Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Metropolitan Opera Gala - James Levine's 25th Anniversary|
Actors: Renee Fleming, Deborah Voigt, Karita Mattila, Roberto Alagna, Thomas Hampson
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
No Description Available. Genre: Music Videos - Classical Rating: NR Release Date: 22-NOV-2005 Media Type: DVD
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An Experience You Won't Forget
NYYanksFan | Long Island, NY | 11/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was the televised (on PBS) gala that turned me from a casual, occasional opera listener into a full-fledged fan. And most specifically, it introduced me to the beauty and splendor of Wagner.
I recorded the gala on video, and have watched it from time to time over the years. While the PAL version referred to by another reviewer may have contained the entire performance, this DVD does not. It comes awfully close, though. There are missing arias which were performed that evening by Alfredo Kraus (Werther's aria), Gwyneth Jones ("In Questa Reggia"), Vladimir Chernov (Figaro's aria from Barber of Seville), and others -- most notably, a wonderful "Va Pensiero" performed by the incomparable Met chorus, and Cherubino's aria by the wonderful Fredrica Von Stade (much better than the selection included here by her). But when you still have close to 5 hours of glorious music like this, these complaints are minor.
To this neophyte opera listener, I knew Wagner as the composer of the rousing music used in "Apocalypse Now". I was not prepared for the astonishing beauty of the prelude to "Rienzi", which opens the gala, nor could I believe the intensity of Waltraud Meier's performance of Isolde's "Narrative and Curse" from "Tristan und Isolde". But it was James Morris' performance of "Wotan's Farewell" which moved me to near tears, and which, as noted earlier, turned me into a devoted fan of this music.
There are many other wonderful moments on this DVD (another personal favorite: Roberto Alagna's and Bryn Terfel's duet from Bizet's "The Pearlfishers"). You probably won't watch this in one sitting, but with each performace, you will be thoroughly won over by the Met orchestra. Incredibly, unlike the Met Centennial Gala, which used many conductors, the entire James Levine 25th Anniversary Gala was conducted by Maestro Levine. May he grace the pit of the Metropolitan Opera for many years to come.
Needless to say, I couldn't recommend a DVD release any more highly."
THE ULTIMATE GALA ---- BUT IT TAKES TWO SITTINGS!
L. Mitnick | Chicago, Illinois United States | 11/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am awaiting delivery of this DVD from Amazon, but I happened to see it on a PAL version a friend of mine bought in London a month ago (where it's been available for a few months). Trying to remember every opera star appearing on this gala would be like trying to remember how many famous faces you see being panned by TV cameras at the Academy Awards. Suffice to say, anyone who was affiliated with the Metropolitan Opera in 1996 and before (except for Pavarotti, who cancelled at the last minute) can be seen here. Some of the stars were in their early vocal primes (Alagna, Gheorghiu, Zajick, Hadley, Ti Kanawa, Fleming, Voight, Terfel); others were in the middle of their greatest periods (Ramey, Domingo, Van Ness, Von Stade); and a few whose best singing days were behind them. All of them provide magical and even poignant moments. Whether or not it was wise for Carlo Bergonzi to sing at all is a matter of opinion, but at an occasion like this, it really doesn't matter. There are a lot of Italian and French items sung by all of the above, but, for me, anyway, the standouts included the Wotan's Farewell and conclusion of Act III of "Die Walkure", with James Morris singing a truly monumental Wotan, as well as Waltraute Meier's scorching rendition of Isolde's Narrative and Curse from "Tristan Und Isolde". James Levine, the "raison t'etre" for this bash, certainly deserves the tribute. He made the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra one of the greatest in the world, and his work here fully substantiates that claim. Finally ---- a really big and wonderful surprise comes near the end as the legendary Birgit Nilsson comes out and makes a speech in tribute to Levine. It's all wonderful and certainly welcome. The only problem is that it's so incredibly long - six hours! It's very hard to do this gala in one sitting, though I remember that when it was televised in April of 1996, it started at 6:00 and didn't end until midnight. I happened to have recorded it on VHS (and it has held up beautifully), but I found that the DVD, at least the PAL version I saw, is much clearer and the sound is somewhat better.
You can't go wrong with this one. It's one of a kind."
A brilliant evening indeed!
Robert Petersen | Durban, South Africa | 11/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I can only echo what other reviewers have said about this DVD. Brilliant from start to finish. Some the of the greatest singers past and present in their grand splendour. My only minor reservation are the missing extracts, but I cannot recommend this any more than what everyone has said. Thank you DG for releasing this concert on DVD at long last!"
James the great maestro Levine
Farhad | Claremont, CA United States | 02/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is a once in a life time experience to have so much talent under one roof peforming the best of the best. I have been watching it over and over again, time flies when things are made in great fashions. Bravo Mr. Levine and Metropolitan Opera."