DVD Videos

Willard White

Willard White was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1946 and studied at the Juillard School of Music after Evelyn Rothwell encouraged him to pursue a career in music. He made his opera debut in 1974, singing Colline for New York City Opera, and rapidly found himself in demand throughout Europe and the US: his most famous roles include Bartok's Bluebeard, Claggart in Billy Budd, Boris Godunov, Wotan and Gershwin's Porgy, which he sang on the first-ever stereo recording of the opera in 1977 and in Trevor Nunn's acclaimed televised production from Glyndebourne in 1993. Renowned for his keen dramatic instinct and charismatic stage-presence, White has also made successful forays into straight theatre, most notably as Otello in Nunn's 1990 RSC production, opposite Sir Ian McKellen and Imogen Stubbs.

White was awarded the CBE in 1995 and he was made a Knight Bachelor in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2004.

See below for DVD Videos with Willard White, or click here to see all records by this artist.

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Gershwin: Porgy and Bess

Gershwin: Porgy and Bess


Willard White (Porgy), Cynthia Haymon (Bess), Gregg Baker (Crown), Harolyn Blackwell (Clara), Cynthia Clarey (Serena), Marietta Simpson (Maria), Damon Evans (Sportin' Life)

Glyndebourne Chorus, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Simon Rattle, production direction by Trevor Nunn

Subtitles: English , French, German, Italian

“In an ideal world, operatic recordings would always evolve in this way...We've a real sense here of Gershwin's community, a feeling of oneness with the piece from singers who've not only lived with, but through, their characters. I doubt we'll ever hear the score in a better light. And what a score it is.” Gramophone Magazine, June 1989

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

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EMI - 4924979

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Adams, J: El Niño

Adams, J: El Niño


Recording Date: 2000

Place of recording: Théatre Musical de Paris - Chatelet

Running Time: 147 (Opera 119 min; Documentary 28 min) min

Picture Format: 16:9

Sound Format: PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1

Menu Languages PAL: D, F, GB, SP

Subtitle Languages PAL: D, F, GB, SP

Menu Languages NTSC: F, GB, JP, SP

Subtitle Languages NTSC: F, GB, JP, SP

“'An opera by John Adams' says the packaging. Not quite. This is the composer's multi-cultural, post-feminist, quasi-minimalist take on Handel's Messiah, drawing on sources ranging from the pre-Christian prophets to 20th-century Hispanic women writers. While designed to allow fully staged productions, the concept and its musical realisation bring us closer to oratorio. Adams's musical language is predictably inclusive. There's a prominent role for three Brittenish countertenors, Broadway and popular idioms are more or less willingly embraced, and the use of repetition is sometimes reminiscent of Philip Glass in his heyday. El Niño's sound world is delicate and lustrous, and, although Part 1 can seem a mite static with a surfeit of vocal recitative, there are fewer longueurs in Part 2. If not perhaps the unqualified masterpiece acclaimed by some critics, this is an effective and often truly affecting score: derivative, to be sure, yet obstinately fresh.
The performance as such is pretty much beyond criticism. The main characters are on top form, combining absolute vocal assurance with dramatic flair – and none more so than Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. The crisp DVD images certainly help explain the sensational impact of the European première, a multimedia extravaganza from Peter Sellars' top drawer in which dance and film interact quirkily with the exertions of chorus and soloists. If you haven't yet acquired a player, the remarkable success of El Niño is as good a reason as any to take the plunge. Strongly recommended.
The Death of Klinghoffer The Death of Klinghoffer Sanford Sylvan bar Leon Klinghoffer Stephanie Friedman mez Omar James Maddalena bar First Officer Thomas Hammons bar First Officer Thomas Young sngr Molqui Eugene Perry bar Mamoud Sheila Nadler mez Marilyn Klinghoffer London Opera Orchestra Chorus; Lyon Opera Orchestra / Kent Nagano Nonesuch b 7559-79281-2 (135' · DDD · N/T) F How many living composers do you suppose would happily watch their scores lead a short life, relevant but finite? Not many; but John Adams might be one. First Nixon in China, then The Death of Klinghoffer: rarely before has a composer snatched subjects from yesterday's news and made operas out of them. Admittedly, themes of lasting significance lurk beneath this work's immediate surface: conflict between cultures and ideologies, rival claims to ancestral lands, human rights in general. Specifically, however, it takes us back no further than October 1985, when Palestinian terrorists hijacked the Italian cruise liner Achille Lauro and murdered wheelchair-bound passenger Leon Klinghoffer.
The opera guides us through those events, albeit in an oblique fashion. Whatever the long-term fate of the opera, Alice Goodman's libretto certainly deserves to be spared from oblivion. It's eloquent and beautiful, compassionate and humanitarian, rich in imagery and spacious in its sentence-structure. If TheDeath of Klinghoffer finally disappoints, it's because the marriage of words and music is so fragile. The opera's musical language is firmly rooted in tradition, but it's doubtful if anyone will come away from it with a memorable lyric moment lodged in the mind. The recording uses the cast of the original production, and contains no weak links. As you expect from Adams, the score has been superbly orchestrated, and it's done full justice by the Lyon Opera Orchestra.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“Nagano's unfussy direction...ensures maximum clarity...Willard White shakes the heavens while soprano Dawn Upshaw and the late mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson sing with ferocious intelligence and physicality. Neither has sounded better. Like Nixon in China before it, El Niño already feels like a classic.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2014 *****

GGramophone Awards 2002

Record of the Year Finalist

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Mozart: Die Entführung aus dem Serail, K384

Mozart: Die Entführung aus dem Serail, K384

Live recording from the Glyndebourne Festival Opera, 1980


Ryland Davies (Belmonte), Valerie Masterson (Constanze), Lillian Watson (Blonde), Willard White (Osmin), James Hoback (Pedrillo) & Joachim Bissmeier (Selim)

The London Philharmonic Orchestra & The Glyndebourne Chorus, Gustav Kuhn (conductor) & Peter Wood (stage director)

In the Glyndebourne Entführung aus dem Serail from 1980, which was so amusingly and yet sensitively staged by Peter Wood, Gustav Kuhn led his excellent soloists Valerie Masterson, Ryland Davies, Lillian Watson and Willard White to an ensemble performance of great unity which was interspersed with exact and beautifully worked dialogue. The Singspiel, this hybrid of music and word, rose to life here in the most convincing fashion.

The story of the lovers Konstanze and Belmonte, the two servants Blonde and Pedrillo, the pasha Selim and the mean warden Osmin, is not terribly original and would have been forgotten long ago had it not been for Mozart. On the libretto of Johann Gottlieb Stephanie he created a masterwork starting with the fervent overture, reminding of the military march music of the Janissaries, and ending up with enchanting ensemble finali.

Sound Formats: PCM Stereo

Picture Format: 4:3

DVD Format: DVD 9 / NTSC

Subtitle Languages: DE (Original Language), GB, FR, ES

Running Time: 143 mins

FSK: 0

Region Code: 0

Worldwide available

“Even if the 1980 picture quality is poor, Wood's Glyndebourne production looks charming...Kuhn is excellent.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2014 ****

“[Ryland Davies's] elegant lyric tenor is near ideal...Lillian Watson is a pert and well-acted Blonde...[Masterson sings] with seeming ease, vocal poise and good expression...Kuhn, renowned for his support for singers, paces the work without undue hurry.” MusicWeb International, 14th January 2014

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Adams, J: El Niño

Adams, J: El Niño

Live from The Théâtre Musical De Paris - Châtelet, 2000


Dawn Upshaw (soprano), Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (mezzo-soprano) & Willard White (baritone)

Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Kent Nagano (conductor) & Peter Sellars (stage director)

This composition by American minimalist composer John Adams is his take on the “Christmas Oratorio”: a large-scale music theatre work entitled El niño. How does one actually celebrate Christ’s birth in a land where palm trees and race conflicts flourish – in sunny California? Perhaps the way composer John Adams and director Peter Sellars portray it at the beginning of El Niño (La Nativité), which was fi rst performed nine days before Christmas 2000 at the Parisian Théâtre du Châtelet: with a tree and festoons of lights. Their interpretation is supported brilliantly by Dawn Upshaw, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and Willard White in the main roles.

Bonus Feature: Making of including Interviews with John Adams, Peter Sellars, Kent Nagano and Dawn Upshaw.

Sound Formats: PCM Stereo, DD 5.0, DTS 5.0

Picture Format: 16:9

DVD Format: DVD 9 / NTSC

Subtitle Languages: GB (Original Language), DE, FR, ES, JP

Running Time: 147 mins

(Opera: 119 mins, Making of: 28 mins)

FSK: 0

“Nagano's unfussy direction...ensures maximum clarity...Willard White shakes the heavens while soprano Dawn Upshaw and the late mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson sing with ferocious intelligence and physicality. Neither has sounded better. Like Nixon in China before it, El Niño already feels like a classic.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2014 *****

“I couldn’t imagine anyone else topping this performance...I find the stage “action” of this “Christmas Oratorio,” as it is referred to in the accompanying booklet, very watchable with the wonderful singing and acting of Dawn Upshaw, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Willard White, the three counter-tenors, and the choruses quite moving. The dancers, although in a less important role, are also excellent.” MusicWeb International, 30th January 2014

“Adams and Sellars were lucky with their singers. Happy the show that can put up a trio like this, all in good voice...Hunt Lieberson's acting and movement are as impassioned as her singing...Hugely recommended.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2014

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Mozart: Die Zauberflöte, K620

Mozart: Die Zauberflöte, K620

Live Recording from The Glyndebourne Festival Opera, 1978


Felicity Lott (Pamina), Leo Goeke (Tamino), Benjamin Luxon (Papageno), Thomas Thomaschke (Sarastro), May Sandoz (Queen of the Night), Teresa Cahill (Erste Dame), Patricia Parker (Zweite Dame), Fiona Kimm (Dritte Dame), Willard White (Sprecher), John Fryatt (Monostatos), Elisabeth Conquet (Papagena), Neil McKinnon (Erste Geharnischter), John Rath (Zweite Geharnischter), Kate Flowers (Erste Knabe), Lindsay John (Zweiter Knabe), Elisabeth Stokes (Dritter Knabe)

The London Philharmonic Orchestra, Bernard Haitink (conductor) & John Cox (stage director)

Stage Designer DAVID HOCKNEY

Glyndebourne’s 1978 production of Mozart’s Zauberflöte received as much critical acclaim for the imaginative David Hockney sets as for the operatic performance. Hockney, known internationally for his pop art, emphasised the magical and mystical qualities of one of Mozart’s best known operas – and the spirit was wonderfully reflected in John Cox’s production.

The London Philharmonic Orchestra is conducted by Bernard Haitink.

Mozart’s tale of Papageno and Pince Tamino’s quest to rescue Pamina and overthrow the Queen of the Night is one of his best loved operas and here receives an impressive treatment with Leo Goeke, Felicity Lott and Benjamin Luxon in the leading roles. Essential for such an opera, there is a great happy end: Tamino and Pamina overcome their trials and become a loving couple, the malicious Queen of the Night is humbled and even Papageno finds his Papagena.

Sound Format: PCM Stereo

Picture Format: 4:3

DVD Format: DVD 9 / NTSC

Subtitle Languages: DE (Original Language), FR, GB, ES

Running Time: 163 mins

FSK: 0

“The fairytale settings and Hockney costumes are not a good match for the extreme seriousness of Haitink, but superb singing, especially Goeke's Tamino, makes this indispensable.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2013 *****

“Hockney’s approach was designed to reduce perspective and concentrate the move from scenery to backcloth...Haitink’s fleeting tempi are wholly in tune with the production...This colourful production could be ideal for introducing children to opera and as light entertainment for more serious viewers.” MusicWeb International, 14th October 2013

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Tchaikovsky Iolanta & Stravinsky Persephone

Tchaikovsky Iolanta & Stravinsky Persephone

2012 Teatro Real, Madrid


Stravinsky:

Persephone

Dominique Blanc (Persephone) & Paul Groves (Eumolpe)

Tchaikovsky:

Iolanta

Ekaterina Scherbachenko (Iolanta), Alexej Markov (Robert), Pavel Cernoch (Vaudémont), Dmitry Ulianov (King René), Willard White (Ibn-Hakia), Vasily Efimov (Alméric), Pavel Kudinov (Bertrand), Ekaterina Semenchuk (Marta), Irina Churilova (Brigita) & Letitia Singleton (Irina Churilova)


Amrita, Pequeños Cantores & Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro Real, Teodor Currentzis (Musical Director) & Peter Sellars (Stage Director)

Set Designer George Tsypin

Costume Designers Martin Pakledinaz & Helen Siebrits

Lighting Designer James F. Ingalls

Iolanta is a one act lyric opera, sung in Russian, by Tchaikovsky. Performed in the style of a nineteenth-century Italian melodrama, the scenes have a recitative introduction followed by a single arioso, aria, duet or chorus.

Persephone is a three act melodrama, sung in French, by Stravinsky. It is a story of regeneration, symbolised in Sellars use of dancers from the Cambodian dance company, Amrita Performing Arts.

Peter Sellars, one of the most innovative creators on today's stage, has linked these two productions by using the same stage setting, instantly archaic yet modern, and lit by rich colours to define the journey from darkness to light.

“It would be hard to find a more committed, vocally assured pair than Ekaterina Scherbachenko and Pavel Cernoch” BBC Music Magazine, March 2013 ****

“Iolanta is concerned with the transition from darkness to light...one's attention is caught by Sellars's telling direction: faces suffused in light, faces caught in profile...Persephone, also about light and dark, is staged with the same set...Currentzis conducts both pieces impeccably: don't miss.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2013

“The singing in the present performance is admirable throughout, with idiomatic Russian singing but without the apparent wobble which can put off some non-Russian listeners. Match this with full-blooded playing from the Teatro Real orchestra. The production by Peter Sellars is generally clear although sometimes confused by a bizarre choice of camera angle or subject” MusicWeb International, February 2013

“There are fine performances from Dominique Blanc in the title role and Paul Groves as Eumolpe. The real touch of genius, though, is Sellars' decision to reimagine the piece in terms of eastern dance rather than ballet, and the choreography, by Cambodia's Amrita Performing Arts, is exquisite.” The Guardian, 13th December 2012 ****

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Weill, K: Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny

Weill, K: Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny

Libretto by Bertolt Brecht

Sung in English


Jane Henschel (Leocadia Begbick), Donald Kaasch (Fatty the Bookkeeper), Willard White (Trinity Moses), Measha Brueggergosman (Jenny Smith), Michael König (Jim Maclntyre), John Easterlin (Jack O’Brien / Toby Higgins), Otto Katzameier (Bank-Account Bill) & Steven Humes (Alaska-Wolf Joe)

Orquesta y Coro del Teatro Real, Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid & Coro Intermezzo, Pablo Heras-Casado

Stage direction Alex Ollé, Carlus Padrissa – La Fura dels Baus

Scenography Alfons Flores, Costumes Lluc Castells, Lighting Urs Schönebaum

High Definition recording : Teatro Real - Madrid: 09/2010

Bel Air present the hard-hitting new production of Kurt Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny by Catalan collective, La Fura dels Baus, from the Teatro Real de Madrid. Composed in the 1930s by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht, this is a mordant satire on capitalism in a society in which the ultimate crime is not having money. In 20 scenes the authors tell the story of a city lost in the middle of a desert and run by three thugs; in Mahagonny food, sex, gambling and violence rule supreme.

The production, by Alex Ollé and Carlus Padrissa of La Fura dels Baus, combines enormous inventiveness, joy and energy with awe-inspiring ferocity.

Perfect casting brings together a group of singers – Measha Brueggergosman, Michael König, Jane Henschel and Willard White – who are also marvellous actors. The Teatro Real Orchestra and Chorus are directed by young Spanish conductor Pablo Heras-Casado, who received the “El Ojo Crítico” prize in 2010, awarded annually to Spain’s most outstanding artists.

La Fura was founded in 1979 as a Catalan street theatre group. Key features of the ‘Furan’ language were already apparent: interaction with the audience, the use of unusual spaces and the adaptation of the show to the characteristics of each space. Their work for the opening ceremonies of the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Mediterráneo, mar olímpico brought La Fura dels Baus to an audience of billions throughout the world. Their first foray into opera was with La Atlántida, with frequent collaborator Jaume Plensa, and has developed as far as Wagner’s Ring Cycle and Boris Godunov, a daring reflection on the problem of terrorism, its limits and the manipulation it generates.

Stunning images and more information on www.lafura.com

16/9, NTSC, PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1

Total timing : 138 minutes

Subtitles : Fr, Eng, Ger, Spa

“Brueggergosman's Jenny is stunning to behold...[Henschel] has precisely the right dramatic-mezzo instrument for this role, and she can sing sensuously when required...[Easterlin] offers tone and diction as clear as a bell, along with a delightfully boyish characterization...[Heras-Casado] has the measure of the piece, as does the Madrid orchestra, which has reached the point where it makes playing a work such as this seem like falling off a log.” International Record Review, January 2012

“Superbly filmed by Andy Sommer, it makes for uncomfortable viewing, particularly during the current economic crisis. You might, however, find it musically less convincing. There's exceptional conducting from Pablo Heras-Casado, but the singing is variable.” The Guardian, 8th December 2011 ****

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Wagner - Die Walküre (DVD)

Wagner - Die Walküre (DVD)


Wagner:

Die Walküre

Grand Théâtre, Aix-en-Provence 2006


Robert Gambill (Siegmund), Mikhail Petrenko (Hunding), Willard White (Wotan), Eva-Maria Westbroek (Sieglinde), Eva Johansson (Brünnhilde), Lilli Paasikivi (Fricka), Joanna Porackova (Gerhilde), Elaine McKrill (Ortlinde), Julianne Young (Waltraute), Andrea Baker (Schwertleite), Erika Sunnegårdh (Helmwige), Heike Grötzinger (Siegrune), Eva Vogel (Grimgerde) & Annette Bod (Rossweisse)

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle (conductor) & Stéphane Braunschweig (director)

In a career spanning more than 30 years, Sir Simon Rattle has distinguished himself through his long-term relationships with a number of orchestras, wide-ranging repertoire and innovative educational and audiencebuilding activities. He is currently Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Berliner Philharmoniker and Principal Artist with the OAE. Sir Simon first conducted the Berlin Philharmonic in 1987 and appeared regularly with the orchestra in subsequent years.The summer of 2006 saw the first instalment of their Wagner Ring Cycle at the Aix-en-Provence Festival. Sir Simon's most recent appearance at the Proms in Wagner brought forth ecstatic reviews, which bodes well for possible future installments of the Aix /Salzburg Ring on Bel Air Classiques.

"In what is both Mr. Rattle's and Aix's first Ring Cycle, "Die Walküre," the Ring's second chapter, was magically transformed by the enclosed space and lively acoustics of the Grand Théâtre de Provence. But where the new theater makes another significant difference is in Mr. Braunschweig's staging of the opera. Far more than in last year's "Rheingold," even the gods, notably Wotan and his twin children, Siegmund and Sieglinde, can now be felt to experience deeply human emotions. The final curtain brought a standing ovation for both orchestra and singers, with Ms.Westbroek singled out for her "extraordinary power and lyricism," as Jean-Louis Validire, Le Figaro's music critic, put it… The Ring Cycle continues here with "Siegfried" in 2008 and "Götterdammerüng" in 2009 and, as with "Das Rheingold" and "Die Walküre," they will be presented afresh at the Salzburg Easter Festival the following year." The New York Times, July 5, 2007

“Sir Willard White's patriarchal Wotan seems subtler on screen, more smouldering than stiff, and sings richly… Eva Johansson's… makes a fiery, youthful Brünnhilde, more at one with her fellow Valkyries - a fine bunch - than usual. Rattle's conducting… is easy enough to enjoy - fluent, often sweeping - and, of course, beautifully played by the Berliners...” BBC Music Magazine, December 2008 ****

“Wind and brass detail, the accuracy and blending of the chording and that rhythmic precision which is a Rattle speciality lift the final colloquy between Wotan and Brünnhilde to Olympian heights.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2009

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Tony Palmer’s Film about Puccini

Tony Palmer’s Film about Puccini


Bill Fraiser, Andrew Croushanks, Ronald Pickup, Rupert Greaves, Sir Willard White & Linda Esther Gray

Scottish Opera, Sir Alexander Gibson

The film tells the story of Doria Manfredi and of her relationship with Puccini, and the opera that resulted, Turandot. It was a disaster that was suppressed by either Puccini’s publishers (Ricordi) or his family or both for almost 80 years, fearing that the consequences of revealing the truth of what had happened would damage sales of his work and further sully his already tarnished reputation as a philanderer.

Robert Stephens gives a devastating performance as Puccini, and Virginia McKenna, lured out of semiretirement, gives an emotionally draining performance as his wife Elvira. When the finished film was shown to Simonetta, Puccini’s granddaughter, she said she was astonished at how close the film had come to the heart of the matter and in particular to the heart of that extraordinary – and still underestimated – great composer, Giacomo Puccini.

Written by Charles Wood, starring Robert Stephens and Virginia McKenna

“An Extraordinary virtuoso film, with wave after wave of emotion.” The Listener

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Prokofiev: The Love for Three Oranges

Prokofiev: The Love for Three Oranges

Stage Director - Laurent Pelly


Alain Vernhes, Martial Defontaine, François Le Roux, Serghei Khomov, Sandrine Piau, Anna Shafajinskaja & Sir Willard White

Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir of De Nederlandse Opera, Stéphane Denève

PICTURE FORMAT: 16:9
LENGTH: 145 Mins
SOUND: DTS SURROUND / LPCM STEREO
SUBTITLES: EN/FR/DE/ES/IT/NL

‘A wonderful spectacle… A masterful staging of Prokofiev’s Love for three oranges from DNO. … Seldom have we seen such a successful synthesis of music, image and wit on the operatic stage.’ Het Parool

“Director-designer Laurent Pelly's quirkily stylish costumes and Chantal Thomas's mobile giant playing-cards rule this lavish Amsterdam production of Prokofiev's fairy-tale satire. The spectacle of the first two princesses drooping on the point of death from their citric prisons is briefly horrifying; the love duet between the third, sung with affecting simplicity by Sandrine Piau, and her fast-maturing prince has a surprising truthfulness. A reliable ensemble of singers yields the palm, though, to the astonishingly full-blooded playing of the Rotterdam Philharmonic under Denève...” BBC Music Magazine, October 2006 ****

BBC Music Magazine

DVD Choice - October 2006

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