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Thread: Bellini on DVD and Blu-ray

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    Senior Member jhar26's Avatar
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    Default Bellini on DVD and Blu-ray

    Since at least one distinguished member is on sort of a Bellini trip these days here are my thoughts on a dvd of said composer's I Puritani I bought a few months ago. The star attraction here is very much the Russian soprano Anna Netrebko. Sure - Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland or some others may be even better in this repertoire, but Callas' Elvira was never captured on video and Sutherland is definitely more fun to listen to than to watch.

    Netrebko does vocally very well in my opinion and she's great to watch too. Not only because she's such a gorgeous looking lady but also because she's a good actress, and one who uses the entire stage to her advantage. In fact, the rest of the cast looks like a bunch of statues compared to her. Vocally most of them are acceptable though, but Netrebko is clearly the star of the show in every meaning of the word. The production is not spectacular, but at least it's traditional. A nice bonus is that Renée Fleming does an interview with Anna between acts and the legendary Beverly Sills adds some comments about the opera also. Not a 'perfect' I Puritani maybe, but lots of fun anyway.




    Some youtubes....

    [YT]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDXegJm9ezw[/YT]

    [YT]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ko7K-wlowQA[/YT]

    [YT]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlS_Zm0Xzbg[/YT]
    Last edited by jhar26; Dec-26-2010 at 12:40.

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    Senior Member Elgarian's Avatar
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    So far I'm only familiar with two Bellini operas - I Capuleti, seen live once, and heard on CD several times; and Norma, heard once on CD. But this Christmas has brought me La Sonnambula, which I haven't listened to yet. So I'm glad to have the chance of looking at these Youtubes, and to read your account of the DVD of I Puritani - of which I knew nothing at all up to this point. I can see what you mean about Netrebko's domination of the stage, and her use of it. You can't quite take your eyes off her, can you?

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    Senior Member jhar26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elgarian View Post
    So far I'm only familiar with two Bellini operas - I Capuleti, seen live once, and heard on CD several times; and Norma, heard once on CD. But this Christmas has brought me La Sonnambula, which I haven't listened to yet. So I'm glad to have the chance of looking at these Youtubes, and to read your account of the DVD of I Puritani - of which I knew nothing at all up to this point. I can see what you mean about Netrebko's domination of the stage, and her use of it. You can't quite take your eyes off her, can you?
    Yes - she's good. My only regret is that I didn't wait a few months longer before buying. I paid £23 (not including shipping) for it at Amazon while this guy from HongKong sells it for £4.5. :angry:

    The libretto from I Puritani is rather mediocre (Bellini didn't work with his regular librettist Felice Romani on this one) but the music ranks with Bellini's best IMO. It was his last opera. I think you'll love La Sonnambula. Norma, La Sonnambula and I Puritani are regarded by most as his best.

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    Senior Member Elgarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhar26 View Post
    one distinguished member
    You mean this guy? :-


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    Senior Member Elgarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhar26 View Post
    I think you'll love La Sonnambula. Norma, La Sonnambula and I Puritani are regarded by most as his best.
    Well, I Capuleti knocked me for six, and I know I'll grow to love Norma more as I become more familiar with it, so it seems to me I have a lot to look forward to! (It would be marvellous if your guy on eBay is as good as he looks. I'd be far more willing to experiment with DVD opera at his prices!)

    The Naxos La Sonnambula that I was given for Christmas is supposed to be pretty good, but although it comes with the Italian libretto, there's no translation, which is a shame.

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    Senior Member jhar26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elgarian View Post
    You mean this guy? :-
    Yep - that's the one.

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    Senior Member jhar26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elgarian View Post
    Well, I Capuleti knocked me for six, and I know I'll grow to love Norma more as I become more familiar with it, so it seems to me I have a lot to look forward to! (It would be marvellous if your guy on eBay is as good as he looks. I'd be far more willing to experiment with DVD opera at his prices!)
    I'll let you know my verdict on this guy as soon as my dvd's arrive.
    The Naxos La Sonnambula that I was given for Christmas is supposed to be pretty good, but although it comes with the Italian libretto, there's no translation, which is a shame.
    Definitely. Maybe you can find a translation on the internet, but I doubt it.

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    Can someone recommend a good Norma DVD. The stage production would hopefully be reasonably good, with decent acting and sets and so on, but mostly I'm asking for the best music.

    And on a side note, please also recommend a good full length Norma CD set. Thanks.
    Last edited by jhar26; Dec-26-2010 at 12:33.

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    Senior Member jhar26's Avatar
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    I don't have a Norma DVD although I know that there are several out there (June Anderson, Joan Sutherland, Edita Gruberova, etc). I have the famous Callas cd set (her first studio recording of the opera), but I'm one of the few who likes it rather than loves it. The reason is that the voices are too much upfront and the orchestra too much in the background. But considering how popular that set is mine is obviously a minority opinion.
    Last edited by jhar26; Dec-26-2010 at 12:34.

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    Thanks for the recommendation but I am one of those who doesn't care much for Callas' singing. I realize that places me in the minority.

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    Senior Member jhar26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katdad View Post
    Thanks for the recommendation but I am one of those who doesn't care much for Callas' singing. I realize that places me in the minority.
    I like and respect her, and she's a great artist but she's not one of my top fave sopranos. That doesn't mean that I think that my faves are better - just a matter of personal taste. Let's just say that I could listen to Kiri, Fleming, Freni or Schwarzkopf for hours on a daily basis while I have to be in the mood for Callas.

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    Ordered:



    Cover looks promising (good customes and therefore, hopefully, traditional staging)

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    Senior Member jhar26's Avatar
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    As traditional as it gets, Aramis.
    Martha doesn't signal when the orchestra comes in, she's just pursing her lips..

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    Finally watched this one. This Cutler is spectacularly terrible. He has the voice of homosexual sucker. At least here he sings this way. I skipped all his longer arias. I'm glad that he has relatively (as for a main character) little to sing. The rest of male singers are great, Netrebko is great, staging is great (one of best I've ever seen, scenography in last scene is perfect), same with customes. Who let this guy almost ruin this performance? He's to weak to be given such cool custome and stage partners.

    This cemented my antipathy fot Arturo as a character. He's lucky *******, that's all. The real positive male character of this opera is Riccardo (very well performed on this DVD). He and Elvira's uncle are just for my liking.

    You may say that Riccardo is vicious because he did what he did in first act, but it's totally natural for all noble dudes to hate dudes who steal their brides. He had right to do what he did and letting go after being convinced by friend makes him even more noble and sympathetic. Superiority of his voice compared to Arturo's doubled those views.

    By the way, before this I had recording with Callas and there is diffrent ending - after Cromwell's heralds arrive Elvira doesn't sing solo like she does on this DVD. Diffrent versions of opera?

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


    Finally watched this one. This Cutler is spectacularly terrible. He has the voice of homosexual sucker. At least here he sings this way. I skipped all his longer arias. I'm glad that he has relatively (as for a main character) little to sing. The rest of male singers are great, Netrebko is great, staging is great (one of best I've ever seen, scenography in last scene is perfect), same with customes. Who let this guy almost ruin this performance? He's to weak to be given such cool custome and stage partners.

    This cemented my antipathy fot Arturo as a character. He's lucky *******, that's all. The real positive male character of this opera is Riccardo (very well performed on this DVD). He and Elvira's uncle are just for my liking.
    This male vocals will get big upgrade in soon to be released Putitani with JDF and D'arcangelo, and Nino Machaidze will be as good or better than Netrebko in the female vocal department I predict.

    The only slight catch is the spartan bare staging may let us down, although costumes look very good


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