The 2011 New Year’s Gala from the Berliner Philharmoniker features pieces based on dance and fantasy. Sir Simon Rattle with superb soloist Evgeny Kissin deliver musical masterpieces.
La Didone, an altered retelling of the tale involving the Carthagenian queen and the Trojan warrior, is given its due from Les Arts Florissant, their great leader William Christie, and a generally good group of vocalists.
A real rarity, Rossini’s Sigismondo makes its video debut in this well-done Teatro Communale di Bologna production. Musical values are well maintained and this updated staging works quite effectively.
This 1978 Euan Lloyd-produced cult action film features three of the most familiar veteran British actors in Richard Burton, Richard Harris, and Roger Moore, but the story is a silly spectacle of humor and action sequences worthy of its cult status.
Dull and uninspired, The Raven shall “nevermore” be played around these parts.
Approaching the 200th anniversary of Giuseppe Verdi’s birth, a number of opera companies are gearing up with new productions of some of the master’s less staged works. Un Giorno di Regno qualifies for this category while the current Teatro Regio di Parma performance unearths a minor masterpiece.
Director Robert Carsen gives Handel’s early opera, Rinaldo, a serious makeover in this 2011 Glyndebourne projection. Recasting this heroic piece as a schoolboy fantasy actually comes to life in a video that is extremely well recorded.
Le Grand Macabre is a surrealistic concept opera that is brilliantly staged in Barcelona by La Fura del Baus. Over the top staging and costumes, ear bleed score, and a cast that delivers the goods makes for a challenging but rewarding watch.
Modern dress aside, this is a pretty traditional Rigoletto that has two big names in the cast, Piotr Beczala and Leo Nucci, and another in the pit, Nello Santi. At a bargain price, this is the BD of choice although there are SD videos that are better cast and conducted.
This cult action/thriller may be a longtime coming on Blu-ray for some, but the disappointing transfer will still leave many wanting.