Sub Titles: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
Usually despatched in 4 - 5 working days.
Recorded in 1996
“This performance appeared on VHS back in March 1997. On a new, wide-screen television, it makes a far more arresting effect. The action seems to be happening in the room with you. That's due not only to the format but also to director Luc Bondy's wish to portray the personal relationships, the characters' trials and tribulations in the most intimate manner. In contrast to most stagings of Verdi's epic, this one turns all but the outdoor scenes, mainly the Inquisition, into almost a domestic drama. For better or worse, the principals seem very modern. José van Dam, a magnificent and moving Philippe II, does sometimes remind one of an out-of-sorts bank manager rather than a ruler of an empire, with his troubled wife, in the attractive person and voice of Mattila, as workaday Queen. Charisma is excluded by this interpretation. The relationship of Carlos and Rodrigue, obviously a very close one, is a touchy-feely affair, one that Alagna, in a sincere, beautifully sung assumption, and a palpitating Thomas Hampson, execute with flair. As ever, Meier isn't content with conventional acting: her Eboli is a scheming and seductive presence, consoling us with the intensity of her singing with a voice a shade light for her part. Indeed, on re-appraising the musical side of the performance, which was recorded live at the Châtelet in Paris, it strikes you that all the voices are a degree lighter than we're used to in the piece, but that suits the French text, giving an ease and fluidity to the vocal line that is, in truth, its own justification. Even more impressive on rehearing is Pappano's conducting, alive to every nuance of the long work yet aware of its overall structure. In the new medium the clarity and immediacy of the picture is arresting. The sound, though a shade soft in focus, is a great improvement on its 'ordinary' video counterpart. Owners of DVD players who want to add this unforgettable work to their collection need not hesitate – provided they can see it on a wide screen.”
“The score is tautly and warmly presented, as on cd, by Antonio Pappano and the principals are as fine a team as have ever been assembled for this opera on disc...Mattila gives the most masterly performance as the Queen...Alagna is in superb voice too, firm and heroic”
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