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Thread: Handel on DVD and Blu-ray

  1. #91
    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamascarlatti View Post
    He he I didn't even NOTICE that there were any boobs, let alone calling the the RSPCB.
    You didn't notice any boobs??? They're everywhere. (Somehow, I think that my boob radar works better than yours).

    I won't call you attention to the scenes in which the poor dear creatures were mistreated, but look at Act III, chapter 7, aria Amor è un tiranno and you'll see - especially towards the end - a display of small but nicely shaped bare-naked boobs, this time not defaced like when they are shown attached to ghouls, evil spirits, and sheep. So this makes the case even more reportable to the RSPCB. It's not like they don't know how to display them nicely, so, how can they justify the mistreatment previously noticed??
    Last edited by Almaviva; May-08-2011 at 03:06.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  2. #92
    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Does anybody here have an opinion on this?



    I'm trying to see if it's worth buying (it's priced at $35.50)
    Apparently it's a staged version that is quite controversial.
    Some call it profane, others call it sublime.
    I'm not a religious person so I won't be turned off by the "profane" aspects.
    But some also say it's depressing.
    Mostly everybody agrees that the musical part is tops, with excellent orchestra, chorus, and soloists.

    Opinions?

    I found on YouTube this condensed clip (about 14 minutes) and I'm not convinced. I need someone who has seen it in its entirety and with the blu-ray sound to give me an opinion.

    Last edited by Almaviva; May-10-2011 at 03:53.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  3. #93
    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post


    1996 - William Christie - Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment - Glyndebourne Chorus

    Stellar cast of exquisite singers - Dawn Upshaw, Lorraine Hunt, David Daniels, Richard Croft, and Frode Olsen as principals, and chorus also very good.

    I'm a little puzzled - if I understood correctly, some of our members object to this production (probably mainly due to the updated staging).

    I find it absolutely spectacular. First of all, this an oratorio, not an opera. So, the staging shouldn't be considered subversive in any way, because it is there just adding visual elements, and they are strikingly beautiful. It's not like Sellars was tampering with Handel's stage instructions. I don't know if you all consider this to be a valid point, but for me it is. I think in a way that it is more acceptable to add some striking imagery to an oratorio than to frontally contradict the author's staging instructions for an opera. In this case there are no staging instructions, so, I feel that letting the imagination soar up to the sky is less upsetting; at least, to me. I'm fully aware of the internal contradiction in what I'm saying, since Handel never intended this to be staged in the first place, so some will say that it is even worse tampering... but strangely enough, the above is the way I feel.

    Second, I've rarely seen such a spectacular MUSICAL performance on DVD. You all know that I prefer opera (well, generally speaking, because it's an oratorio here, but done in a very operatic way) with the visual/theatrical aspects, but I'm fully aware that my choice prevents me from spending as much money on the top recordings with the best singing artists (I spend enough on DVD's and blu-rays, I can't afford both my collection of opera on visual media - by now, somewhat extensive - AND an equally extensive collection of CD box-sets).

    So, when I see a DVD that has exquisite singing, it's the best of two worlds, and I surely won't fault this production for what some will say it's objectionable staging.

    You get a formidable conductor, a spectacular historically informed period orchestra, top singers in all roles and what you get is lots, lots, lots of pleasure.

    I feel that I don't even need to write up a detailed review of this product. It would just be a boring gushing endless string of praise. I'll just say, A+, highly recommended!!!
    Yes indeed, this is one baroque modern production that actually works, mainly because Upshaw and Hunt are so good at those slower arias, very good camera work also catching body movements and close-ups at the right time etc. Great collection of talent here

    The cover photo sets off alarm bells for me (euro trash warnings) but was pleasantly surprised at how nicely it was all handled. The final martyr scence for instance very nice with the cruciform death beds powerful visual symbols




  4. #94
    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    Does anybody here have an opinion on this?



    I'm trying to see if it's worth buying (it's priced at $35.50)
    Apparently it's a staged version that is quite controversial.
    Some call it profane, others call it sublime.
    I'm not a religious person so I won't be turned off by the "profane" aspects.
    But some also say it's depressing.
    Mostly everybody agrees that the musical part is tops, with excellent orchestra, chorus, and soloists.

    Opinions?
    Alma I thought after that painful "cadmus" DVD purchase ($50) you gave up those outrageous priced operas

    BTW that is only a single disc blu ray for $35.......no freaking way, boycott!

  5. #95
    Senior Member Aksel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    Does anybody here have an opinion on this?



    I'm trying to see if it's worth buying (it's priced at $35.50)
    Apparently it's a staged version that is quite controversial.
    Some call it profane, others call it sublime.
    I'm not a religious person so I won't be turned off by the "profane" aspects.
    But some also say it's depressing.
    Mostly everybody agrees that the musical part is tops, with excellent orchestra, chorus, and soloists.
    Yes! God, yes! Granted, I've only seen it on TV, but I absolutely adore this Messiah.
    The production is amazing with very excellent singers and orchestra.

  6. #96
    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    Default The Messiah

    I've been trying to think of whether to recommend it or not. The singing is very good so in that respect it's worth it, just for Bejun Mehta and Richard Croft. The staging is in no way an attempt to literally show what is in the text, and sometimes I have trouble even working out if it even illustrates it, but it is certainly intriguing and makes you pay attention to the words. I would say if the YouTubes didn't tempt you don't bother.
    Natalie

  7. #97
    Senior Member Elgarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    The cover photo sets off alarm bells for me (euro trash warnings) but was pleasantly surprised at how nicely it was all handled. The final martyr scence for instance very nice with the cruciform death beds powerful visual symbols
    I bought this Theodora for the sake of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, who (as I expected) is outstanding. But one man's meat is another's poison, and I seriously detested the closing scene of martyrdom. I squirmed and squirmed at (what I felt was) the artistic inappropriateness of it, and became so uncomfortable that I actually switched it off. I still haven't watched it through to the end, and probably never will. These boundaries between what's acceptable and what isn't are far too personal to define, I think.

  8. #98
    Senior Member HarpsichordConcerto's Avatar
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    Many of us have excellent versions of The Messiah on CD, so to tempt one to get a DVD version, it needs to be pretty damn good.

  9. #99
    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elgarian View Post
    I bought this Theodora for the sake of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, who (as I expected) is outstanding. But one man's meat is another's poison, and I seriously detested the closing scene of martyrdom. I squirmed and squirmed at (what I felt was) the artistic inappropriateness of it, and became so uncomfortable that I actually switched it off. I still haven't watched it through to the end, and probably never will. These boundaries between what's acceptable and what isn't are far too personal to define, I think.
    I couldn’t agree with you more, Alan, I quite enjoyed this version until the jarring execution scene which unlike you I did manage to watch all the way through, but all the time I was wondering how hard it was for the singers to perform in that ridiculous position.

    There is now an alternative:



    which I just finished watching, with less distracting business – in fact this is really semi -staged, the props consisting mainly of chairs, the costumes simply evening dress, and the execution is just indicated by the couple turning their chairs back to the audience. However it IS fully acted if you get my drift, with the characters engaging with each other usually to good effect. I was particularly impressed with the wonderful chemistry between Mehta and Schäfer as they gradually acknowledge their love for each other.

    The singing is of a high standard, with the only weak link being a rather anxious and harsh-sounding Bernada Fink as Irene – but when you are up against the glorious serenity of Lorrain Hunt in the other version you might as well just roll over and die. Johannes Kränzle is a wonderfully capricious and lecherous Valens, but still delivering his arias with grave beauty, and Joseph Kaiser a fine emotionally charged Septimius. Christina Schäfer doesn’t always sound totally lovely but she does a great job of conveying Theodora’s emotional journey from fear to acceptance. Bejun Mehta sings with his usual accomplished beauty and still manages to maintain emotional intensity and dignity while wearing Theodora’s little red dress for the whole of the last act.

    Natalie

  10. #100
    Senior Member Elgarian's Avatar
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    I'm glad you've found a good 'un Natalie. But wouldn't it be nice (I can't help thinking) to have just one really good traditional interpretation on DVD?

  11. #101
    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elgarian View Post
    I'm glad you've found a good 'un Natalie. But wouldn't it be nice (I can't help thinking) to have just one really good traditional interpretation on DVD?
    Absolutely. I can't think of any. With the Theodora I just saw I had to do a lot of "filling in" with my imagination.
    Natalie

  12. #102
    Senior Member HarpsichordConcerto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamascarlatti View Post
    There is now an alternative:

    which I just finished watching, with less distracting business – in fact this is really semi -staged, the props consisting mainly of chairs, the costumes simply evening dress, and the execution is just indicated by the couple turning their chairs back to the audience. However it IS fully acted if you get my drift, with the characters engaging with each other usually to good effect. I was particularly impressed with the wonderful chemistry between Mehta and Schäfer as they gradually acknowledge their love for each other.

    The singing is of a high standard, with the only weak link being a rather anxious and harsh-sounding Bernada Fink as Irene – but when you are up against the glorious serenity of Lorrain Hunt in the other version you might as well just roll over and die. Johannes Kränzle is a wonderfully capricious and lecherous Valens, but still delivering his arias with grave beauty, and Joseph Kaiser a fine emotionally charged Septimius. Christina Schäfer doesn’t always sound totally lovely but she does a great job of conveying Theodora’s emotional journey from fear to acceptance. Bejun Mehta sings with his usual accomplished beauty and still manages to maintain emotional intensity and dignity while wearing Theodora’s little red dress for the whole of the last act.
    Sounds good. I shall buy it when it comes around to do so. One can always do with an extra version!

    Theodora (premiered 1750) was one of Handel's finest mature creation during his later career, his penultimate large scale work (Jephtha (premiered 1752) followed Theodora and closed his compositional career; the last several years left to him, Handel was the greatest living composer on the planet).

  13. #103
    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HarpsichordConcerto View Post
    Sounds good. I shall buy it when it comes around to do so. One can always do with an extra version!

    Theodora (premiered 1750) was one of Handel's finest mature creation during his later career, his penultimate large scale work (Jephtha (premiered 1752) followed Theodora and closed his compositional career; the last several years left to him, Handel was the greatest living composer on the planet).
    The full glorious rich beauty of it really struck me this time - in the Sellars version I was too busy goggling disbelievingly at what was happening on stage. By the end of this I was crying (so incidentally was Septimius)
    Natalie

  14. #104
    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Like I said above, the Sellars Theodora is so musically stunning thanks to the spectacular conductor, orchestra, and singers that no matter what Sellars does to the staging, it's one of my most cherished DVDs. It's not every day that we get such a stellar cast of performers in all the important musical positions. I can't stop saying how magnificent the music was, both the one coming from the orchestra and the one coming from the singers' throats. If anything, one can just close his/her eyes or turn the TV off and let the music come from the receiver's speakers. This is just a sensational performance, musically speaking, and a must have. And I didn't really mind the staging, it had some very beautiful elements, it added to my enjoyment rather than the other way around.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Quote Originally Posted by mamascarlatti View Post
    I couldn’t agree with you more, Alan, I quite enjoyed this version until the jarring execution scene which unlike you I did manage to watch all the way through, but all the time I was wondering how hard it was for the singers to perform in that ridiculous position.

    There is now an alternative:



    which I just finished watching, with less distracting business – in fact this is really semi -staged, the props consisting mainly of chairs, the costumes simply evening dress, and the execution is just indicated by the couple turning their chairs back to the audience. However it IS fully acted if you get my drift, with the characters engaging with each other usually to good effect. I was particularly impressed with the wonderful chemistry between Mehta and Schäfer as they gradually acknowledge their love for each other.

    The singing is of a high standard, with the only weak link being a rather anxious and harsh-sounding Bernada Fink as Irene – but when you are up against the glorious serenity of Lorrain Hunt in the other version you might as well just roll over and die. Johannes Kränzle is a wonderfully capricious and lecherous Valens, but still delivering his arias with grave beauty, and Joseph Kaiser a fine emotionally charged Septimius. Christina Schäfer doesn’t always sound totally lovely but she does a great job of conveying Theodora’s emotional journey from fear to acceptance. Bejun Mehta sings with his usual accomplished beauty and still manages to maintain emotional intensity and dignity while wearing Theodora’s little red dress for the whole of the last act.

    Funny, because I just popped into this thread to ask about the Theodora version with Mehta/Schäfer. The Glyndebourne version has a very special place in my heart, but I thought the modern staging (and of course the thought of Bejun Mehta as Didymus, with all the glorious arias) sounded really interesting. I didn't know it was on DVD at all until I saw the trailer on youtube just now, and now I really want to buy it...I know I'll probably compare the two versions all the way but it's nice to see another staged version of my favourite Händel piece.

    By the way, somehow I didn't think Bejun Mehta looked feminine in the red dress, he looked more like a Tibetan monk to me.
    ****Karen Patricia****
    http://www.karen-patricia.com

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