Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducts the Monteverdi Choir, Choeur du Théâtre du Châtelet and Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique in a landmark recording of Berlioz's towering opera. A tragic tale of love and fate, war and peace and the intertwined destinies of two cities, the opera is based on Virgil's imperial vision of the founding myth of Rome. The American tenor Gregory Kunde as Aeneas and the Italian soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci lead an international cast in this stunning production.
Documentary: The Trojans, a masterpiece revived – includes interviews with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Yannis Kokkos, Susan Graham, Anna Caterina Antonacci, Gregory Kunde and others.
“...a performance that is now the best available on DVD. …an unforgettably dramatic experience… a superb authentic instrument performance… The magnificent high-definition recording does it ample sonic and visual justice.” Gramophone
Running time 5 hours
Region code All regions
Video codec: AVC/MPEG-4
Disc size: 2 x BD50
Picture format 1080i High Definition / 16:9
Sound format 2.0 PCM & 5.0 DTS-Master Audio
Menu language EN
“Les Troyens hasn't fared well on DVD, but this superb authentic-instrument performance of October 2003 from the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, equals Sir Colin Davis's pioneering original. Orchestrally it's everything we've come to expect from Gardiner's Berlioz, his tempi swift and dynamic, sharing the composer's delight in complex rhythmic interplay, yet always propelling the drama. Passages like Andromache's entrance and Hector's ghost nevertheless have their proper gravitas and sombre hues against the brighter shades of Carthage. Colour is the great gift of the period instruments, revealing a wide range of sonorities, and creating a sense of freshness and discovery.
The effect is sometimes rawer, sometimes more classical, but almost always more complex and dramatic than the homogenised modern sound.
Gardiner's singers, too, could hardly be more committed. Anna Caterina Antonacci is a fiery Cassandra, superbly classical-looking, so wrung and tormented that some moments of strain scarcely matter. Gregory Kunde tackles Aeneas with ringing tone, looks and acts pretty well, and brings a welcome bel canto touch to the gorgeous duet. Susan Graham, though, needs no caveats: a radiant Dido, queenly yet youthful, lyrical and lighter-toned than Janet Baker, but in her final despair no less tragically moving. Other roles are generally excellent. The mostly youthful chorus sounds marvellous, and is a constant force in Yannis Kokkos's moderately modern production.
The stage is plain and bare, capped by a reflector in which most of the décor appears: an Italian Renaissance cityscape for Troy, and the Horse only as a menacing head. Carthage is a classical vision of white walls and blue sea with stylised ships. The Trojans wear the inescapable greatcoats the brutal Greeks, inevitably, American combat gear, and the Carthaginians vaguely North African whites and pastels. This is a mostly straightforward, lively staging which lets characters and drama speak for themselves, and so works well on screen. The magnificent high-definition recording does it ample sonic and visual justice.
For anyone who loves Les Troyens, this is a revelatory and essential performance.”
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