Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Opulent Operatic Spring on DVD

This Spring many new DVD's are released with several truly excellent productions deserving to be a part of your collection.  A partial list with trailers attached below:

The one that I didn't see --but I'm patiently waiting the copy I ordered to arrive-- is The Makropulos Case. This is one of my absolute favorite operas, and it is a production that was premiered last August at the Summer Festival in Salzburg. As you all know, any Marthaler show is a special cultural event and his stagings of the Janacek operas are particularly intelligent and theatrical. Esa-Pekka conducting, the cast is fantastic...

Die Frau Ohne Schatten can be a treat musically but of many productions staged these days all around Europe rare are those that are even marginally interesting. This is probably due to a very weak/obsolete libretto [no one dares to say it out loud]. Still, Thielemann was particularly praised for the orchestral part of this production --also premiered in Salzburg last summer-- and I felt quite alone in thinking that this was one of the finest works by Christof Loy so far...

Two interesting productions of L'incoronazione di Poppea have been released on DVD: an inventive Scandinavian look at this masterpiece among the operas can be found here [never mind the spelling mistake in the title on the cover of this DVD], and another one is the David Alden production from Barcelona - c.f. here.

The Stefan Herheim production of Eugene Onegin was also released on DVD and I believe this is one of those that one should have in the collection. Krassimira Stoyanova sang extraordinarily [as if giving a lesson to all the past present and future Tatiana's], Mariss Jansons was fantastic, and this highly enjoyable show at DNO in Amsterdam was a memorable experience to all of us who were lucky to see it live.

As you probably noticed already, I very much like Petra Maria Schnitzer and Peter Seiffert, but I feel Eva-Maria Westbroek and Stephen Gould were far better in the roles of Elisabeth and Tannhäuser in this, Robert Carsen, production of Tannhäuser. The whole show was better mounted in Paris and Seiji Ozawa was particularly warm in his interpretation of the score.
Nevertheless this is one of the rare good Tannhäuser's available on DVD and it's a valuable supplement to your collection.

Besides two excellent productions of Die Zauberflöte available on DVD: one directed by David McVicar (this and his brilliant Nozze presented at the Royal Opera House make his insipid Clemenza di Tito hardly excusable), and the other by Martin Kusej,  we finally have the magnificent production by William Kentridge released on DVD. 

Parsifal is maybe the only Wagner opera that you cannot find decently produced on DVD. Hopefully the Herheim production from Bayreuth will be released on DVD later this year (it will be shown in German cinemas on August 11th this year).
Meanwhile you can give a try to this, 20 years old, Harry Kupfer production of Parsifal (with the GOAT Wagner conductor -- Barenboim conducting!) released on DVD about a month ago. 

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