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Thread: Berlioz on DVD and blu-ray

  1. #16
    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    I just did a quick watch on MET player

    Traditional production is very lavish spectacle especially sequence of presentation of the trojan horse, the elaborate dance numbers dwarf the modern Gardiner version (I like ballet in opera), although almost all male dancers hmmmm......if only we could remove the larger than life Jessie Norman (as cassandra) and replace her with the passionate firey AC Antonacci from Gardiner we would have a real winner

    Troyanos as Dido was not too bad especially for back when this was made, the abstract greek ships was nicely handled visual, overall could use some more abstraction and creative visuals (like the moveable rear mirrors for Gradiner) but I would probably choose this over the Gardiner version because it tells the story better for me
    How do you compare the singing in the two versions?
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  2. #17
    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Cassandra
    AC Antonacci is more dramatic plus better actress compared to Jessie Norman (and is also attractive visually) Norman has a powerful voice but Antonacci much more expressive and colorful

    Dido
    Susan Graham gets a slight edge here has refined elegant "queenly" appearance, Troyanos is pretty good not far behind just not as elegant perhaps. Graham has slightly lighter tone, Troyanos can be darker more ominous when needed

    Aeneas
    Placido Domingo in his prime obvious choice over "that other guy"
    Last edited by DarkAngel; Jan-19-2011 at 01:11.

  3. #18
    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    Cassandra
    AC Antonacci is more dramatic plus better actress compared to Jessie Norman (and is also attractive visually) Norman has a powerful voice but Antonacci much more expressive and colorful

    Dido
    Susan Graham gets a slight edge here has refined elegant "queenly" appearance, Troyanos is pretty good not far behind just not as elegant perhaps. Graham has slightly lighter tone, Troyanos can be darker more ominous when needed

    Aeneas
    Placido Domingo in his prime obvious choice over "that other guy"
    That's a fair assessment. In the case of Jessie Norman, I do forgive her lack of visual attractiveness, because the lady can sing!!!
    "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 sospiro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post



    Outstanding! There isn't a single note that isn't beautiful. The damn thing (pun intended) is exquisite from the beginning to the end. The orchestration has stupendous musical pictorialism (e.g. the thrilling tone painting in the ride to the abyss). There are hypnotic, dreamy moments. There is sublime romanticism. There are exciting moments of pandemonium (literally). The poetry is superb - what a libretto! There are excellent tenor, baritone, and mezzo arias. There is sublime choral music. The length of the work is just right. Nothing is superfluous, nothing is excessive, nothing is missing. This was conceived as a concert piece, therefore there is no recitatif, because the score and the arias tell it all. And it ends (like it starts) delicately and peacefully, instead of a big oom-pah-pah. Perfect! What a masterpiece!

    This version has superlative singing by all artists, and exquisite conducting.

    Absolutely first rate! A+!

    What I don't understand is why it doesn't enjoy more popularity and why it's relatively rarely performed or staged in its opera form. There are great theatrical opportunities in it, with nasty Méphistophélès (oh boy, he is despicable) and other assorted demons, a damsel in distress, taverns, forests, peaceful prairies... A good stage director would have lots of interesting aspects to deal with. Sure, it takes a big orchestra and chorus, but only four singers, and it only lasts 2 hours and 10 minutes. It seems accessible to most companies - not to mention the concert form. And it is so damn good, so why don't we see it everywhere?

    Maybe it is because of competition with the vastly more popular (but in my opinion vastly inferior) Gounod's Faust.

    One of these days I'll watch the staged version on MetPlayer.
    I am torn between the staged version above which has some great reviews and this



    of which one reviewer says

    This DVD has completed my conversion. All my life I have been used to Berlioz’s Damnation of Faust as a concert work, and I have had no particular view as to whether it would be suitable for staging. The stage-production here is controversial and even provocative, but it has left me in no doubt at all that the work does not reveal its full stature and significance unless it is enacted.
    I have taken note of Alma's review - anyone else with an opinion?
    Ann

  5. #20
    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    I don't know if it's worth waiting for the Met to put out their version. It's on Met player and awesome.
    Natalie

  6. #21
    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamascarlatti View Post
    I don't know if it's worth waiting for the Met to put out their version. It's on Met player and awesome.
    I know, it's one of the major reasons why I got the membership. But I haven't watched it yet. My membership is fully paid until May, so, I'll get to it eventually.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  7. #22
    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    I know, it's one of the major reasons why I got the membership. But I haven't watched it yet. My membership is fully paid until May, so, I'll get to it eventually.
    I'm shocked. Alma the Berlioz champion WAITING TO WATCH THIS AMAZING PRODUCTION!

    Natalie

  8. #23
    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamascarlatti View Post
    I'm shocked. Alma the Berlioz champion WAITING TO WATCH THIS AMAZING PRODUCTION!

    Hey, Aramis is the Berlioz Champion! I'm just the runner-up.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  9. #24
    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamascarlatti View Post
    I don't know if it's worth waiting for the Met to put out their version. It's on Met player and awesome.
    Thanks for that. Think I'll wait.
    Ann

  10. #25
    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    Default La Damnation de Faust



    So I borrowed this from the library, and here I am watching it, and thinking WTF every two or three minutes. Why isn’t Faust old at the beginning? Why is he carrying a milk pitcher? Who are the strange people dressed in baggy white trousers and beanies? Why is there a solar eclipse in act 1? And a (lamentably old fashioned) cell phone? Why does the chorus grab torches and yet more milk pitchers to go to war? Are we in some kind of dairy factory? That white tower with liquid swishing around in it might be a milk silo... Oh good, mysterious bed like structures, or are they coffins for the local Michelin Man? And one of the most stirring military marches in operatic history illustrates – putting a ladder up against the silo. That’s so that that the slightly portly tenor can be made to run up it while trying to sing. Oh of course, he needs to empty his pitcher into the silo, the dairy industry needs him. Oh wait, the milk’s on fire. And the tenor has fallen into the silo and is being processed through it. Must be hard to sing as you’re being squeezed through a tube, but he’s still sounding great. Meanwhile the subtitle writer is obviously addicted to the same substance as the director “I return with boredom in my bags” (no French subtitles).

    Now Mephistopheles has appeared. He looks like an escapee from the Matrix, and is being lit from the floor, like a child with a torch scaring the other kids. I'm a bit dubious about the shiny yarmulke. He’s tempting Faust with... a patent leather shoe. Ok, it’s obviously a better offer than staying in the milk factory, Faust fell for it. The other workers are clutching brandy bottles and dancing on the coffins. Mephistopheles now has a whip and is having a lot of fun cracking it out of sync with the music. A tree has mysteriously appeared in the factory and Faust is smoking a hookah under it. He is now also part of the black yarmulke club and is completely stoned, but amazingly he is still singing while borne aloft by 6 stage hands. Faust has had a vision of Marguerite and has been given the other shoe (a bit Life of Brian, isn’t it). We’re back on the silo but he managed not to fall in this time. The milk’s on fire again though.

    I won’t go on, you get the message. The singing is impeccable and the music brilliantly beautiful, but this production distracts rather than illustrates. Annie, get the concert DVD, or a good CD, or wait for the Met version, however long it takes.
    Natalie

  11. #26
    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamascarlatti View Post


    So I borrowed this from the library, and here I am watching it, and thinking WTF every two or three minutes. Why isn’t Faust old at the beginning? Why is he carrying a milk pitcher? Who are the strange people dressed in baggy white trousers and beanies? Why is there a solar eclipse in act 1? And a (lamentably old fashioned) cell phone? Why does the chorus grab torches and yet more milk pitchers to go to war? Are we in some kind of dairy factory? That white tower with liquid swishing around in it might be a milk silo... Oh good, mysterious bed like structures, or are they coffins for the local Michelin Man? And one of the most stirring military marches in operatic history illustrates – putting a ladder up against the silo. That’s so that that the slightly portly tenor can be made to run up it while trying to sing. Oh of course, he needs to empty his pitcher into the silo, the dairy industry needs him. Oh wait, the milk’s on fire. And the tenor has fallen into the silo and is being processed through it. Must be hard to sing as you’re being squeezed through a tube, but he’s still sounding great. Meanwhile the subtitle writer is obviously addicted to the same substance as the director “I return with boredom in my bags” (no French subtitles).

    Now Mephistopheles has appeared. He looks like an escapee from the Matrix, and is being lit from the floor, like a child with a torch scaring the other kids. I'm a bit dubious about the shiny yarmulke. He’s tempting Faust with... a patent leather shoe. Ok, it’s obviously a better offer than staying in the milk factory, Faust fell for it. The other workers are clutching brandy bottles and dancing on the coffins. Mephistopheles now has a whip and is having a lot of fun cracking it out of sync with the music. A tree has mysteriously appeared in the factory and Faust is smoking a hookah under it. He is now also part of the black yarmulke club and is completely stoned, but amazingly he is still singing while borne aloft by 6 stage hands. Faust has had a vision of Marguerite and has been given the other shoe (a bit Life of Brian, isn’t it). We’re back on the silo but he managed not to fall in this time. The milk’s on fire again though.


    Quote Originally Posted by mamascarlatti View Post
    I won’t go on, you get the message. The singing is impeccable and the music brilliantly beautiful, but this production distracts rather than illustrates. Annie, get the concert DVD, or a good CD, or wait for the Met version, however long it takes.
    With a review like that I've just gotta see this!!! Seriously I think I'll wait for the Met.
    Ann

  12. #27
    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    The dreadful Gergiev/La Fura dels Bauls production of Les Troyens is about to be released (5/31/11 in the UK)



    "Ancient myth meets Star Wars, and the eye is constantly engaged with images ranging from space-age technology to details of soccer uniforms."

    Jesus Christ! Make it disappear!!!
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  13. #28
    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    The dreadful Gergiev/La Fura dels Bauls production of Les Troyens is about to be released (5/31/11 in the UK)



    "Ancient myth meets Star Wars, and the eye is constantly engaged with images ranging from space-age technology to details of soccer uniforms."

    Jesus Christ! Make it disappear!!!
    For some reason I feel masochistically tempted to get it.
    Natalie

  14. #29
    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Hey, Nat, I'm all for it. As long as I'm not the guinea pig myself, I won't mind if someone else tests the waters. Then in the unlikely case that you survive the horrible experience, you can tell us about it.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  15. #30
    Senior Member jflatter's Avatar
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    I have to admit I am slightly tempted myself. If Gergiev wasn't conducting it and it was someone more known for this repertoire then I would bite.

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