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Thread: Opera recitals, concerts, and documentaries on DVD and blu-ray

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    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Default Opera recitals, concerts, and documentaries on DVD and blu-ray

    I'm starting a new thread for this large category of videos that we have completely overlooked so far: those about opera or with recitals/concerts, but without complete operas.

    I'll start by reviewing this PBS movie: Amato, A Love Affair With Opera, on DVD



    This is a wonderful documentary about the Amato Opera Company, this quasi-amateur opera house in New York City's East Village neighborhood that operated continuously for 61 years out of a tiny brownstone, led by Tony Amato and his late wife Sally Amato (depicted on the cover).



    They staged a seasonful of complete opera productions (5-6 different operas every year, each running for 10 nights) in their small theater that seats 107 people, with a 20-foot stage a tiny pit - and served as training/learning site and launching pad for many successful professional opera singers, directors, and conductors. They had a repertory of about 60 operas.

    Their productions were not improvised - they had real scenarios, real props, a small ensemble (a piano, a few other instruments), rehearsals.

    I was already familiar with their work by reading a book written by one of their former trainees.

    The movie tells Tony Amato's life story, from his early life in Italy until he came to America at age 7, through his own singing career, to his passion for opera and decision to start his own small opera company. His wife - also a former singer - helped in several capacities - selling tickets, sewing costumes, cooking pasta for the entire troupe, doing voice teaching, being the light technician and sound engineer, etc. Tony teached, directed, conducted, played...

    There are several short interviews with their singers and students (some, better known, with Met careers).

    This film is from 2001. The company closed in May of 2009, due to the passing of Sally Amato and the old age of Tony Amato (he's still alive, at age 91). Two spin-off companies, however, sprouted from it: Bleecker Street Opera, and Amore Opera.

    While the documentary - with a running time of 60 minutes - is a little disappointing because it doesn't show images/sounds of one of their performances (just rehearsals), it is sweet and entertaining enough.

    Here you can find some pictures from one of their season brochures:

    http://www.amato.org//60th.html#0

    Quite amazing!
    Last edited by Almaviva; Jun-03-2011 at 02:54.
    "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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    This is a great opera highlights document...........

    13 extended extracts from various Dessay video opera performances, such a great actress and exciting dynamic singer. The frustrating thing is most of the complete operas referenced here are not available for purchase, tragic situation!

    Picture and sound quality are very good and the commentary is well worth turning on here as Natalie will give you some important background for each performance

    Essential purchase for opera lovers, highest recommendation
    Last edited by DarkAngel; Jun-03-2011 at 17:07.

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    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Best single Callas video document..........

    Combines two parts of 1958 Paris TV broadcast: a recital that includes many of her famous arias showing diversity of style and dramatic presentation......Callas is just stunning here vocally and visually, too bad the 1950s TV picture quality can't be of higher quality (Callas in HD would be dream come true)

    Also has segment from Tosca Act II dealing with her scence with Scarpia (Tito Gobi) including her famous "vissi d arte" at last we get to see Callas intense performance style with her facial expressions and body movements, a revelation

    Needless to say this is an essential opera document
    Last edited by DarkAngel; Jun-03-2011 at 17:09.

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    Junior Member hemidemisemiquaver's Avatar
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    Today I already wrote about giant insects, and spotting another one in a video (watch 6:20) was both hilarious and unexpected. I recommend watching it out and out, though, 'cause it is a mere knock-out!


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    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Yes, this scene is here, and the whole DVD is spectacular:

    "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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    Even if you are not a huge Sutherland fan you will be impressed with most of these 1960s TV performances, the vocal range of early Sutherland while still having clear voice will amaze.....the name La Stupenda will be self evident

    You will get a little chuckle from some of the TV stage sets as them seem dated now, but do enjoy the singing

    Here is a sample of TV perfomances from above DVD, Lakme "Bell Song"

    Last edited by DarkAngel; Jun-03-2011 at 22:32.

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    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Don't own this as a DVD but have seen it on PBS TV show, the first and best 3 tenors concert with Zubin Mehta.......

    I believe this holds the record for most sales of any classical music DVD (and CD)

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


    Don't own this as a DVD but have seen it on PBS TV show, the first and best 3 tenors concert with Zubin Mehta.......

    I believe this holds the record for most sales of any classical music DVD (and CD)
    If you're wondering why I've put this story in this thread, bear with me...

    Before José Carreras was diagnosed with leukaemia, he had started an affair with an Austrian Airlines air hostess called Jutta Jäger and apparently had promised to leave his wife for her. When he became ill, any thought of divorce was put on hold and it was Mrs Carreras who (publicly anyway) sat at the bedside but rumour has it that Jutta visited him in Seattle when he had his bone marrow transplant.

    After his quite miraculous recovery, he was busy with 'come back' concerts & the setting up of his Leukaemia Foundation etc. He still hadn't divorced his wife (allegedly too busy) & Jutta was still waiting. Eventually Jutta got so fed up of waiting she called the whole thing off. Carreras pleaded with her, started divorce proceedings but too late & she up sticks & left. He was the Spanish opera world's darling & was used to getting his own way so was shocked & furious that she wouldn't do as he wanted. She eventually married someone else.

    At the start of this clip of the rehearsal of The Three Tenors 1990 concert





    an aeroplane disturbs the now single Carreras & you can hear him petulantly mutter "Austrian Airlines" as if sabotaging the rehearsal was the sort of thing the now foot-loose Jutta, in her aeroplane, would do.

    As it happened they met again many years later & are now happily married.
    Ann

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    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    I'm starting a new thread for this large category of videos that we have completely overlooked so far: those about opera or with recitals/concerts, but without complete operas.

    I'll start by reviewing this PBS movie: Amato, A Love Affair With Opera, on DVD



    This is a wonderful documentary about the Amato Opera Company, this quasi-amateur opera house in New York City's East Village neighborhood that operated continuously for 61 years out of a tiny brownstone, led by Tony Amato and his late wife Sally Amato (depicted on the cover).



    They staged a seasonful of complete opera productions (5-6 different operas every year, each running for 10 nights) in their small theater that seats 107 people, with a 20-foot stage a tiny pit - and served as training/learning site and launching pad for many successful professional opera singers, directors, and conductors. They had a repertory of about 60 operas.

    Their productions were not improvised - they had real scenarios, real props, a small ensemble (a piano, a few other instruments), rehearsals.

    I was already familiar with their work by reading a book written by one of their former trainees.

    The movie tells Tony Amato's life story, from his early life in Italy until he came to America at age 7, through his own singing career, to his passion for opera and decision to start his own small opera company. His wife - also a former singer - helped in several capacities - selling tickets, sewing costumes, cooking pasta for the entire troupe, doing voice teaching, being the light technician and sound engineer, etc. Tony teached, directed, conducted, played...

    There are several short interviews with their singers and students (some, better known, with Met careers).

    This film is from 2001. The company closed in May of 2009, due to the passing of Sally Amato and the old age of Tony Amato (he's still alive, at age 91). Two spin-off companies, however, sprouted from it: Bleecker Street Opera, and Amore Opera.

    While the documentary - with a running time of 60 minutes - is a little disappointing because it doesn't show images/sounds of one of their performances (just rehearsals), it is sweet and entertaining enough.

    Here you can find some pictures from one of their season brochures:

    http://www.amato.org//60th.html#0

    Quite amazing!
    Any names we would recognize as students?

    Wonder how many other small independent opera schools/companies there are in NYC...........
    Many large cities have special schools CPE (creative and performing arts), wonder if the MET has a school for singers?

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    Any names we would recognize as students?

    Wonder how many other small independent opera schools/companies there are in NYC...........
    Many large cities have special schools CPE (creative and performing arts), wonder if the MET has a school for singers?
    Don't know about the Met but Seattle and ROH have a young artists' programme.
    Ann

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    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Both Chicago Lyric Opera and the Met have young artists programs.
    The names weren't recognizable, at least not to me. They would flash on the screen: such and such, who sang at the Met for 12 years - stuff like this. I don't recall the names.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    These are some of my DVDs that I like:








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    And talking about Pavarotti, I continue my list:

    I bought this one for Pavarotti and James Brown duet.



    The three tenors concerts:









    Two other great concerts from Pavarotti:




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    Not necessarily an opera recital, but quite entertaining:



    I discovered a lot of pop/rock singers/groups due to Pavarotti & friends concerts

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    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Default Cecilia Bartoli: Maria on DVD



    I'm watching this and is is pretty good. Cecilia shows amazing agility and is sober enough here, mostly (not always) without her usual over-the-top facial expressions. The selection is rather pleasant, with the arias paying tribute to Maria Malibran. This concert in Barcelona celebrated Malibran's 200th birthday. Running time 79 minutes, good 16:9 image, good sound with LPCM and Dolby 5.1, subtitles in several languages, with the good orchestra La Scintilla. Recommended, but not essential.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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