DVD Videos

Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)

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Poulenc: Dialogues des Carmélites

Poulenc: Dialogues des Carmélites

Live Recording from Teatro Degli Arcimboldi, Milan, 2004


Dagmar Schellenberger (Blanche), Anja Silja (Madame de Croissy), Barbara Dever (Mère Marie de l‘Incarnation), Laura Aikin (Soeur Constance de Saint-Denis) & Christopher Robertson (Le Marquis de la Force)

Teatro Alla Scala, Riccardo Muti (conductor) & Robert Carsen (director)

When Canadian opera director Robert Carsen produced his intense staging of Francis Poulenc’s compelling opera Dialogues des Carmélites in 2001, it impressed audiences and critics alike, and also gained the interest of Riccardo Muti, who arranged for the production to be staged at La Scala, Milan. Muti himself conducted Orchestra and Chorus of La Scala and a superb, handpicked cast of singers. German soprano Dagmar Schellenberger, who received much critical acclaim for her debut at La Scala, takes the role of the young aristocrat Blanche who, during the French Revolution, seeks salvation in a convent. Following a decree dissolving all the country’s religious houses, the Carmelite nuns take a vow of martyrdom and sing their way to the scaffold. The last to die is Blanche, together with Soeur Constance, sung by the American soprano Laura Aikin. The production was particularly notable for the participation of Anja Silja, one of the greatest singers of our times, as Madame de Croissy.

Sound Formats: PCM Stereo, DD 5.1

Picture Format: 16:9

Original Language: FR

Subtitles: GB, DE, FR, ES, IT

DVD 9 / NTSC

Running Time: 149 mins

FSK: 6

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Arthaus Musik Legendary Performances - 109204

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Silvesterkonzert 2015

Silvesterkonzert 2015

New Year‘s Eve Concert 2015


Brahms:

Hungarian Dance No. 1 in G minor

Chabrier:

L'Etoile: Overture

Massenet:

Le Cid: Suite

Poulenc:

Les Biches: Suite

Ravel:

La Valse

Tzigane

Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin)

Saint-Saëns:

Introduction & Rondo capriccioso, Op. 28

Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin)


With the traditional New Year’s Eve Concert from Berlin the Berliner Philharmoniker give a warm welcome to the New Year.

In 2015 the Berliner Philharmoniker under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle celebrate with famous French compositions.

The guest star is Anne-Sophie Mutter who performs Camille Saint-Saëns’s thrilling Introduction et Rondo capriccioso and Maurice Ravel’s highly virtuosic Tzigane.

Anne-Sophie Mutter is winner of some of the most prestigious awards such as Grammy Award, Echo Klassik, Chevalier de la Legion d'honneur and Herbert von Karajan Music Prize.

Picture format DVD: 16:9 - NTSC

Sound format DVD: PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1

Region code: 0 (worldwide)

Booklet Notes: English, German, French

Running time: 90 mins

German FSK: 0

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Maria João Pires: Portrait of a Pianist

Maria João Pires: Portrait of a Pianist

A film by Werner Zeindler


Beethoven:

Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31 No. 2 'Tempest'

Chopin:

Nocturne No. 7 in C sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 1

Mozart:

Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K488

Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K467 'Elvira Madigan'

Piano Sonata No. 2 in F, K280

Poulenc:

Clarinet Sonata, Op. 184

Schubert:

Moments Musicaux, D780: No. 2 in A flat

Schumann:

Der Abschied, Op. 82, No. 9


The Portuguese pianist’s return to the concert platform in the mid-1980s, after a break due to ill health, was a triumph. This programme shows her pursuing her professional career with renewed vigour and talking with great frankness and intensity about her life and work. The music Pires plays includes Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 23 K. 488 and 21 K. 467, as well as his Piano Sonata K. 280, Chopin’s Nocturne No. 7 in c-sharp minor, Op. 27, No.1, Schumann’s “Abschied” from Waldszenen Op. 82, Poulenc’s Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 17 in d-minor, Op. 31, No. 2 and Schubert’s Moments Musicaux No. 2 A flat major D780.

Sound Format: PCM Stereo

Audio Languages: DE, FR, PT

Subtitles: GB, FR, DE

Picture Format: 4:3

DVD 9 / NTSC

Running Time: 59 mins

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Waldbühne 2005: French Night

Waldbühne 2005: French Night

Live from the Waldbühne Berlin, 2005


Berlioz:

Le carnaval romain Overture, Op. 9

Debussy:

Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune

Dukas:

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Poulenc:

Concerto in D minor for Two Pianos & Orchestra

Katia Labeque (piano) & Marielle Labeque (piano)

Ravel:

Boléro

Danse generale from Daphnis et Chloe, Suite No. 2

Saint-Saëns:

Le carnaval des animaux

Satie:

Gymnopédie No. 1


The Waldbühne in Berlin, one of the most appealing outdoor amphitheatres on the European continent, is the home of the Berliner Philharmoniker’s summer concerts. With over 20.000 in attendance, they are some of the most popular classical music concerts in the world.

In 2005 Simon Rattle conducted the Berliner Philharmoniker and the extraordinary pianists Katia and Marielle Labèque. The French born Labèque sisters are known not only for the seamlessness of their playing, but also for their superlative musicianship and extraordinary scope of repertoire.

Picture format DVD: 16:9 - NTSC

Sound format DVD: PCM Stereo

Region code: 0 (worldwide)

Running time: 120 mins

German FSK: 0

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Poulenc: Dialogues des Carmélites

Poulenc: Dialogues des Carmélites

Live at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, 2013


Sophie Koch (Mère Marie de l’Incarnation), Patricia Petibon (Blanche de La Force), Véronique Gens (Madame Lidoine), Sandrine Piau (Soeur Constance de Saint Denis), Rosalind Plowright (Madame de Croissy), Topi Lehtipuu (Le Chevalier de La Force), Philippe Rouillon (Le Marquis de La Force), Annie Vavrille (Mère Jeanne de l’Enfant Jésus), Sophie Pondjiclis (Soeur Mathilde), François Piolino (Le Père confesseur du couvent), Jérémy Duffau (Le premier commissaire), Yuri Kissin (Le second commissaire, un officier) & Matthieu Lécroart (Le geôlier)

Philharmonia Orchestra & Chœur du Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Jérémie Rhorer (conductor) & Olivier Py (director)

Rosalind Plowright talks to Presto's Katherine Cooper about the production and the role of Madame de Croissy here.

Pierre-André Weitz – design and costumes

Bertrand Killy – lighting

Hervé Gary – lighting

Natalie Van Parys – choreography

Olivier Simonnet – filming director

At the end of 2013, the year that marked the 50th anniversary of Francis Poulenc’s death, his gripping and moving operatic masterpiece, Dialogues des Carmélites was staged in Paris by director Olivier Py with a cast featuring some of France’s finest female singers – Patricia Petitbon, Véronique Gens, Sandrine Piau and Sophie Koch – under the baton of Jérémie Rohrer. Le Figaro described the production as “a thing of wonder,” while Le Monde called it: “A masterpiece ... the most exciting and consummately achieved show to have been seen on a Parisian stage in a long time … This was great work, magisterial and unforgettable.”

“The memorable Dialogues des Carmélites at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées marked the climax of commemorative activities for the 50th anniversary of Poulenc’s death,” wrote Opera magazine of the production of Poulenc’s gripping and moving opera that was staged by the French director Olivier Py in Paris in December 2013.

Among operas composed in the post-War era, Dialogues des Carmélites, first seen in 1957 at La Scala, is one of the most frequently performed and best loved. Set during the French Revolution, it tells the story of a highly-strung young aristocrat, Blanche de la Force, who seeks peace by joining a convent and finally goes to the guillotine with her fellow nuns. Faith, fear, and sacrifice are among the issues it addresses with music – sometimes austere, sometimes sensuous, sometimes both at once – that exemplifies Poulenc’s characteristic amalgam of simplicity and sophistication. Its final scene, as the nuns go one by one to their execution while singing a soaring ‘Salve regina’, is of spine-tingling pathos and power.

The stark, monochrome decor for Py’s production, designed by André Weitz, makes use of sliding panels that open and close to create the acting space or reveal expressionist vistas, while the costumes evoke the first half of the 20th century rather than the era of the Revolution itself. Especially striking is the death scene of Madame de Croissy, the old Prioress, searingly sung and acted by the British mezzo-soprano Rosalind Plowright: the audience views her agonies as if from above, since her bed is mounted vertically on the rear panel of the stage. Later in the opera, when it comes to the final night in their convent, before their expulsion by the revolutionaries, the nuns are assembled as if for the Last Supper, while the stunning, transcendent final scene is set against a starry sky.

Duration: 169 minutes

Languages: Sung in French, with subtitles available in English and German

Audio specs: Stereo Dolby 5.1

“Olivier Py's austere 1930s production boasts a distinguished, largely Francophone cast, headed by Poulenc specialist Patricia Petibon as Blanche, Sophie Koch as the fanatical Mère Marie, and British mezzo Rosalind Plowright as the tortured Old Prioress.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 21st November 2014

“Breathtakingly conducted by Jérémie Rohrer, it boasts one of the finest casts ever assembled for the piece. Patricia Petibon gives the performance of a lifetime as Blanche...[Plowright's] performance has a dramatic veracity that is disturbing in the extreme...Long sceptical about the piece, I was completely won over – the highest complement I can pay it.” The Guardian, 12th December 2014 *****

“this film of a production staged in Paris in 2013 has the immediate advantage of a wonderfully responsive conductor in Jérémie Rhorer and a largely Francophone cast...Py’s abstract staging is refreshingly straightforward...overall this is a performance charged with all the opera’s doom-laden dramatic urgency and spiritual power.” The Telegraph, 24th January 2015 ****

“taken as a whole, this is visually by far the best recent Carmelites. It also has a dream cast...Petibon masterfully conveys the complexities of her contradictory character...Piau is a wonderfully bright-eyed as Constance, Rosalind Plowright is suitably disturbing in the alternate 'mad scene'..With Jérémie Rhorer's nuanced conducting, the Philharmonia on top form and sympathetic filming, there are no weaknesses.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2015 *****

“Gens is a lean, nervous (rather than benelovent) Madame Lidoine...Koch's strong presence puts a particularly sharp point on the severity of Carmelite life...Plowright maintains great vocal and dramatic tension...Ultimately, the production and performances take the opera beyond the nuns' story but question the moral responsibility of martyrdom.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2015

BBC Music Magazine

Opera Choice - March 2015

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Güher & Süher Pekinel in concert

Güher & Süher Pekinel in concert

Live from the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and the Ludwigsburg International Music Festival, 2012


Bartók:

Concerto for 2 pianos, percussion & orchestra, BB 121, Sz. 115

Zubin Mehta

Brahms:

Hungarian Dance No. 5

for two pianos

Debussy:

En blanc et noir

Infante:

Danze andaluse (for 2 pianos): No. 2 Sentimento

Lutosławski:

Variations on a Theme by Paganini, for two pianos

Milhaud:

Brazileira from Scaramouche

for two pianos

Mozart:

Sonata for 2 pianos in D major, K448

Poulenc:

Elegie

for two pianos

Schubert:

Fantasie in F minor for piano duet, D940


DVD + CD

The two concerts from 2012 released on this DVD once again prove what Güher and Süher Pekinel are famous for: playing piano with the sixth sense. Whether they play Bartók’s Concerto for two pianos and percussion at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (conducted by Zubin Mehta) or Schubert’s wonderful Fantasia in F minor at the Ludwigsburg International Music Festival – their total homogeneity is not only audible but also visible.

They seldom sit facing one another, as in the Bartók concerto. They love the risk involved in having the pianos placed one behind the other, which is highly benefi cial in acoustic terms and forces them to be particularly keen-eared. One of them sees only her sister’s back, while the other sees nothing of her fellow performer at all. Where others make use of facial expressions and gestures, they have to rely completely on their ears.

In addition to Bartók and Schubert they also interpret Debussy, Mozart, Poulenc and Lutosławski, which makes this DVD a diversified and refreshing experience for the ears and for the eyes.

BONUS: CD with parts of the Live Concerts

Sound Format: PCM Stereo

Picture Format: 16:9

DVD Format: DVD 9 NTSC

Running Time: 111 mins (Concert), 61 mins (Bonus CD)

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Arthaus Musik - 102191

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Paul Taylor Ballet Company in Paris

Paul Taylor Ballet Company in Paris


BACH: Brandenburgs - opus 88 (1988)

with Michael Trusnovec, Amy Young, Parisa Khobdeh, Eran Bugge, Robert Kleinendorst, James Samson, Sean Mahoney, Michael Apuzzo, Michael Novak

POULENC: Beloved Renegade - opus 129 (2008)

with Michael Trusnovec, Amy Young, Robert Kleinendorst, James Samson, Laura Halzack, Michelle Fleet, Parisa Khobdeh, Sean Mahoney, Jeffrey Smith, Eran Bugge, Francisco Graciano, Jamie Rae Walker, Michael Apuzzo, Aileen Roehl, Heather Mcginley


Paul Taylor Ballet Company

Paul Taylor is widely considered to be one of the foremost American choreographers of the 20th century. Paul Taylor is among the last living members of the second generation of America’s modern dance artists. He has continued to win acclaim for his recent creations as well as stagings of his earlier works. As prolific as ever, he may propel his dancers through space for the sheer beauty of it, or use them to wordlessly illuminate war, spirituality, sexuality, morality and mortality. This programme was recorded in 2012 at the Théâtre National de Chaillot in Paris and is composed of two ballets.

First performed in 1988 to music from Bach’s Brandenburg concertos 3 and 6. 'Brandenburgs' is cast for a man and three women, plus an ensemble of five men. In an unusual stroke for Taylor, he uses the male quintet as a proper corps de ballet - that is, they frame the action and move only as a group, anonymously. The sharp hierarchical distinction between soloists and ensemble accounts for one aspect of the dance’s classical feel. More important, though, is the ensemble’s attitude toward the soloists.

Set to Francis Poulenc’s 'Gloria', the dance was inspired by the life and work of 19th-century American writer Walt Whitman, who revered body and soul as one and who famously loved all with equal ardour. It depicts the experiences of an artist described in a line from Whitman’s 'Leaves of Grass': “I am the poet of the body and I am the poet of the soul.”

Choreography PAUL TAYLOR

Costumes: SANTO LOQUASTO

Lighting: JENNIFER TIPTON

HD recording Théâtre National de Chaillot, Festival Les Étés de la Danse 2012

“The performance given by his company boasts a display of energy that appears boundless, yet it is so carefully drawn to its exact architectural dimensions. It achieves a fluid freedom of expression in its erudition, yet its reading is never amorphous, but exact in pattern and shape … it is as if the mortal were expressing the immortal” international Dance Review, 5th June 2013

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La Voix Humaine & Une Education Manquee

La Voix Humaine & Une Education Manquee


Chabrier:

Une Education Manquee

Franck Cassard, Mary Saint Palais & Philippe Fourcade

Sinfonietta de Picardie, Michel Swierczewski

Poulenc:

La Voix Humaine

Anne-Sophie Schmidt

Orchestre Ostinato, Jean-Luc Tingaud


The third release in ‘L’Opéra Français Collection’ series of DVDs, covering the diverse repertoire of French Opera. This DVD, with a duration of 112 mins plus a bonus DVD exploring the Theatre Imperial, duration 187 mins, comes in glowing 5.1 surround sound for the main DVD plus English subtitles.

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Cascavelle L’Opéra Français - DVDVELD7001

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Susan Graham - French Songs

Susan Graham - French Songs

Recorded at Verbier Festival, July 2009


Bachelet:

Chère nuit

Bizet:

Chanson d'Avril

Caplet:

Le corbeau et le renard

Chabrier:

Les Cigales

Debussy:

Colloque sentimental

Duparc:

Au pays ou se fait la guerre

Fauré:

Vocalise-étude

Franck, C:

Nocturne

Hahn, R:

A Chloris

Honegger:

Trois Chansons de la Petite Sirène H 63

Poulenc:

La Dame de Monte Carlo

Ravel:

Le paon

Rosenthal, Manuel:

La souris d'Angleterre

Roussel:

Réponse d'une épouse sage, Op. 35 No. 2

Saint-Saëns:

Danse macabre, Op. 40


Susan Graham (mezzo-soprano) & Malcolm Martineau (piano)

This series of TV programmes presents the very best of the 16th Verbier Festival with worldwide renowned artists such as Susan Graham, Martha Argerich, Yuri Temirkanov, Stephen Kovacevich, and Philippe Jaroussky.

Together with Malcolm Martineau on the piano, the Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Susan Graham features a fascinating compilation of well-known French composers.

Both have also toured with the program - comprising nearly two dozen songs by as many composers - to great acclaim. The recital Graham and Martineau gave this past summer at the Verbier Festival in French-speaking Switzerland brought down the house.

Being Musical America’s 2004 Vocalist of the year, Graham is well-known as an expert in French melodies. The genre is known as a very tricky one, but she presents the songs with a fascinating jewel-like clarity and gleaming tone. Martineau is the perfect counter-part who adds some finely judged French seasoning.

Picture format DVD: NTSC 16:9

Sounds formats DVD: PCM Stereo, DD 5.1, DTS 5.1

Region code: 0

Booklet notes: English, German, French

Running time: 60 min

FSK: 0

“An hour of pure delight...Graham is utterly at home in this repertoire an performs it with élan...Martineau is the perfect partner throughout, perfectly jusging depth of tone, moving as one with Graham and displaying the same level of control...with a gentle smile, Hahn's sublime 'À Chloris' surpasses all that has come before.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2010 *****

BBC Music Magazine

DVD Choice - December 2010

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Poulenc: Dialogues des Carmélites

Poulenc: Dialogues des Carmélites

Live Recording from The Staatsoper Hamburg, 2008


Alexia Voulgaridou (Blanche de la Force), Wolfgang Schöne (Marquis de la Force), Nikolai Schukoff (Le chevalier de la Force), Kathryn Harries (Madame de Croissy), Anne Schwanewilms (Madame Lidoine), Gabriele Schnaut (Mère Marie de l‘Incarnation)

Staatsoper Hamburg, Simone Young (conductor) & Nikolaus Lehnhoff (director)

Set Design by Raimund Bauer.

The opera Dialogues of the Carmelites is the only opera the French composer Francis Poulenc has ever written. It is based on the screenplay Die begnadigte Angst by Georges Bernanos. The material for the opera is based on actual historic events. Poulenc converges religion and revolution: The young Blanche de la Force who suffers from existential fear all life long, escapes into a convent hoping to conquer her paralysing fear of life and death. Even the walls of the convent cannot stop the French Revolution. The nuns of the Carmelite Order fail to resist it and accept to die in martyrdom. Fascinated by their constancy finally Blanche overcomes her angst and follows her sisters to the scaffold. This dramatic opera in three acts had its debut performance at La Scala in Milan in 1957. With its religious theme this opera takes a special position in the theatre of music in the 20th century. Poulencs clear and insistent musical language is perfectly interpreted by conductor Simone Young and the Philharmoniker Hamburg. This production showcases big, vibrant voices from all age categories who are not only brilliant in singing but also in acting. Besides the great musical performance, the main reason for the huge success of the opera is stage director Nikolaus Lehnhoff. His simplistic stage design together with the mystic light installation this opera guarantees great listening and also an amazing viewing pleasure.

“…the sheer power of Lehnhoff’s final scene simply takes your breath away.” Hamburger Abendblatt

“It is remarkable how Lehnhoff succeeds in narrating the events of a two-and-a-half hour drama that is low on action without losing power or intensity.” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Sound Format: PCM STEREO, DD 5.1

Picture Format: 16:9

DVD Format: DVD 9, NTSC

Subtitle Languages: FR, GB, DE, ES, IT, JP

Running Time: 166 mins

FSK: 0

“Lehnhoff takes a relatively minimalist approach...The principals are generally strong. Kathryn Harries is moving as the dying Madame de Croissy...Laura Aikin is effective as the gregarious Sister Constance and Gabriele Schnaut captures the frustrations of Mere Marie...Simone Young draws some marvellous textures from the orchestra” BBC Music Magazine, October 2010 ***

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