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Thread: Gluck on DVD and Blu-ray

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    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Default Gluck on DVD and Blu-ray

    OK, I'll start a thread for him.
    "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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    Default Gluck: Orphée

    This is an early and short review I wrote on this production for another site, and it was my first contact with this opera. You can see that I went liking it more and more (I was typing the review while I watched it). Nowadays I like it even more, but I'll post the original review anyway. At the time I didn't even focus on the singing, and apparently I didn't have for Patricia Petibon the appreciation that I now have.


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    Gluck's Orphée, conducted by John Eliot Gardiner, with the Orchestre Révolutionaire et Romantique at the Châtelet, with Magdalena Kozena as Orphée, Madeline Bender as Eurydice, and Patricia Petibon as L'Amour.



    So far so good: beautiful overture, gorgeous opening chorus, and Orphée's lament is fabulous. Looks like a winner.

    Edit - more than half-way through, very beautiful music, but a little monotone. This staging is so static that it looks more like a concert version. Singers move so slowly, with weird fixed gestures, and the colors are only blue and green. Visually beautiful but it gets old fast. Thankfully this opera is short.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTd_fwRm0wU

    I know I shouldn't be judging it based on the staging but rather on the music, but I'm not very enthusiastic so far. It's delicate, melodious, and dreamy, but also a little boring.

    I guess this one will be a B for me.

    Supposedly the ending will have happy and lively music, but a happy ending for the Orpheus myth is a little strange so I don't see how it will earn more than a B from me. We'll see.

    Edit 2 - This aria is certainly very beautiful:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCojQsFrmIU

    A B+, then.

    Finsished. A beautiful ending. On its own merits a B++ very close to an A, and given its historical importance in shaking up opera seria, should after all get an A-.
    "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 DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    This is an early and short review I wrote on this production for another site, and it was my first contact with this opera. You can see that I went liking it more and more (I was typing the review while I watched it). Nowadays I like it even more, but I'll post the original review anyway. At the time I didn't even focus on the singing, and apparently I didn't have for Patricia Petibon the appreciation that I now have.


    -----------------


    Gluck's Orphée, conducted by John Eliot Gardiner, with the Orchestre Révolutionaire et Romantique at the Châtelet, with Magdalena Kozena as Orphée, Madeline Bender as Eurydice, and Patricia Petibon as L'Amour.



    So far so good: beautiful overture, gorgeous opening chorus, and Orphée's lament is fabulous. Looks like a winner.

    Edit - more than half-way through, very beautiful music, but a little monotone. This staging is so static that it looks more like a concert version. Singers move so slowly, with weird fixed gestures, and the colors are only blue and green. Visually beautiful but it gets old fast. Thankfully this opera is short.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTd_fwRm0wU

    I know I shouldn't be judging it based on the staging but rather on the music, but I'm not very enthusiastic so far. It's delicate, melodious, and dreamy, but also a little boring.

    I guess this one will be a B for me.

    Supposedly the ending will have happy and lively music, but a happy ending for the Orpheus myth is a little strange so I don't see how it will earn more than a B from me. We'll see.

    Edit 2 - This aria is certainly very beautiful:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCojQsFrmIU

    A B+, then.

    Finsished. A beautiful ending. On its own merits a B++ very close to an A, and given its historical importance in shaking up opera seria, should after all get an A-.
    The blue period Gluck oprpheus.............

    This should have been great, you have sympathetic conductor in Gardiner and a very talented trio of female singers especially Kozena and Petibon, but I was let down by bland minimalist production and distorted slow motion mannequin poses of singers

    To add insult to injury they omitted all dance numbers, noooooooo.....

    Even though singers are not as good and costume design could have been better I have added the Austrailian opera version to my collection, it is not perfect but it does have very good choreographed dance sequences which is very important to me. Modern stage design works much better here also for me



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    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    The blue period Gluck oprpheus.............

    This should have been great, you have sympathetic conductor in Gardiner and a very talented trio of female singers especially Kozena and Petibon, but I was let down by bland minimalist production and distorted slow motion mannequin poses of singers
    I absolutely agree. I don't mind minimalist productions if as a result the acting is allowed to shine through (like the ROH Lulu), but here instead of character development you get nothing but stylised gestures and slow movements - beautiful in a way but frankly boring if overdone. It might as well have been a CD. I think I prefer the weird "personages in history" version from Met Player.
    Natalie

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    Senior Member Elgarian's Avatar
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    Here are my comments on the Blue Orfee, dredged from the old thread and patched together. As you see, I'm far more enthusiastic than most about this production:



    Response after watching Act 1
    The first act is very promising indeed. It's strange - make no mistake. There's an awful lot of blue, and the slow, measured hand-and-arm movements are disconcerting (though not so much as they might be if I hadn't seen and been moved by the use of hand movements in Cadmus and Hermione). But Kozena is a gripping presence right from the start. Her singing is like no one else's - majestic , powerful, and packed with passion - and here it's just as one would expect. Then from the moment Petibon arrives as 'Love', an extra vital spark enters. The movements and gestures they both make, both while standing still, and moving in relation to each other, are really quite rivetting. I don't know what they mean, but they keep my attention very closely focused. And at times I was so moved that I felt quite choked.

    Response after seeing it all
    Well, all I can say is that it's wonderful. I can't fault it, truly. I can see that it might not suit everyone - the strange sets, and curious abstract arm and hand movements simply may not convey anything to some people; I don't know. But I found it compelling and beautiful to watch in every respect. Everything takes place in a kind of abstract landscape which would drive me crazy if it were Don Giovanni or something; but in this mythic context, it all seems entirely appropriate. There's none of that clash of inappropriate music against inappropriate visuals that I complain about with anachronistic modern productions. Orpheus, Euridice, and Love are symbolic, mythic characters, and all the action takes place in a realm removed from reality, yet powerfully symbolic of it. We even, in Gluck's version of the myth, get a happy ending!

    In short, it's far, far better than I expected it to be on the basis of the youtube snippets I'd seen. I hadn't realised just how much I'd be hanging on every gesture, and every note. The music is wonderful, and the singing of all three protagonists - Kozena, Petibon, and Bender - is superb; no other word will do. One of my happiest DVD purchases.

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    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Default Gluck: Alceste (Paris version) on DVD

    Alceste [Paris] by Christophe Willibald Gluck performed in French
    Conductor John Eliot Gardiner - 1999(LI)
    Orchestra - English Baroque Soloists
    Chorus - Monteverdi Choir
    Alceste - Anne Sofie von Otter
    Admète - Paul Groves
    Grand Prêtre d'Apollon - Dietrich Henschel
    Evandre - Yann Beuron
    Un Héraut - Ludovic Tézier
    Hercule - Dietrich Henschel
    Apollon - Ludovic Tézier
    La voix de l'Oracle - Frédéric Caton
    Dieu infernal - Frédéric Caton
    Alter Ego d'Alceste - Gladys Massenet
    Enfants - Lucie Barret - Arthur Carayon
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    DVD (Video) - EMI Classics 2165709 (2008)
    Video recording of a performance at the Théâtre du Chatelet, Paris.





    Stage director Robert Wilson
    Video director Brian Large
    Choreography Giuseppe Frigeni
    Running time 134 minutes
    16:9 image
    LPCM stereo or DTS surround
    Optional subtitles in original French, English, or German
    Region free
    No extras - and gasp, no liner notes!

    This product with superior quality of image and sound starts to dazzle since the credits, with the beautiful bluish imagery and the lush sounds of the English Baroque Soloists playing the spectacular overture.

    Sir Gardiner's excellent HIP band is soon enough joined by his equally excellent choir, and the fabulous singers make their entrance one by one.

    The baroque opera lover is in for a treat. Yes, the staging is static, a frequent complaint of reviewers. But it is majestically so, with the minimalistic solemnity that this incredibly melodious work deserves. Movements are slow and calculated, with stylized, statue-like gesticulation (one Amazon reviewer compared it to Kabuki theater, and another one to a Greek vase brought to life - a very fitting analogy). Blue is the dominant color, with some hints of Bordeaux.

    What some reviewers call boring, I call fascinating, hypnotic, dreamy, strikingly beautiful.

    Anne Sofie von Otter in the title role delivers superlative singing, in a composed, dignified performance - although some say that she can't match the intensity of a Jessye Norman in the same role. Dietrich Henschel as the High Priest causes goose bumps with beautiful voice and impressive facial expression, and Paul Groves' Admète is equally good.

    An Amazon reviewer bashes the sound engineering. It's certainly not true. It must be the fault of the reviewer's equipment because in mine, the DTS track sounds simply divine.

    Certainly to appreciate this staging one needs to like minimalistic settings and slow motion gesticulation and choreography, but otherwise, I'll say "Highly Recommended." Not to forget that the opera itself is extremely beautiful.

    And the UWP is now down to... 22!


    Last edited by Almaviva; Jul-29-2011 at 16:19.
    "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 Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    I have been looking over the DVDs of Orphee and Orfeo and have come to the conclusion that this is the one to get. It is expensive, so maybe will sit on my wish list for a while until either a cheaper listing comes up or I give in. Kassarova is the main attraction here.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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    The one from the Met with Stephanie Blythe should be released on DVD.
    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
    "Mahatma Gandhi"

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    Senior Member Dr. Shatterhand's Avatar
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    Are there any Gluck productions set in Ancient Greece?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SimonTemplar View Post
    Are there any Gluck productions set in Ancient Greece?
    If that was the case I would buy it without one minute hesitation.
    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
    "Mahatma Gandhi"

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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    mis post, sorry.
    Last edited by Fritz Kobus; Apr-30-2017 at 18:19.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Florestan View Post
    mis post, sorry.
    The answer would be the same any way
    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
    "Mahatma Gandhi"

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    Senior Member Scopitone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florestan View Post
    mis post, sorry.
    I believe these days that the preferred nomenclature is "Ms. Post".

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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scopitone View Post
    I believe these days that the preferred nomenclature is "Ms. Post".
    Well I did apologize for the impropriety.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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