming (soprano)

Eine Alpensinfonie, Op. 64


Gloriously affirming the Salzburg Festival’s long-standing reputation as a supreme musical event, this concert honours one of its founding fathers, Richard Strauss. Renée Fleming, Christian Thielemann and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra unite for a programme of song, opera and tone poem, genres central to the composer’s extraordinarily fruitful career. Fleming interprets four of his songs with orchestra, including the deeply moving Befreit, and provides a substantial taste of perhaps her finest operatic role, Arabella. New vistas then open as Thielemann and the Vienna Philharmonic take the spectacular mountain journey mapped by the composer in his titanic Alpine Symphony.

Running time: 84 minutes

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/ES

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“You can immediately hear the classiness of the orchestral support...Thielemann's journey up the mountain is more a question of inner feeling than outward tone-painting...But the summit sequence and the epilogue rival Herbert von Karajan's Berlin Philharmonic for tonal opulence...the cameras always know what to pinpoint in order to highlight visually Strauss's most ingenious orchestral passages.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2012 *****

“This is a rare case of visuals enhancing the listening experience, and the Vienna Philharmonic’s Strauss tradition is there for all to see. Thielemann doesn’t push or pull the music, but he is not a pretty sight: his left hand remains inexpressive...there is still no soprano I would rather hear in the soaring lines of “Traum durch die Dämmerung” and “Gesang der Apollopriesterin”.” Financial Times, 19th May 2012 ****

“Thielemann, whose reading is satisfyingly spacious, reveals the work's structural mastery in intermingling and transforming its many themes. The excellent video director Michael Beyer expertly lays out the orchestra in front of us, following the music sensibly so that we can relish Strauss's detailed scoring...[Fleming] sings gloriously and the result is ravishing” Gramophone Magazine

“it is more fun to actually see the players (kudos to video director Michael Beyer) than merely to listen...And no one will accuse the reading [of Ein Alpensinfonie] of not being exciting and the playing superb...In all, this is clearly a treat for Straussians and Fleming fans; she has been both better and worse, but overall, she's lovely here.” International Record Review, September 2012

BBC Music Magazine

DVD/Blu-ray Choice - August 2012

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Opus Arte - OABD7101D

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Strauss, R: Die Frau ohne Schatten

Strauss, R: Die Frau ohne Schatten

Recorded live at the Salzburg Festival, July 2011


Stephen Gould (The Emperor), Anne Schwanewilms (The Empress), Michaela Schuster (The Nurse), Wolfgang Koch (Barak, the Dyer) & Evelyn Herlitzius (Barak’s Wife)

Concert Association of the Vienna State Opera Chorus, Salzburg Festival Children's Choir & Vienna Philharmonic, Christian Thielemann (conductor) & Christof Loy (stage director)

Already brimming with symbols and transformations, the epic fairytale recounted by Strauss and his librettist Hofmannsthal in Die Frau ohne Schatten acquires a further allegorical dimension in Christoph Loy’s inventive production for the Salzburg Festival. The central character, the Empress – half-spirit, half-human, and unable to bear children until she finds a shadow – here becomes a young soprano who makes a voyage of personal and professional discovery as she records the opera. A superb cast fulfils the complex vocal and dramatic demands of the piece while Christian Thielemann and the Vienna Philharmonic rise gloriously to the challenges of Strauss’s most ambitious and splendid operatic score.

Premiere recording of this production.

Christian Thielemann’s first opera performance at the Salzburg Festival.

First opera from Salzburg Festival to be released on Opus Arte.

Extra features include 'Christian Thielemann rehearses 'Die Frau Ohne Schatten', and cast gallery.

Running time: 220 minutes

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/ES

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“Evelyn Herlitzius and Wolfgang Koch inject drama as a couple experiencing marital difficulties...[the Empress] is central throughout, compellingly acted and luminously sung by the marvellous Anne Schwanewilms...Holding it all together are the clearly articulated text and a magic carpet of sound that's down with assurance by Christian Thielemann...Orchestral detail has tremendous clarity and the documentary extra includes pithy insights from cast and crew” BBC Music Magazine, July 2012 ****

“Loy's Personregie works well for nearly every singer...The VPO under Christian Thielemann is impeccable...[Thielemann] brings a perceptive though-line to this vast structure, and he cares as much about intimacy as about grandeur...The stand-out onstage is Michaela Schuster (Nurse), vocally magnificent and revelling in her characterization...Schwanewilms's Empress embodies dignified feminine beauty and dignity...her pristine timbre eminently suits the role.” International Record Review, June 2012

“As an exercise in demonstrating a director’s power, it’s strangely impressive; as a way of experiencing the opera, it’s persistently, excruciatingly frustrating.” Opera

“This production doesn’t actually stage the plot of the opera as such, but rather presents it as a series of recording sessions...It does make for an extremely static experience...Fortunately, though, the singing is consistently magnificent, and so you can just revel in a marvellous performance of one of Strauss’s most colourful scores.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, 9th July 2012

Presto Disc of the Week

9th July 2012

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Opus Arte - OABD7104D

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Monteverdi: L'incoronazione di Poppea

Monteverdi: L'incoronazione di Poppea

Recorded live at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona, February 2009


Miah Persson (Poppea), Sarah Connolly (Nerone), Jordi Domènech (Ottone), Franz-Josef Selig (Seneca), Maite Beaumont (Ottavia), Dominique Visse (Nutrice/Arnalta), Ruth Rosique (Drusilla), Guy de Mey (Lucano), William Berger (Valletto), Marisa Martins (La Fortuna/Pallas Athene/Venus), Judith van Wanroij (Damigella/La Virtu)

Baroque Orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Harry Bicket (conductor) & David Alden (stage director)

Love conquers all – ruthlessly and irresistibly – as Emperor Nero and his mistress Poppea remove the obstacles to their union. At Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu David Alden’s visually sumptuous production, with its suggestions of a giant game of chess, puts the opera’s potent blend of sex and politics in a context that sets ancient against modern– just as the action juxtaposes scurrilous comedy and stark drama. Monteverdi’s magnificent score, meanwhile, accommodates intrigue, wit, nobility, tragedy and sensuality, and, led by the intense Sarah Connolly and the delectable Miah Persson, the cast brings both drama and music startlingly to life.

Monteverdi's final masterpiece.

Harry Bicket is an internationally renowned early music specialist.

Sarah Connolly recently appeared in the BBC's Opera Italia series, performing a scene from Poppea.

Bicket says of Poppea, 'this is one of the best librettos ever written for an opera.'

Extra features include an illustrated synopsis and cast gallery.

Running time: 183 minutes

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/ES/Catalan

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“this Barcelona interpretation by [Alden] is almost Brechtian in the spare objectivity of its stage set, and Expressionist in its use of the shadowy, zombie-like figure of Time that shuffles across the back of the stage...Persson is a superb Poppea who can really act with her voice but whose body seems constrained by the direction...The orchestral accompaniments are nicely varied.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2012 ****

“a punchy 2009 performance of distinctively dark musical colouring...Nothing is overly camped up - even Dominique Visse in loud, bra-flashing drag...The whole is acutely paced and supported by Harry Bicket's orchestra, thei performance a reminder of how much progress has been made in the realisation of early Venetian opera in the last half-century...The hand-picked European cast is in fine fettle, Connolly's Nero outstanding” Gramophone Magazine, September 2012

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Opus Arte - OABD7105D

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Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin

Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin

Recorded live at De Nederlandse Opera, June & July, 2011


Olga Savova (Madame Larina), Krassimira Stoyanova (Tatjana), Elena Maximova (Olga), Nina Romanova (Filipjevna), Bo Skovhus (Jevgeni Onjegin), Andrej Dunaev (Vladimir Ljenski), Mikhail Petrenko (Vorst Gremin), Peter Arink (Petrovitsj), Roger Smeets (Zaretski), Guy de Mey (Monsieur Triquet) & Richard Prada (Zapevalo)

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Mariss Jansons (conductor) & Stefan Herheim (stage director)

Described by Tchaikovsky as ‘lyric scenes’, Eugene Onegin receives a spectacular reinterpretation from the Norwegian director Stefan Herheim. His productions create controversy and excitement around Europe, and here he takes Pushkin’s story of illusion, disaffection and frustrated love, and places the protagonists – world-weary Onegin and naïve, passionate Tatyana – in a triple temporal perspective, referencing the theatrical present, the period of the work’s composition, and the pageant of Russia’s history. Mariss Jansons, renowned for his mastery of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies, conducts this performance from Amsterdam’s Muziektheater.

‘Put too much steam into Tchaikovsky’s score and it wilts. Be too shy and retiring, on the other hand, and the tragic momentum evaporates. Jansons sets us on a simmer and gradually turns the heat to boiling. It is magisterially paced, stunningly played and, seemingly effortlessly, Jansons captures every aching nuance. […] Herheim’s innovations are often throbbingly acute (and sometimes wickedly funny).’ The Times

Extra features:

Cast gallery

30-Minute Documentary Film

Running time 151mins

Region Code All regions

Picture format 16:9 Anamorphic

Sound format 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

Menu languages EN

Subtitles EN/FR/DE/IT/ES

“Forget any sense of intimacy in Tchaikovsky's lyrical scenes in this Eugene Onegin; director Stefan Herheim's approach is one of kaleidoscopic excess...No doubt about it, though, this is musically world-class. Mariss Janson's conducting, very imposing in the big moments...accords with the broad brushstrokes of Herheim's production. But the singers are vocally near ideal. Krassimira Stoyanova's Tatyana is thrillingly secure as well as vulnerable” BBC Music Magazine, May 2012 ***

“Characters not only invade each other's memories but appear in fantasy form...Still, this isn't a Regie-Theater free for all...Herheim directs so many keen moments of character interactions that there's no danger of the opera lapsing into simplistic cliches...what a treat to hear an appealing, soft-grained version of [Skovhus's] voice in the title-role...what linguistic authority and depth of soul [Stoyanova] brings to the character!” Gramophone Magazine, July 2012

“Herheim sees the opera as a representation of memories...I suspect that this would be impossible to follow if you didn't know the opera beforehand...it's hard not to get caught up in the sheer chutzpah of the production...[Stoyanova] sails through the Letter Scene with plenty of fire...Star of the evening is the conductor Mariss Jansons. It's clear from the documentary that he loves the work..and he plays it with a rhythmic vitality” International Record Review, May 2012

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Opus Arte - OABD7100D

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Verdi: Macbeth

Verdi: Macbeth

Recorded live at The Royal Opera House, 13 June, 2011


Simon Keenlyside (Macbeth), Liudmyla Monastyrska (Lady Macbeth), Raymond Aceto (Banquo), Dmitri Pittas (Macduff), Nigel Cliffe (Servant), Steven Ebel (Malcolm), Elisabeth Meister (Lady-in-Waiting) & Lukas Jakobski (Doctor)

Royal Opera Chorus & Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Antonio Pappano (conductor) & Phyllida Lloyd (stage director)

Black, red, cream and gold are the colours that define Phyllida Lloyd’s Royal Opera House staging of Verdi’s robust, yet penetrating setting of Shakespeare’s Scottish play.

Manipulated by a whole coven of cunning, scarlet-turbanned witches, the characters often evoke figures in a splendid Gothic fresco. With Simon Keenlyside making his British role-debut, as an athletic, brooding Macbeth and Liudmyla Monastyrska as his Lady, both imperious and subtle, this performance, masterfully conducted by Antonio Pappano, goes far beyond mere sound and fury.

This production went out LIVE to cinema screens around the world.

…an impressive company showcase, full of moments when chorus and orchestra are at full throttle. Whipped up by Antonio Pappano's baton, they sound truly thrilling.’ The Guardian

Extra features:

Cast gallery

Interviews with Simon Keenlyside, Raymond Aceto and Liudmyla Monastyrska

Rehearsing Macbeth with Antonio Pappano

Running time 170 mins

Region Code All regions

Picture format 1080i High Definition / 16:9

Sound format 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

Menu languages EN

Subtitles EN/FR/DE/IT/ES

“Lloyd's Covent Garden staging of Verdi's opera has a good deal going for it; there's plenty of atmosphere in Anthony Ward's aptly dark-toned sets...Keenlyside sings the title role with imagination and insight, even if his lyric approach doesn't command the full cut and thrust of a true Verdi baritone...Pappano is an authoritative Verdian, punching the score out into the theatre.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2012 ****

“you know that Keenlyside is an accomplished lieder-singer by the dramatic precision in this phrase readings throughout (his Act 4 aria has such emotional transparency he almost breaks your heart)...Monastyrska unleashes such pent-up venom with her sharp-edged vocalism that the total package is almost too psychologically repulsive...the production is wonderfully atmospheric...Pappano is the most important artistic catalyst” Gramophone Magazine, July 2012

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Opus Arte Royal Opera House Collection - OABD7095D

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Mozart: Die Zauberflöte, K620

Mozart: Die Zauberflöte, K620

Recorded live at La Teatro alla Scala, 20 March, 2011


Günther Groissböck (Sarastro), Saimir Pirgu (Tamino), Albina Shagimuratova (Queen of the Night), Genia Kühmeier (Pamina), Ailish Tynan (Papagena), Alex Esposito (Papageno) & Peter Bronder (Monostatos)

Orchestra of Teatro alla Scala & Choir of the Accademia del Teatro alla Scala, Roland Böer (conductor) & William Kentridge (stage director)

From the Queen of the Night's vocal pyrotechnics to Papageno's chirpy birdsongs, The Magic Flute is one of Mozart's most charming and engaging operas. However, its fairytale surface conceals the mysteries of an initiation ritual and a multi-layered plot, packed with allegories to fire up the imagination.

This celebrated production by artist William Kentridge joyfully bursts onto the stage of Teatro alla Scala in Milan, featuring the dazzling Russian coloratura Albina Shagimuratova as the Queen of the Night, and Italian bass Alex Esposito as Papageno, one of the most sought after artists of his generation.

Extra features:

Overview of the Magic Flute

Cast gallery

Running time 150 mins

Region Code All regions

Picture format 1080i High Definition / 16:9

Sound format 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

Menu languages EN

Subtitles EN/FR/DE/IT

“This is a wonderful performance...I was more moved and enchanted by this than by any other Magic Flute I have seen on DVD...[Esposito's Papageno] sung with glorious abandon, while his acting strikes notes of pathos...Kuhmeier is as expressive as it's possible to be, without transgressing Mozart's idiom...The most sensational performance is by [Shagimuratova], the finest Queen of the Night I have ever heard...This is a noble, ennobling achievement.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2012

“It is world-worthy; the conception, by South African artist William Kentridge, emphasizes the concepts of light and dark, exploration and love...It's endlessly good to look at...Musically, there is also much to admire...Esposito's Papageno is a well-sung charmer - more serious than many, deeply sincere...this is a fascinating take on the work that Flute aficionados will appreciate for plenty of reasons.” International Record Review, March 2012

“It is very much 'producer's opera' and it will annoy some people. I found it fascinating...Lively musical direction, incorporating Rene Jacobs's superfluous keyboard interjections. Don't miss this visually enchanting and thought-provoking treat.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2012

GGramophone Magazine

Blu-ray of the Month - May 2012

BBC Music Magazine

DVD & Blu-ray Choice - April 2012

Blu-ray Disc

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Opus Arte La Scala Collection - OABD7099D

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Stravinsky: The Rake's Progress

Stravinsky: The Rake's Progress

Recorded live at the Glyndebourne Opera House, 18 & 19 December, 2010


Miah Persson (Anne Trulove), Topi Lehtipuu (Tom Rakewell), Clive Bayley (Father Trulove), Matthew Rose (Nick Shadow), Susan Gorton (Mother Goose), Elena Manistina (Baba the Turk) & Graham Clark (Sellem)

The Glyndebourne Chorus & London Philharmonic Orchestra, Vladimir Jurowski (conductor) & John Cox (director)

In this celebrated Glyndebourne Festival production, David Hockney’s designs for director John Cox reinterpret the Hogarth etchings that inspired the opera’s libretto, written for Stravinsky by W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman.

In 2010, this revival under Glyndebourne’s Music Director, Vladimir Jurowski, captured the opera’s neo-classical spirit and its juxtaposition of whimsy, cynicism and compassion, prompting the Financial Times to call it, ‘‘as enjoyable a performance of Stravinsky’s opera as any that has come along".

Extra features:

Documentary includes interview with David Hockney Introduction to the Rakes’s Progress Running time 150 mins

Region Code All regions

Picture format 1080i High Definition / 16:9

Sound format 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

Menu languages EN

Subtitles EN/FR/DE/ES

“Full of colour and light, and brimming with wit, this is a production that lifts the performers...Lehtipuu conveys [Tom's] fresh-faced innocence, making his gradual demise all the more heart-breaking. Bass Matthew Rose is not the most chilling Nick Shadow, but is all the more believable as an apparently supportive, and likeable, friend to Tom, until the veil drops...[Persson] underpins [Anne's] heartfelt love with a steely determination...An absolute triumph.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2012 *****

“It is hard to imagine a Tom Rakewell who looks the part better than the lanky, almost adolescent Topi Lehtipuu, his wide-eyed innocence an open invitation to corruption, and he sings the role with elegance. Miah Persson is almost his equal...The combination of Vladimir Jurowski and the London Philharmonic Orchestra ensures crisp ensemble of the highest quality.”” Gramophone Magazine, March 2012

“Star of the show - as she is so often - is Miah Persson, who turns out to be a radiant and steadfast Anne...[Lehtipuu] manages to give us a Tom whoe fundamentally endearing qualities shine through, even when he's at his most cocky...Matthew Rose's portrayal of Nick Shadow has been criticized in some quarters for its lack of venom, but I find that the mellifluous coating to his malevolence only adds to the effect.” International Record Review, February 2012

BBC Music Magazine

DVD/Blu-ray Choice - January 2012

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Opus Arte Glyndebourne - OAB7094D

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Pergolesi: Adriano in Siria

Pergolesi: Adriano in Siria

Pergolesi Spring Festival, Jesi, Ancona


Marina Comparato (Adriano), Lucia Cirillo (Emirena), Annamaria Dell’Oste (Farnaspe), Nicole Heaston (Sabina), Stefano Ferrari (Osroa) & Francesca Lombardi (Aquilio Tribuno)

Accademia Bizantina, Ottavio Dantone (conductor) & Ignacio García (director)

For the festivities marking the Pergolesi’s tercentenary in his native Jesi, Ignacio García created a new staging of the imperial drama Adriano in Siria. His staging in Jesi’s exquisite 18th-century Teatro Comunale Pergolesi includes the delightful comic intermezzo Livietta e Tracollo, thus following the precedent set at the premiere in 1734. A fine Italian cast and the distinguished Accademia Bizantina are led by the Accademia’s director, Ottavio Dantone.

Extra features:

Interview with Ottavio Dantone

Cast gallery

Running time 188 mins

Region Code All regions

Picture format 16:9 Anamorphic

Sound format 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

Menu languages EN

Subtitles EN/FR/DE

“This is the most impressive and engaging product of Pergolesi's anniversary year I've heard so far...[Annamaria dell'Oste] is more dramatically aware and dignified than simply dazzling: she never once plays to the gallery, or drops out of character...The orchestral playing is exceptionally fine, with the very tight ensemble vividly captured by the microphones.” International Record Review, January 2012

“Top marks go to conductor and director for giving the music space to breathe. The vocal cast is almost uniformly brilliant. The tension between unbridled feeling and duty's constraints - a tension that obsessed 18th-century audiences - simmers throughout, energising the extemporisation through which the singers develop character. Dell'Oste is in a class of her own: she turns coloratura into eloquent, heart-rending declarations” BBC Music Magazine, February 2012 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Blu-ray of the Month - February 2012

BBC Music Magazine

DVD & Blu-ray Choice - February 2012

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Opus Arte - OABD7098D

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Delibes: Coppelia

Delibes: Coppelia

Filmed live at the Palais Garnier, March 2011


Dorothée Gilbert (Swanilda), Mathias Heymann (Frantz), José Martinez (Coppélius) & Fabrice Bourgeois (Spalanzani)

The Paris Opera Corps de Ballet & Orchestre Colonne

Choreography Patrice Bart

Director Koen Kessels

Premiered by the Opera De Paris in 1870, and inspired by the fantastical writings of E.T.A. Hoffmann, Coppélia tells the story of a young man who becomes besotted with an exquisite automaton and is finally brought to his senses by his fiancée. In their production from the magnificent Palais Garnier, choreographer Patrice Bart in his final production and designer Ezio Toffolutti explore the story’s darker side while doing full justice to the exuberance and elegance of Delibes’ glorious score.

This production was screened in cinemas worldwide in March 2011

‘’The Paris Opera orchestra played sensuously for the conductor, Koen Kessels...costumes were extremely attractive, set theatrically striking. The dancers were models of self-presentation’’ New York Times

Extra features:

The mystery of Coppélia

Running time 124mins approx

Region Code All regions

Picture format 1080i High Definition / 16:9

Sound format 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

Menu languages EN

Subtitles EN/FR/DE/ES

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Opus Arte - OABD7093D

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Talbot, J: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Talbot, J: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Recorded live at the Royal Opera House, 9th March, 2011


Lauren Cuthbertson (Alice), Sergei Polunin (Jack/The Knave of Hearts), Edward Watson (Lewis Carroll/The White Rabbit), Zenaida Yanowsky (Mother/The Queen of Hearts) & Steven Macrae (Mad Hatter)

Orchestra of The Royal Opera House, Barry Wordsworth

Choreography Christopher Wheeldon.

Lewis Carroll’s ever-popular story provides the basis for Christopher Wheeldon’s spectacular new work, starring Royal Ballet Principal Lauren Cuthbertson. Captivating designs by Bob Crowley, an engaging and passionate score by Joby Talbot, and Wheeldon’s breathtaking choreography combine to produce in the words of The Times “spectacular family entertainment brought to life with enormous theatrical verve.’’

It was broadcast on the BBC over the Easter period.

The production will be revived at the Royal Opera House in Spring 2012.

Extra features:

Documentary about ‘Being Alice’

Running time 120 mins approx

Region Code All regions

Picture format 1080i High Definition / 16:9

Sound format 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

Menu languages EN

Subtitles EN/FR/DE/ES

“What a treat this is - such an imaginative treatment of a favourite story. There are extraordinary, eccentric sets and special effects; colourful, larger-than-life, argumentative characters and extraordinary costumes. Lauren Cuthbertson, as Alice, is excellent, her every movement suggesting the actions and emotions of this curious, spirited pre-adolescent... Christopher Wheeldon’s choreography is very imaginative and fitting for every character” MusicWeb International, August 2012

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Opus Arte Royal Opera House Collection - OABD7090D

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$35.25

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