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Thread: Regrets, regrets: biggest DVD mistakes

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    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    Default Regrets, regrets: biggest DVD mistakes

    There are some DVDs that I really regret having purchased



    Who needs a lacklustre badly-lit entirely predictable indifferently-sung version when you already have Ruggero Raimondi in a feathered hat striding round beautiful Palladian Villas in the Veneto, Simon Keenlyside shinning up walls and baring his chest, Bryn Terfel working his magic with nothing but an apple, and Thomas Hampson and his mysterious underwear models (nearly a mistake but at least not boring)?




    Fine if you want to spend hours listening to a series of totally undistinguished ten minute da capo arias, bewildered by the story and watching a staging that reminds you so much of the snow queen’s cave you have to get a warm rug to stop from chilling down too much. I’ve tried to watch it twice and each time lasted two hours before giving up. I think I'm an exception here though, judging from the Amazon reviews which were what made me buy it in the first place.




    Karajan knows a lot less about directing than conducting, and this is obviously under-rehearsed. And they take curtain calls after EVERY SCENE! How are you supposed to suspend disbelief or keep track of what is going on in an already overburdened plot?




    I’ve already banged on about this appalling production on other threads. If you must have it, put a blindfold on and listen to the wonderful singing. Or get a CD.




    What was the set designer thinking of? The dining room of a Bournemouth boarding house has nothing to do with Alcina’s magic island. I can almost smell the over-boiled cabbage. And several of the singers are so bad I remember having to fast-forward through their arias. Alice Coote is the only bright spot in this.
    Natalie

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    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Hey, you need to watch these things on YouTube before you buy them.
    I rarely regret one of my purchases. I read reviews, look it up, watch clips of it...
    Another thing I do, I rent them first from Netflix when they're available. If I really fall in love with the production, then I buy it.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    Another thing I do, I rent them first from Netflix when they're available. If I really fall in love with the production, then I buy it.
    You are assuming everyone lives in the States... There is limited demand for opera here and a tiny population, so no rentals.
    Natalie

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    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamascarlatti View Post
    You are assuming everyone lives in the States... There is limited demand for opera here and a tiny population, so no rentals.
    I'm not assuming anything, I'm just saying what I do. And the Internet and YouTube are available everywhere, and almost everything that is commercially available has been uploaded by someone, at least some clips and fragments. I didn't mean to be rude, I just meant that there are ways to sample a DVD before buying it. If you don't have a similar service like Netflix in your country, then YouTube is your best bet.

    Where do you live, if you don't mind my asking?
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    YouTube is your best bet.
    You are right, YouTube can give you some idea about the aesthetic of a production, but you have to practically watch the whole thing to get a real idea of its cumulative effect, and you might miss some of the dreadful singers. Also I'm reluctant to spoil it for myself, I kind of want to grow into the piece as it unfolds.

    I actually had watched an aria from L'Olympiade before buying it.

    I bought the Rinaldo and Alcina because I love the music and really wanted them on DVD, and there were no other choices.

    I didn't think I could really go wrong with the Trovatore as I love Domingo - but it was those curtain calls that did it for me.

    Don Giovanni was part of a well-priced boxed set, so not too much of a loss.

    What I'm really interested in is - has anyone else made any purchases they regret so I can learn from their mistakes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    Where do you live, if you don't mind my asking?
    I keep forgetting that most people have never heard of NZ - New Zealand. A small Pacific Island state with about 4.5 million inhabitants. Not Australia.
    Natalie

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Mamascarlatti - If I went through my collection I'm sure I'd find lots but this is my latest mistake.



    Got it as I wanted a new production but didn't like it all. Marcelo Álvarez has a beautiful voice but physically wasn't a very convincing Riccardo. Ditto Violeta Urmana. Marco Vratogna started off tentatively but improved later on. If I'd shut my eyes I would've enjoyed it but that somehow defeats the object of a DVD...

    (Subscribing to Metplayer is starting to seem a better option but my favourite charity shop wouldn't he happy)

    Have bought a few golden oldies from Premiere Opera. Oh dear but you get what you pay for.
    Ann

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    Senior Member jhar26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post

    Have bought a few golden oldies from Premiere Opera. Oh dear but you get what you pay for.
    Bad sound and picture quality?
    Martha doesn't signal when the orchestra comes in, she's just pursing her lips..

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    Senior Member jhar26's Avatar
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    I hate the production, but I knew that I would before I bought it. Renée is great though and I buy each of her DVD's regardless of what goes on around her.




    My biggest DVD mistake so far. I bought it because I like Langgaard's symphonies and because reviews were very positive. There's some good Strauss-like music in this opera, but I can't figure out what it's all about. I can make no sense of it whatsoever.




    Solid production and a good performance, but......I wonder if anyone else here has a copy of this. Mine has really lousy sound quality.
    Martha doesn't signal when the orchestra comes in, she's just pursing her lips..

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhar26 View Post
    Bad sound and picture quality?
    Both
    Ann

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    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post

    Have bought a few golden oldies from Premiere Opera. Oh dear but you get what you pay for.
    I can't believe those low prices, what is the catch? (you get what you pay for)

    Almost no info or pictures provided, are these legit major label releases especially the DVDs?
    How can they be so much cheaper than anyone else?

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    I can't believe those low prices, what is the catch? (you get what you pay for)

    Almost no info or pictures provided, are these legit major label releases especially the DVDs?
    How can they be so much cheaper than anyone else?
    I think they're DVDs made from VHS tapes which haven't commercially been transferred to DVD. So the only cost to Premiere is a blank DVD, the time it takes & postage.

    Not sure about copyright.
    Ann

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    Senior Member jhar26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    I can't believe those low prices, what is the catch? (you get what you pay for)

    Almost no info or pictures provided, are these legit major label releases especially the DVDs?
    How can they be so much cheaper than anyone else?
    My guess would be that they are bootlegs.
    Martha doesn't signal when the orchestra comes in, she's just pursing her lips..

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    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamascarlatti View Post
    I keep forgetting that most people have never heard of NZ - New Zealand. A small Pacific Island state with about 4.5 million inhabitants. Not Australia.
    New what? Isn't Zealand in the Netherlands? A small Pacific Island? You mean, like Vanuatu? I've never heard of this place, New Zealand. Do the savages eat the tourists, or is it safe to visit?

    Kidding, of course. You live in a beautiful country.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhar26 View Post
    My guess would be that they are bootlegs.
    Wow, but the site says that they are headquartered in New Jersey. I wouldn't expect a legitimate business with headquarters in one of the US states to be able to sell bootlegs without being sued by the DVD companies.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Senior Member jhar26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamascarlatti View Post
    I keep forgetting that most people have never heard of NZ - New Zealand. A small Pacific Island state with about 4.5 million inhabitants. Not Australia.
    Sure, but living in Kiri country must have it's advantages too, Natalie.
    Martha doesn't signal when the orchestra comes in, she's just pursing her lips..

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