Blu-ray Discs

Benjamin Britten (1913-76)

Prices shown exclude VAT. (UK tax is not payable for deliveries to United States.)
See Terms & Conditions for p&p rates.

Britten‘s War Requiem: 50th anniversary in Coventry

Britten‘s War Requiem: 50th anniversary in Coventry


Britten:

War Requiem, Op. 66

Live Recording from Coventry Cathedral, 30 May 2012


2012 brings the 50th anniversary of the premiere of Britten‘s War Requiem, one of the most powerful pacifist statements in music. The first performance took place in 1962 in the newly consecrated Coventry Cathedral, built alongside the ruins of the old cathedral, left as a sombre reminder of the wartime bombings. On 30 May 2012, 50 years to the day, Britten‘s masterpiece returns to the cathedral, performed as at the premiere by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and vocal soloists from three once warring nations.

The anniversary performance is conducted by the CBSO‘s Music Director, Andris Nelsons, featuring the Canadian soprano Erin Wall, English tenor Mark Padmore singing the role written for Peter Pears, and German baritone Hanno Müller-Brachmann. Choral forces are provided by the CBSO Chorus and Youth Chorus. Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) was commissioned to compose a work for the inauguration in 1962 of Coventry’s new cathedral, adjoining the old cathedral that had been bombed and nearly completely destroyed by the German Luftwaffe at the beginning of World War II in November 1940. The commission gave Britten complete freedom to choose the type of music to compose. He conceived of setting the traditional Latin Mass for the Dead interwoven with nine poems by the English poet Wilfred Owen, who had been killed in World War I. It has become one of the defining masterpieces of the twentieth century: a devastating meditation on the pity of war that is every bit as relevant today.

"The light-filled building was used to full effect. The CBSO Youth Chorus was positioned at the high altar beneath Graham Sutherland's Christ in Glory tapestry, all golden section and green resurrection...Padmore sang with visionary intensity. Müller-Brachmann maintained an unadorned simplicity of expression." Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, on the live performance

Sound Format: PCM Stereo, dts-HD Master Audio 5.1 (Blu-ray)

Picture Format: 16:9, 1080i FULL HD

Audio Languages: Sung in Latin and English

Subtitle Languages: GB, DE, FR, ES

Running Time: 97 mins

FSK: 0

“The three soloists are not, perhaps, quite as eminently as the originals, but they're all excellent...[Nelsons's] un-English reading, more tautly controlled and vigorous than Britten's own, reveals unexpected hues and beauties in the score. This never drags, despite so much inner darkness, and the camera enhances the performance” BBC Music Magazine, January 2013 *****

“[Padmore] is simply outstanding...Erin Wall projects the soprano part extremely well...Orchestra and choirs played their parts admirably but the overall accolade...must go to Andris Nelsons for the wonderful way in which he holds the whole thing together.” MusicWeb International, January 2013

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

Arthaus Musik - 108070

(Blu-ray)

$35.50

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Britten: Billy Budd

Britten: Billy Budd


John Mark Ainsley (Captain Vere), Jacques Imbrailo (Billy Budd), Phillip Ens (Claggart), Iain Paterson (Mr Redburn), Matthew Rose (Mr Flint), Darren Jeffery (Lieutenant Ratcliffe), Alasdair Elliott (Red Whiskers), John Moore (Donald), Jeremy White (Dansker), Ben Johnson (Novice), Colin Judson (Squeak) & Richard Mosley-Evans (Bosun)

The Glyndebourne Chorus & London Philharmonic Orchestra, Mark Elder (conductor) & Michael Grandage (director)

Read Presto's complete review of this recording here.

Glyndebourne has a proud association with the operas of Benjamin Britten, however until 2010 had never staged Billy Budd. The all-male opera with a libretto co-written by EM Forster, is based on the battle between pure good and blind evil, and is set on a British man-‘o-war ship.

Michael Grandage, Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse, chose this work to make his long-awaited operatic debut. Sir Mark Elder returned to conduct, marking the 100th opera production in his illustrious career.

Extra features:

Introducing Billy Budd

Designs on Billy Budd

Running time 200 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

“none of the camera’s interventions disturb the sweep of Michael Grandage’s carefully realistic production...you’re still sucked inside the drama, especially if you watch on a widescreen TV...[Imbrailo] is as ardent and puppyish as you could wish...the London Philharmonic revel in the baleful drums, salty woodwinds, and dark beauty of Britten’s score. On DVD as much as in the opera house, this is a Billy Budd to remember.” The Times, 29th April 2011 ****

“[Elder paces] the developing tragedy with airily lyrical detail and brooding, ominous power. John Mark Ainsley' s plangent, dark-toned tenor and intense diction show us a more neurotic Vere than usual...Phillip Ens's Claggart maintains a chilly calm, sadistic philosopher rather than snarling bully...[Imbrailo's Billy] is no plaster saint but gauche, hyperactive and open-hearted...this is the most compelling Billy Budd on video, and superb in Blu-ray.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2011 *****

“Truly, we live in a golden age of great opera recordings where a performance of Britain’s masterpiece -- perhaps his greatest operatic achievement outside Peter Grimes -- can be set down in an edition as exemplary as this. Singing, staging and recording are all non-pareil.” london24.com, 17th June 2011

“Elder's unerring sense of theatre puts him absolutely at one with the stage in every episode. He's clearly the guiding spirit of this Billy Budd. The production has been directed with laudable unobtrusiveness by Michael Grandage. Everything is executed with the utmost sensitivity, and there are some telling original touches...Video director Francois Rousillon does exceptional work here, with the precision of HD a constant pleasure. Opus Arte's recorded sound is superb” International Record Review, July/August 2011

“Jacques Imbrailo fields just the right youthful lyric baritone and sings Billy's solo below decks beautifully. John Mark Ainsley gets to the heart of Vere, every close-up showing an artist immersed in his role, and Phillip Ens sings gravely as a Claggart who seems sadly resigned to his lot, rather than an active force of destruction” Gramophone Magazine, September 2011

“the realisation of the decks of a man-o’-war seem even more claustrophobic than it was at Glyndebourne. The casting is immaculate, the choral singing is overpowering, and you can almost feel the salt spray flying off Mark Elder’s magnificent conducting.” The Telegraph, 2nd December 2011

Presto Disc of the Week

23rd May 2011

BBC Music Magazine

DVD Choice - July 2011

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2012

DVD Finalist

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

Opus Arte Glyndebourne - OABD7086D

(Blu-ray)

$35.50

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Britten: Death in Venice

Britten: Death in Venice

Recorded live at The London Coliseum, June 2013


John Graham-Hall (Gustav von Aschenbach), Andrew Shore (Traveller/Elderly Fop/Gondolier/Barber/ Hotel Manager Player/Dionysus), Tim Mead (Apollo), Sam Zaldivar (Tadzio), Laura Caldow (The Polish Mother), Mia Angelina Mather/Xhuliana Shehu (Her Two Daughters), Joyce Henderson (The Governess), Marcio Teixeira (Jaschiu, Tadzio’s friend)

Orchestra and Chorus of the English National Opera, Edward Gardner (conductor) & Deborah Warner (director)

Deborah Warner’s beautiful and evocative production of Britten’s final operatic masterpiece has been acclaimed as an ‘exquisitely achieved marriage of music, drama and design’ (The Independent). In Britten’s luminous and compelling interpretation of Thomas Mann’s classic novella, the ageing writer Gustav von Aschenbach’s infatuation with the Polish boy Tadzio and his subsequent decline are portrayed in a ‘remarkable and harrowingly believable’ performance (The Guardian) by John Graham-Hall, who had already won golden opinions for singing the role of Aschenbach at La Scala. The superb ENO chorus and orchestra are conducted by Edward Gardner, a long-standing champion of Britten’s music.

Running time: 153 minutes

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/KO

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“Deborah Warner directs this visually stunning but emotionally harrowing ENO production. John Graham-Hall is totally convincing as the ageing writer Aschenbach, struggling with his obsession with the young Tadzio, and Edward Gardner conducts a haunting rendition of the score” Maurice Millward, Presto Classical, March 2014

“Warner’s production is worthy of this magnificent work, and she has secured disciplined and stylish performances from her cast. Visually it is both stunning and haunting...So much depends on the role of Aschenbach, and here John Graham-Hall does a fine job...Andrew Shore is superb; he manages to give each one an individuality...So is this the best ‘Death in Venice’ on DVD? I suspect it is, for it is very fine.” MusicWeb International, 3rd June 2014

“It's not often one can say a production is improved by viewing on a small screen but, for me, this one was...Graham-Hall is a real stage-animal, convincing us utterly of his descent into obsession...Above all, every colour, timbre and texture of this richly imaginative score comes blazing through under Gardner's baton.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2014 ****

“Warner’s production for ENO manages to solve pretty much every problem she faces...the lighting by Jean Kalman is exquisite...[Graham-Hall's] singing is clear, his diction crisp and he outlines every nuance of the role – it’s a subtle tour de force...Gardner's conducting underpins everything with refinement.” Opera Now *****

Presto Discs of 2014

Finalist

GGramophone Awards 2015

Finalist - Opera

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

Opus Arte - OABD7141D

(Blu-ray)

$35.50

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Britten: Death in Venice

Britten: Death in Venice

Recorded in Venice


Marlin Miller (Gustav von Aschenbach), R.-François Bitar (Voice of Apollo), Scott Hendricks (Traveller and other roles), Alessandro Riga (Tadzio), Danilo Palmieri (Jaschiu), Sabrina Vianello (Strawberry seller and other roles) & Liesbeth Devos (Lace seller and other roles)

Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro La Fenice, Bruno Bartoletti (conductor) & Pier Luigi Pizzi (director)

World Premiere on Blu-Ray

Dynamic presents Death in Venice on Blu-Ray following the success of Death in Venice on DVD (2010).

"It is unlikely we will see another Death in Venice to rival this one visually for a long time. Highly recommended.” (Richard Fairman, Gramophone)

Subtitles: Fre, Ger, Spa, Ita

Notes: Ita, Eng

Duration: 155 Min

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

Dynamic - 55608

(Blu-ray)

$35.50

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Britten: Gloriana

Britten: Gloriana

Recorded live at the Royal Opera House, June 2013


Susan Bullock (Queen Elizabeth I), Toby Spence (Earl of Essex), Patricia Bardon (Countess of Essex), Mark Stone (Lord Mountjoy), Kate Royal (Lady Rich), Jeremy Carpenter (Sir Robert Cecil), Clive Bayley (Sir Walter Raleigh) & Brindley Sherratt (Ballad Singer)

Royal Opera Chorus & Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Paul Daniel (conductor) & Richard Jones (director)

Central to the Royal Opera's centenary celebrations marking the birth of Benjamin Britten was Richard Jones's witty and insightful new production of the royal operatic pageant that Britten wrote to honour the Coronation, exploring the late life, love and death of Queen Elizabeth I. With powerfully characterised performances by Susan Bullock as Queen Elizabeth and Toby Spence as the dashing and treacherous Earl of Essex, Gloriana is revealed as at once a celebration and a tragedy.

Commissioned by the Royal Opera House in 1953 to mark the Coronation of Elizabeth II.

Richard Jones’ production is set as a 1950s parish hall performance of the Elizabethan drama.

Extra features: Inside Rehearsals, Gloriana Behind the Scenes and a cast gallery.

Running time: 180 minutes

Subtitles EN/FR/DE/JP/KO (ES AND IT TBC)

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“Bullock works assiduously to encompass all the moods of this singularly complex character study, but her vibrato sometimes acquires an edge. Other parts...are finely done, and Paul Daniel paces the Covent Garden Chorus and Orchestra with conviction and flair” BBC Music Magazine, January 2014 ***

“At its moments of greatest drama and pathos this 2013 production is undeniably effective.” MusicWeb International, 12th February 2014

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

Opus Arte Royal Opera House Collection - OABD7134D

(Blu-ray)

$35.50

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Britten: Gloriana

Britten: Gloriana

English National Opera, London Coliseum 1984


Sarah Walker (Elizabeth I), Anthony Rolfe Johnson (Essex), Jean Rigby (Lady Essex), Richard van Allan (Raleigh), Elizabeth Vaughan (Lady Rich), Alan Opie (Cecil), Neil Howlett (Mountjoy), Malcolm Donnelly (Henry Cuffe)

English National Opera Chorus and Orchestra, Mark Elder (conductor) & Colin Graham (director)

Sound Format: PCM Stereo

Picture Format: 4:3 | Original Language: GB

Subtitles: GB, DE, FR, ES | Running Time: 147 mins

Resolution: 1080i High Definition (Upscale)

Blu-ray Disc 25 GB (Single Layer) | FSK: 0

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

Arthaus Musik Legendary Performances - 109152

(Blu-ray)

$17.75

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Britten: Peter Grimes

Britten: Peter Grimes

on Aldeburgh beach. Filmed at the Aldeburgh Festival, June 2013


Alan Oke (Peter Grimes), Giselle Allen (Ellen Orford), David Kempster (Captain Balstrode), Gaynor Keeble (Auntie), Alexandra Hutton (First Niece), Charmian Bedford (Second Niece), Robert Murray (Bob Boles), Henry Waddington (Swallow), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (Mrs Sedley), Christopher Gillett (Rev. Horace Adams), Charles Rice (Ned Keene), Stephen Richardson (Hobson)

Chorus of Opera North, Chorus of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama & Britten–Pears Orchestra, Steuart Bedford

Directed for the screen by Margaret Williams

Live production directed by Tim Albery

Filmed in June 2013 during three extraordinary performances that took place during the Aldeburgh Festival, Peter Grimes on Aldeburgh beach takes place in the heart of the town that inspired it and is the film interpretation of Britten’s Peter Grimes, the most successful opera of post-war Britain. Based on George Crabbe’s 1810 poem ‘The Borough’, Britten’s powerful and masterful evocation of the North Sea in all its moods has become inextricably linked with the Aldeburgh that was home to Crabbe in the late eighteenth century and Britten in the twentieth, and where both poem and opera were written.

Conceived and hosted by the Aldeburgh Festival, the performances of Peter Grimes were directed by Tim Albery who placed the audience on the beach watching the story of Peter Grimes unfold as dusk fades over the sea.

The cast and chorus, with Alan Oke in the eponymous role of Peter Grimes, Giselle Allan as Ellen Orford, and David Kempster as Captain Balstrode, sing live with amplification, while the Britten-Pears Orchestra under the baton of Britten expert Steuart Bedford is pre-recorded.

Sound Formats: PCM Stereo, dts-HD Master Audio 5.1

Picture Format: 16:9

Resolution: 1080i High Definition

Running Time: 145 mins & 20 mins (Bonus)

Blu-ray Disc: 25 GB (Single Layer)

FSK: 0

“In almost all respects the technical side of the operation is a near triumph. Having the singers perform live...to the accompaniment of a pre-recorded orchestra was a gamble but it has paid off with very decent sound...a unique and satisfying experience.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2014

“Oke's is the closest tenor I've heard to Peter Pears as Grimes - crystal-clear diction, a slightly nasal tone, but mesmeric in the 'Now the Great Bear' soliloquy...This is an excellent memento of a remarkable experience, but is also a production and a performance of the opera which will be widely appreciated by all.” International Record Review, February 2014

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

Arthaus Musik - 108101

(Blu-ray)

$35.50

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

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

DVD/Blu-ray of the Month - July 2013

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

Opus Arte - OABD7119D

(Blu-ray)

$35.50

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Britten: The Rape of Lucretia

Britten: The Rape of Lucretia

Recorded live at Glyndebourne Opera House, Lewes, October 2015


Christine Rice (Lucretia), Allan Clayton (Male Chorus), Kate Royal (Female Chorus), Duncan Rock (Tarquinius), Matthew Rose (Collatinus), Michael Sumuel (Junius), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (Bianca) & Louise Alder (Lucia)

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Leo Hussain (conductor) & Fiona Shaw (stage director)

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here

Seventy years after its Glyndebourne world premiere, Benjamin Britten’s first chamber opera is welcomed home with ‘a performance of enthralling emotional power and physical beauty’ gifted with ‘piercingly intelligent, immaculately realised staging and superb singing, acting and playing’ led by ‘Fiona Shaw’s supremely nuanced direction’ and underpinned by ‘febrile playing’ from members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra (The Telegraph ★★★★★). The production eloquently and tastefully tackles the difficult subject, which is lent emotional weight by ‘Christine Rice’s grandly sung Lucretia, noble in tone yet tragically vulnerable’, along with baritone Duncan Rock’s ‘forthright’ Tarquinius and the ‘smooth bass’ of Matthew Rose as the caring Collatinus (The Guardian ★★★★).

Running time: 114 minutes

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/JP/KO

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“Shaw’s production resolutely avoids anything approaching sensationalism or prurience...Clayton [is] disturbingly involved and involving as the Male Chorus...Though the focus is thrown onto the two narrators, the Roman characters all come vividly to life: Duncan Rock’s hyper-muscular Prince of Rome is as imposing vocally as he is physically...Rice’s warmly sung Lucretia is all vitality and tenderness.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 22nd July 2016

“Its beautifully acted and sung. Rice wrings your heart throughout and her self-lacerating final scenes have a harrowing immediacy” Gramophone Magazine, September 2016

“The DVD is evidence of a work, performances and a production accomplished at the highest level, each component brilliant and compelling in its own right, but here functioning perfectly together to deliver an effect that is simply overwhelming” Opera, November 2016

“The production, set during an archaeological excavation, packs a punch” Financial Times, 29th July 2016

Presto Disc of the Week

22nd July 2016

GGramophone Awards 2017

Finalist - Opera

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

Opus Arte Glyndebourne - OABD7206D

(Blu-ray)

$35.50

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Britten: The Rape of Lucretia

Britten: The Rape of Lucretia


Sarah Connolly (Lucretia), Christopher Maltman (Tarquinius), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (Bianca), Mary Nelson (Lucia), Leigh Melrose (Junius), Clive Bayley (Collatinus), Orla Boylan (Female Chorus) & John Mark Ainsley (Male Chorus)

English National Opera, Paul Daniel (conductor) & David McVicar (stage director)

Sarah Connolly's 'outstanding' (The Guardian) portrayal of the wronged Roman noblewoman, written originally for Kathleen Ferrier, lies at the heart of David McVicar's powerfully stark production for English National Opera as 'an everyday sort of woman who could be living at any time or place.' Her nemesis is the arrogant Tarquinius of Christopher Maltman, 'who made the air tingle with danger' (Financial Times). Filmed by the BBC at Snape Maltings during the production’s premiere run at the 2001 Aldeburgh Festival.

Hugely acclaimed Aldeburgh/ENO production from 2001.

Britten’s “chamber opera” was premiered at Glyndebourne in 1946, representing a stylistic departure from the grander Peter Grimes the previous year.

Based on the legend of Lucretia who is raped by the Roman tyrant Tarquinius but kills herself rather than live with the shame.

Contains scenes of a sexual nature.

Extra features: Cast gallery.

Running time: 120 minutes

Subtitles EN/FR/DE/JP/KO

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“The main cast delivers a superlative response from start to finish, headed by baritone Christopher Maltman's bull-like Tarquinius and mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly's harrowingly intense Lucretia...Top-flight instrumental playing enhances an impressive release.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2014 ****

“McVicar typically finds clarity and purpose amid the opera's convoluted story-telling...Connolly's performance sets a standard that's perhaps as important to The Rape of Lucretia as Jon Vickers was to Peter Grimes. Daniel makes every note count in this ultra-spare score.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2014

“Ainsley is superb...Melrose as Junius brilliantly brings out the weakness of character...Bayley's Collatinus is nobe of bearing and deeply touching both vocally and physically...Connolly is quite simply magnificent as Lucretia, taking the audience with her throughout...superbly well sung, played and acted.” International Record Review, February 2014

“[Maltman] gets right into the physicality of the role, projecting himself forward with all the character’s lascivious selfishness...Connolly makes a wonderful Lucretia, too. She is dignified and noble throughout...In many ways the greatest revelations come from the Male and Female chorus, both excellently sung. Add in the expert playing of the ENO chamber ensemble and Paul Daniel’s intelligent conducting, and you have a winner on your hands.” MusicWeb International, 12th March 2014

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

Opus Arte - OABD7135D

(Blu-ray)

$35.50

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Page: 

1 2

 Next >>

Copyright © 2002-17 Presto Classical Limited, all rights reserved.