Search - Gluck - Orfeo ed Euridice / Baker, Speiser, Gale, Leppard, Glyndebourne Opera on DVD

Gluck - Orfeo ed Euridice / Baker, Speiser, Gale, Leppard, Glyndebourne Opera
Gluck - Orfeo ed Euridice / Baker Speiser Gale Leppard Glyndebourne Opera
Actors: Elisabeth Speiser, Janet Baker, Elizabeth Gale, Raymond Leppard
Genres: Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2004     2hr 10min

British mezzo-soprano, Dame Janet Baker, chose to retire from the operatic stage singing the title role in Sir Peter Hall's acclaimed production of Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice. This 1982 recording from Glyndebourne, where Da...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Elisabeth Speiser, Janet Baker, Elizabeth Gale, Raymond Leppard
Genres: Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Classical
Studio: Kultur Video
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 07/27/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 2hr 10min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
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Movie Reviews

A Good Interpretation of a Beautiful Opera
Claudia Etheridge | Tucson, Arizona USA | 03/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is the opera adaptation of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, as described by Ovid in the Metamorphoses. Preceded by Moteverdi's La Favola di Orfeo and by several other reinterpretations of the same myth, Orfeo ed Euridice by Christoph Willibald Gluck is considered by some as the first opera in the modern sense. It is the oldest opera in the standard repertoire, its first performance dating back to 1762.
The story - although lacking many of the original details - is reasonably accurate. Having lost his wife Eurydice to a snake bite, Orpheus is allowed by the gods to descend into Hades and bring her back. As in many life situations (in this case, "beyond life situations"), there is a condition for the mission to be completed successfully: he should never look directly at his wife until they are back into the world of the living. Unfortunately Orpheus does look at her and this is where the Greek myth and the opera diverge. Orpheus loses his wife forever, in the myth. He is allowed to go on living with her, in the opera. In fact, the final scene, set in the temple of Amore, consists of solos, choruses and dances in praise of love and of the couple whose love was sufficiently strong to defeat all obstacles, including death.
This particular interpretation of our opera - which incidentally only includes three main characters - was filmed in 1982 as part of the Glyndebourne Festival Opera performances. It is sung in Italian - by mezzo soprano Janet Baker (Orfeo), soprano Elisabeth Speiser (Euridice) and soprano Elisabeth Gale (Amore) - with the accompaniment of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Glyndebourne Festival Chorus - which also performs the ballet segments. Optional subtitles are available in English, Spanish, French and German.
Both the music and the ballet scenes are captivating. Particularly unforgettable are the descent into Ades - where disgusting creatures, in a predominantly reddish environment, dance disorderly around Orpheus thus hindering his journey - and the depiction of the Elysian Fields - where the turmoil dies down, the predominant color turns to blue, and the Blessed Spirits move in an orderly manner while performing the famous dance.
The celebrated aria "Che Faro' senza Euridice" (What Will I do without Eurydice) , which Orpheus sings, following Eurydice`s second death, is touchingly beautiful.
My only objections - of minor importance - are: the stage is probably too small and not so well suited for the ballet performances. While in the Elysian Fields, Orpheus sings "Che Puro Ciel, Che Chiaro Sol" (What a Clear Sky, What a Bright Sun), but the environment is a deep blue, same as the one where the Blessed Spirits perform their dance. British mezzo-soprano Dame Janet Baker sings like an angel, but is unconvincing as a man (yes, the opera calls for a contralto or mezzo-soprano for the part and this is usually played by a woman). Despite the makeup and clothing, there is no doubt that we are looking at a woman and not a man. But then again, Dame Baker may take this as a compliment rather than a criticism.

Opera Fan | 01/31/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It seems to me that the only filmed "Orfeo" anyone ever talks about is the one from Covent Garden with the modern setting, while this one is all but ignored. I don't see why. This is a wonderful performance. Dame Janet Baker's acting is near perfect. The last time I watched this video, I was completely blown away."
Theodore Shulman | NYC | 12/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a jaw-dropping performance of the most influential of all operas, featuring Dame Janet Baker in her signature role. Besides everything else--flawless, relaxed technique, outstanding musicianship and insight--her mastery of cross-dressing-acting is unmatched.

If there's a flaw, it's that there's too much blue in the setting. I started to think I was under water rather than underground."
Richard Stewart | Beaufort, SC USA | 09/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Janet Baker has the most luscious voice I have heard. It is here. Moving, touching, the sound of devotion and love. Please, please -- do I sound like an aria -- buy this, you will love it. If you can find her recording of the Brahms Alto Rhapsody get it! I admit there is something to what Mr.Weaver says. But get it nonetheless. So many things get dated in one way or the other don't they? And almost everything has its filler for fun. Blame the French for that. Gluck was making a living as well as a masterpiece. Baker is wonderful. That's what it is about."