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Bruckner: Symphony No. 7 & Wolf: Lieder

Bruckner: Symphony No. 7 & Wolf: Lieder

Recorded live at Semperoper Dresden, September 2012


Bruckner:

Symphony No. 7 in E Major

Strauss, R:

Befreit, Op. 39 No. 4

Wolf, H:

Verborgenheit (No. 12 from Mörike-Lieder)

Renée Fleming (soprano)

Er ist's (No. 6 from Mörike-Lieder)

Renée Fleming (soprano)

Elfenlied (No. 16 from Mörike-Lieder)

Renée Fleming (soprano)

Anakreons Grab (No. 29 from Goethe-Lieder)

Renée Fleming (soprano)

Mignon II 'Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt' (No. 6 from Goethe-Lieder)

Renée Fleming (soprano)


The Dresden Staatskapelle has a living Bruckner tradition, stretching back a century and more, which is lovingly curated by its new music director, Christian Thielemann, who is himself a powerful advocate for the composer’s symphonies as the pinnacle of the Austro-German tradition; and in particular for the Wagnerian resonances of the Seventh, whose Adagio was shaped by news of Wagner’s death in Venice. Hugo Wolf was also deeply affected by that news; his songs, like Bruckner’s symphonies, can be seen as oblique reflections on the influence of Wagner, especially when sung, as they are here by Renée Fleming, with the utmost delicacy and intimacy.

Christian Thielemann’s first concert as Principal Conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden.

Both Thielemann and Fleming are renowned interpreters of Romantic repertoire.

Bruckner’s 7th Symphony premiered in 1884 to universal acclaim & established him as a serious composer of symphonic music, Wolf’s Songs were composed four years later.

Wolf was a great admirer of Bruckner and both idolized Wagner, whose influence is felt in the 7th Symphony.

Running time: 106 minutes

Subtitles N/A

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“Thielemann's interpretation of Bruckner's Seventh Symphony is majestic and clean, as expected, though it falls just short of the cumulative power that the audience's warm reception suggests. The camera's close scrutiny underlines how minimal his conducting can be.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2013 ****

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Meyerbeer: Robert Le Diable

Meyerbeer: Robert Le Diable

Recorded live at the Royal Opera House, December 2012


Bryan Hymel (Robert), Patrizia Ciofi (Isabelle), John Relyea (Bertram), Marina Poplavskaya (Alice), Nicolas Courjal (Alberti), David Butt Philip (Master of Ceremonies), Pablo Bemsch (Second Chevalier/Herald), Ashley Riches (Prince of Granada), Jihoon Kim (Fourth Chevalier/Priest), Jean-Francois Borras (Raimbaut) & Dušica Bijelic (Lady-in-waiting to Isabelle)

Royal Opera Chorus & Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Daniel Oren (conductor) & Laurent Pelly (director)

A grand opera that dominated the stages of Europe for most of the 19th century, Robert le diable is a masterpiece.

Director Laurent Pelly breathes new life into Giacomo Meyerbeer’s great spectacle and audaciously entertaining moral fable, in this colourful new staging for The Royal Opera. The wonderful score includes brilliant arias, dramatic ensembles, rousing choruses and a ballet of ghostly nuns, and with the wavering hero of the title sung by Bryan Hymel, acclaimed for his role as Énée in Les Troyens for The Royal Opera and the Metropolitan Opera, this is an unmissable experience.

Premiered in 1831, it was one of the first grand operas staged at the Paris Opéra.

Meyerbeer’s European fame was initiated with “Robert” – performed 470 times in Paris alone by the time of the composer’s death in 1864.

“It is a masterpiece...Meyerbeer has made himself immortal” (Frédéric Chopin)

Extra features: ‘The legacy of Robert le diable, and a cast gallery.

Running time: 122 minutes

Subtitles EN/FR/DE/JP/KR

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“Meyerbeer's vocal writing demands virtuoso singing, and receives that here. Bryan Hymel hurls himself unstintingly at the title role, impossible high notes and all. Marina Poplavskaya suggests the spiritual inspiration of Alice, while Patrizia Ciofi is a worthwhile if mature Isabelle.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2013 ***

“Hymel deals skilfully with the title-role, reaching up to the high Cs, even at one point a D, with impressive ease. His nemesis, the devilish Bertram, is firmly sung by bass John Relyea...Ciofi rises to some heartfelt singing in Isabelle's big solo...Oren gets excellent contributions from the orchestra and chorus” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

“[Ciofi] makes a vital impression with her fluent coloratura, gentle cantilena, good legato, intelligent phrasing and pleasing tone. With her timbre contrasting with Poplavskaya's fuller sound, Ciofi is a huge plus mark...[Hymel] makes a pretty impressive job as he takes everything in his vocal stride.” International Record Review, September 2013

“[Hymel's] voice has a burnished, heroic quality above the stave that sounds very good...Ciofi does a brilliant job as Isabelle...but the chief hero is John Relyea’s Bertram...The cavernous depths of his voice sound bottomless...If you want Robert le Diable then this is the version to get”” MusicWeb International, 8th October 2013

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Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro, K492

Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro, K492

Recorded live at Glyndebourne Festival, June 2012


Sally Matthews (Countess Almaviva), Vito Priante (Figaro), Audun Iversen (Count Almaviva), Lydia Teuscher (Susanna), Isabel Leonard (Cherubino), Andrew Shore (Bartolo), Ann Murray (Marcellina), Alan Oke (Don Basilio), Nicholas Folwell (Antonio), Colin Judson (Don Curzio), Sarah Shafer (Barbarina), Ellie Laugharne (First Bridesmaid) & Katie Bray (Second Bridesmaid)

The Glyndebourne Chorus & Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Robin Ticciati (conductor) & Michael Grandage (director)

Perhaps no opera is closely and affectionately associated with a single house as Le nozze di Figaro is with Glyndebourne. Effortlessly witty yet shot through with pain and sadness, this deeply ambivalent life in the day of masters and servants as they scheme and outwit one another was Glyndebourne’s opening production in 1934. Michael Grandage’s staging is the seventh, set in a louche Sixties ambience. Marshalled by the ‘ideal pacing’ of Robin Ticciati, a youthful cast of principals has ‘no weak link’ and ‘looks gorgeous’ (The Sunday Times) in a production that continues Glyndebourne’s rewarding history of engagement with Mozart’s and da Ponte’s ‘day of madness’.

Glyndebourne's "signature" work, Le nozze di Figaro was the opening production when the theatre re-opened in 1994.

The production is set the 1960s/70s.

Extra features include: ‘The Greatest Opera Ever Written’ and ‘From page to stage’.

Running time: 180 minutes

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/JP/KR

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“Grandage's 2011 Glyndebourne production excels where it matters: in the truthfulness and warmth of these very human characters' interrelationships...Priante is simply the best [Figaro] I've seen...Ticciati, drawing a non-stop vivacity from the OAE, with horns splendidily vivid, gives his singers space when they need it.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2013 ****

“Ticciati paces almost everything superbly, with good, flowing speeds for the letter duet and 'Deh Vieni'. There are no weak links in the predominantly young cast...Matthews as the Countess is outstanding.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2013

“The absolutely natural stage action eschews slapstick and vulgarity and the singers seem more than happy to adapt...[Priante's] stage presence and singing are extraordinary...Teuscher's Susanna is a rich-voiced, non-soubrette, observant Countess-in-the-making...Leonard's Cherubino is perfect - boyish and sassy and nimble.” International Record Review, June 2013

“Priante is a superb Figaro, perfectly focused of voice and with great stage presence...Teuscher provides a perfectly idiomatic, light-voiced but intensely human Susanna...The OAE is on blistering form throughout...It is fitting that Glyndebourne's most recent Figaro has been captured so effectively, and in the pristine medium of Blu-Ray.” MusicWeb International, 12th March 2014

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Scarlatti, G: Dove è amore è gelosia

Scarlatti, G: Dove è amore è gelosia

Recorded live at The National Theatre, Prague Summer 2011


Lenka Máciková (Marquise Clarice, widow), Aleš Briscein (Count Orazio), Katerina Knežíková (Vespetta), Jaroslav Brezina (Patrizio), Bohumil Klepl (Servant) & Tatána Kupcová (Marquise)

Schwarzenberg Court Orchestra, Vojtech Spurný (conductor) & Ondrej Havelka (director)

Rebellious servants, capricious lovers, cross-dressing farce and a happy ending: the fast paced action of this comic Baroque opera had all the ingredients to please the self-confessed ‘low-brow taste’ of an Austro-German prince, who commissioned Giuseppe Scarlatti for a piece to celebrate his son’s wedding. This is the opera’s first revival in modern times, and it takes place in the very same Baroque theatre, impeccably restored to its original glory, which hosted the first performance. With a cast of young singers drawn from Prague’s National Theatre and a stylish period-instrument ensemble, this vivid reconstruction will delight audiences as much today as it did the aristocratic guests at Ceský Krumlov in 1768.

Composer Giuseppe Scarlatti (1723-1777), was related to Alessandro and Domenico Scarlatti.

Comic opera performed in the Cesky Krumlov Theatre, where it was premiered in 1768.

Theatre is a fully restored Baroque theatre, complete with authentic stage machinery, props and scenery.

Performed by candlelight.

‘WINNER OF THE HAVEL FOUNDATION AWARD 2012’ – the top artistic prize in the Czech Republic.

Extra feautures include: A Jewel of the Baroque - The story of the Castle Theatre in Ceský Krumlov.

Running time: 138 minutes

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/JP/KR

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

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Janacek: The Cunning Little Vixen

Janacek: The Cunning Little Vixen

Recorded live at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, June 2012


Lucy Crowe (Vixen), Emma Bell (Fox), Sergei Leiferkus (Forester), William Dazeley (Harasta), Mischa Schelomianski (Badger/Parson), Jean Rigby (Forester's Wife/Owl), Adrian Thompson (Schoolmaster/Mosquito), Colin Judson (Pásek, Innkeeper), Sarah Pring (Innkeeper’s Wife)

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Glyndebourne Chorus, Vladimir Jurowski (conductor) & Melly Still (director)

Sung in Czech with subtitles in English, French, German and Korean.

The tale of a quick witted fox and her escape from confinement for a life in the forest that is by turns joyful and violent, The Cunning Little Vixen is an unsentimental parable of death and rebirth that lives through the instinctive and immediate world of nature, animal and human, which Janacek loved so much.

Melly Still's production for Glyndebourne finds the 'delicate balance between whimsy and mysticism' (Daily Telegraph) at the heart of the opera, which Vladimir Jurowski conducts 'with lustrous style: you can hear the birds in the score, feel the sunshine and thrill to the starlit night sky in the final scene' (Opera Today).

Running Time: 119 minutes

Subtitles EN/FR/DE/KR

Sound format: 2.0LPCD plus 5.1(5.0) DTS

“Still, with her background in choreography and a very visceral take on children's theatre, is an ideal director. There's nothing cutesy about her treatment of the animal characters...Jurowski allows this extraordinary score to glitter and sing, his orchestral interludes breathe luminescence. Both Emma Bell (the Fox) and Crowe blaze beside Leiferkus's poignant Forester.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2013 *****

“I was entranced throughout. The work's humour is realized extremely well but so is its more serious side...aside from Mackerras...I've never heard the opera conducted with such colour, wit, detail and dramatic urgency...Crowe's Vixen is vocally completely secure and delightfully and sharply characterized...[in the closing scene] there is just the right sense of pantheistic rapture...an outstanding achievement.” International Record Review, May 2013

“Crowe particularly balances the contrasting elements of her character with skill. Sergei Leiferkus’s Forester is the other character underpinning this performance, his baritone, though aged, catches just the right element of humanity to express Janácek’s life view. Vladimir Jurowski relishes the lush orchestral palette he is given, and the score is played beautifully by the LPO” Opera Now ****

“Still's unsentimental production plays up the dance elements in the music, well supported by Vladimir Jurowski in the pit. Lucy Crowe is a feisty, boho Vixen and the sonorous Russian baritone Sergei Leiferkus (well into his sixties by this point) ideal casting as the Forester. The supporting roles receive tender loving care from some of the best British singers around.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, May 2014

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Britten: Peter Grimes

Britten: Peter Grimes

Recorded live at the Teatro all Scala, June 2012


John Graham-Hall (Peter Grimes), Susan Gritton (Ellen Orford), Christopher Purves (Balstrode), Felicity Palmer (Auntie), Ida Falk Winland (First Niece), Simona Mihai (Second Niece), Peter Hoare (Bob Boles), Daniel Okulitch (Swallow), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (Mrs. Sedley), Christopher Gillett (Rev. Horace Adams), George Von Bergen (Ned Keene)

Orchestra e Coro del Teatro alla Scala, Robin Ticciati (conductor) & Richard Jones (director)

The Italian and international press were unanimous in their praise for Peter Grimes at La Scala, which revived the tradition of Britten's operas on the lyric stages of Italy. A strong British cast was marshalled by the baton of Robin Ticciati, who has already won golden opinions for his opera conducting.

Richard Jones's production focuses on the fisherman as the outsider in a brutal society, cut off by mutual suspicion and misunderstanding: an unforgettable production of an opera that never loses its power.

Extra feature: Interviews with cast and crew.

Running time: 168 minutes

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/JP/KR

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“the pride and joy of Richard Jones's production, not to be missed, is its unerring grasp of the psychology and tiered relationship of all the characters. ...Ticciati eschews the weighty, rather Germanic approach of older conductors...concentrating (like Goodall or Hickox) on rhythmic and instrumental subtleties” Gramophone Magazine, July 2013

“Jones’s production is uncompromising in its hard- hitting emotionalism...The cast isn’t a series of grotesques but a collection of cameos most of us would recognise in our own daily lives. Robin Ticciati conducts a detailed and loving account of the score, and La Scala’s orchestra responds with depth of feeling.” Opera Now ****

“Jones has instilled in his singing actors a level of detail and a harrowing believability one is more accustomed to encountering in spoken drama...Gritton's Ellen is remarkable...[Graham-Hall ] lives his role - earnest, lonely, impulsive, with a desperate desire for acceptance...Ticciati is in full control from the start.” International Record Review, June 2013

“[Grimes is] no tough fisherman but a seedy inadequate cringing from the local teenagers, and suggesting all too contemporary abuse problems. John Graham-Hall evokes his contorted inner life superbly, but with leaner tones than competitors on video.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2013 ***

GGramophone Magazine

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Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64

Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64

Recorded live at the Royal Opera House, March 2012


Federico Bonelli (Romeo), Lauren Cuthbertson (Juliet), Alexander Campbell (Mercutio), Bennet Gartside (Tybalt), Dawid Trzensimiech (Benvolio), Vale Rihristov (Paris), Christopher Saunders (Lord Capulet), Christina Arestis (Lady Capulet) & Gary Avis (Escalus Prince of Verona)

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Barry Wordsworth

Choreography Kenneth MacMillan.

Given its premiere by The Royal Ballet in 1965 with Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn dancing the title roles, Kenneth MacMillan’s first full-evening ballet has become a signature work for the Company, enjoying great popularity around the world. From the outset, the production teems with life and colour as the townspeople, market traders and servants of the rival Montagues and Capulets go about their daily business in vibrant crowd scenes. But Romeo and Juliet take centre stage for those great pas de deux: the meeting in the ballroom, the balcony scene, the morning after the wedding and the final devastating tomb scene. Although The Royal Ballet has performed Romeo and Juliet over 400 times, each performance and pairing is subtly different, and Lauren Cuthbertson and Federico Bonelli are utterly captivating in the title roles. This performance was broadcast live from Covent Garden to cinemas worldwide.

Kenneth MacMillan's first full-evening ballet has become one of The Royal Ballet's signature works.

This production was one of the big successes of last season’s Royal Opera House Live Cinema Season.

Acclaimed performances by star principals, Lauren Cuthbertson and Federico Bonelli.

Extra features: Documentaries on Kenneth MacMillan's production, and "Sharps, Points and Pirouettes" the famous sword fight scene.

Includes deluxe slipcase.

Running time: 158 minutes

Subtitles (extra features only): EN/FR/DE/IT/ES/PT/JP

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

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Gluck: Iphigénie en Aulide & Iphigénie en Tauride

Gluck: Iphigénie en Aulide & Iphigénie en Tauride

Recorded live at De Nederlandse Opera, September 2011


Gluck:

Iphigénie en Aulide

Véronique Gens (Iphigénie), Salomé Haller (Diane), Nicolas Testé (Agamemnon) & Anne Sofie von Otter (Clytemnestre)

Iphigénie en Tauride

Mireille Delunsch (Iphigénie), Laurent Alvaro (Thoas), Jean-François Lapointe (Oreste), Yann Beuron (Pylade) & Salomé Haller (Diane)


Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble & Chorus of De Nederlandse Opera, Marc Minkowski (conductor) & Pierre Audi (stage director)

Two late and baleful tragedies by Euripides focus on the ill-starred daughter of the Greek King, Agamemnon. Will he sacrifice Iphigenia in order to secure fair winds for his voyage to Troy? In Aulis, the drama rages until she is spared. Having escaped to Tauris, Iphigenia finds herself compelled to kill her own brother before, once more, the fickle gods intervene.

Gluck's operatic settings are very rarely staged together, but Pierre Audi's production makes a darkly compelling case for their dramatic unity. All the lead performers here are experienced exponents of Gluck, and together they present a powerfully idiomatic experience.

First ever release together on DVD/Blu-ray.

Iphigénie en Aulide has never been issued before on DVD/Blu-ray.

Top international cast includes Véronique Gens as Iphigénie and Anne Sofie von Otter as Clytemnestre.

Marc Minkowski & Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble have been widely acclaimed for their Gluck performances.

Running time: 267 minutes

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/DU/KO

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“in this performance every cross-hatched, baleful figure is crisp and clear...Veronique Gens's submissive, poised Iphigénie [en Aulide] becomes Mireille Delunsch's red-eyed, hysterical Iphigénie en Tauride...Both sopranos sing magnificently despite Audi's over-stylised movement direction” BBC Music Magazine, May 2013 *****

“[von Otter] presents a deeply sympathetic character...[Gens's] Iphigenia is equally touching and just as beautifully sung...one or two [production] oddities are far outweighed by the intensity that Pierre Audi secures from his team. Minkowski conducts superbly.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2013

“Some of the finest French Classical stylists around come together under the baton of Marc Minkowski on this double-bill of Gluck's two 'Iphigénie' operas...Anne Sofie von Otter is a magnetic Clytemnestre.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, July 2014

GGramophone Magazine

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Dukas: Ariane et Barbe-Bleue

Dukas: Ariane et Barbe-Bleue

Recorded live at Gran Teatre del Liceu, June & July 2011


José van Dam (Barbe-Bleue), Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet (Ariane), Patricia Bardon (Nurse), Gemma Coma-Alabert (Sélysette), Beatriz Jiménez (Ygraine), Elena Copons (Mélisande), Salomé Haller (Bellangère) & Alba Valldaura (Alladine)

Orchestra and Chorus of the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Stéphane Denève (conductor) & Claus Guth (director)

Ariane et Barbe-bleue makes its premiere on Blu-ray.

Stéphane Denève is universally acclaimed for his interpretation of French repertoire.

This is the twelfth release from the Liceu-Opus Arte partnership.

Dukas's opera Ariane et Barbe-bleue, based on Maeterlinck's symbolist version of the classic tale, sees free spirit Ariane become the sixth wife of the infamous Barbe-bleue, who gives his new bride seven keys to seven doors, but prohibits the use of the last. Ariane discovers an array of glittering jewels behind the first six doors, but a terrifying reality awaits her as she unlocks the seventh.

José van Dam is cast as the villainous Barbe-bleue, while taking on the immensely demanding role of Ariane - who does not leave the stage throughout the entire opera - is American soprano Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet.

Running time: 120 minutes

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/ES/IT/CA/JP

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“Charbonnet copes well with the extreme demands of Ariane, while Patricia Bardon is excellent as the nurse and it is wonderful to have Jose van Dam for Barbe-Bleu's handful of lines. Most of all, Stéphane Denève's pacing and handling of orchestral texture are spot-on. One to hear with the screen off.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2013 ***

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Handel: Deidamia

Handel: Deidamia

Recorded live at the De Nederlandse Opera, March & April 2012


Sally Matthews (Deidamia), Veronica Cangemi (Nerea), Olga Pasichnyk (Achille), Silvia Tro Santafé (Ulisse), Andrew Foster-Williams (Fenice), Umberto Chiummo (Licomede) & Jan-Willem Schaafsma (Nestore)

Concerto Köln, Ivor Bolton (conductor) & David Alden (director)

DNO presents a new production of Händel's last Italian opera, Deidamia, staged by the American David Alden. No known literary source has been linked directly to this opera, which is set at the time of the Trojan War. After an oracle has predicted the death of Achilles at Troy, Achilles disguises himself as a woman and takes refuge at the court of Lycomedes, whose daughter Deidamia falls in love with the young Greek. Amorous developments and tricks of disguise expose the truth and Achilles is forced to take his place at the side of his countrymen in the battle against the Trojans. Comedy and tragedy are bedfellows in this opera, and the title role in particular covers the entire expressive spectrum, from flirtatious love song to heartfelt lament.

Premiere of this opera on DVD & Blu-ray.

Performed by Concerto Köln, a period instrument orchestra.

This latest release demonstrates the breadth of productions performed by De Nederlandse Opera.

Running time: 208 minutes

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/NE

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“Alden's approach is lightly ironic, matching well with a piece that treats its material with a knowing air...Ivor Bolton and Concerto Koln provide the expert musical underpinning. Sally Matthews shines as a vocally and physically poised Deidamia, Olga Pasichnyk emphasises the lusty young man hiding beneath Achille's skirts, and Silvia Tro Santafe's Ulisse presents him with a credible rival.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2013 ****

“David Alden's jokey, modern-dress production is entertaining without quite persuading one that the opera's neglect is undeserved...Sally Matthews is perfect as Deidamia: saucy in 'Nasconde l'usignol', heartfelt in 'M'hai resa infelice'...Ivor Bolton conducts with passion: splendid sforzandos in another intense aria, 'Se il timore'.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2013

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