Search - Monteverdi - Vespro Della Beata Vergine / Gardiner, Monteverdi Choir on DVD

Monteverdi - Vespro Della Beata Vergine / Gardiner, Monteverdi Choir
Monteverdi - Vespro Della Beata Vergine / Gardiner Monteverdi Choir
Actors: John Eliot Gardiner, Bryn Terfel
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2003     1hr 50min


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Movie Details

Actors: John Eliot Gardiner, Bryn Terfel
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, DTS, Classical
Studio: Deutsche Grammophon
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 04/08/2003
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1989
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 50min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: German, English, French, Spanish

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Movie Reviews

A good thing just got better....
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I admit it, I love this performance. I have the CD and the video and both have been played to death. The DVD brings the extra versatility of that medium, such as the ability to go to any part of the performance quickly, or to Gardiner's interesting essay on the piece. My one minor quibble is that the red shifts in which the Monteverdi choir are decked out seem to glow; they do this on the video, and I was hoping that DVD would tame it. Alas, it seems to be a flaw in the filming.The performance remains an absolute knockout, IMHO simply the best ever recorded. Followers of the devotional school, who go for Andrew Parrott's minimalist version, hate it and will stay away. Those who like the CD will absolutely adore this, with choir, soloists and instrumentalists making full use of San Marco's acoustics and odd nooks and crannies. The orchestra (the English Baroque Soloists, with 5 players from His Majesties Cornetts and Sagbutts) is quite small - it's amazing how so few players can make such a racket in such a big space. The stars of the show is the Monteverdi Choir itself (singing from memory, without scores), which is simply stunning. You'll never hear the big choral numbers such as "Nisi Dominus" and "Lauda Jerusalem" sung with such precision and excitement - they give me goosebumps on my goosebumps. And in the middle of it all is Gardiner, obviously having a ball. Three cheers for Archiv for bringing back this brilliant record of a unique event."
Werner Schmidlin | Sydney | 09/28/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This inspired version of Monteverdi's "Vespro della Beata Vergine" by John Eliot Gardiner I first saw on Christmas 1989 as a BBC simulcast. So many years later, as a DVD, its innovative rendering is as fresh as ever and the picture quality is holding up reasonably well too. For me this performance is still the best version of Monteverdi's master work.John Eliot Gardiner researched this work thoroughly. There is no gimmickry in his rendition, but it feels as if in his mind's eye he had collaborated across the centuries with the ancient composer to produce a truly outstanding performance. We are all familiar with Gardiner's masterly use of early instruments and the careful selection and balancing of soloists voices and this performance makes full use of all of this.The obvious choice of the location for this performance was Venice's San Marco, where Monteverdi spent much of his career. But it is far from obvious how John Eliot Gardiner used the near perfect acoustic space of this church. Every voice and instrument is placed just right to render a superb sound picture. The "Vespers" ranges from powerful full sound of orchestra and singers to intimate love songs. In support of the need of this diversity Gardiner makes the singers change positions to the various balconies and alcoves throughout the performance. This is a truly memorable performance.I deducted one star of my ratings for the regrettable omission of the subtitles from the original BBC telecast."
A voice teacher and early music fan
George Peabody | Planet Earth | 11/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)


John Eliot Gardiner, more than other musician today, has been largely responsible for the huge upsurge of interest in Monteverdi's marvelous Vespers of 1610. As an undergraduate at Cambridge, he formed the Monteverdi Choir for the first performance of this almost unheard of composition. The Choir today enjoys an international reputation for the performance of a wide range of music. In all their performances, over the past 25 years, the choir has been accompanied by the English Baroque Soloists, also founded by Gardiner in 1978.

This performance, which takes place in the Basilica of San Marco, Venice, includes the following groups in addition to the Choir and Baroque Soloists: His Magesties Sagbutts and Cornetts-London Oratory Junior Choir and vocal solists: Ann Monoyios & Marinella Pennicchi (sopranos); Michael Chance (countertenor); Mark Tucker,Nigel Robson,Sandro Naglia (tenors); Bryn Terfel, Alastair Miles (basses).

The origins of the Vespers are not known and it is not known if they were ever performed in Monteverdi's lifetime. However, Gardiner contends that the work fits perfectly into the architecture and resonance of St. Mark's. Monteverdi was a theatre composer par excellence as is shown by his operas "L'Orfeo" and "L'incoronazione di Poppea". Even though much of this performance takes place on a central platform, he also positions singers, at various times, in pulpits, galleries and archways, creating extraordinary visual and acoustic effects.

This DVD displays not only the genius of Monteverdi, but the great creativity of Gardiner. The package also includes a Bonus section with John Eliot Gardiner talking about the making of the DVD and at the same time showing beautiful scenes of Venice and St. Marks. This is such an enjoyable listening and visual treat!

Simply the best!
Michael Pohlenz | Denver, CO | 06/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I wonder if the good folks who criticized this DVD were listening to the music or just viewing the videotape transfer. To watch and hear such a flawless artistic performance sung FROM MEMORY by chorus and soloists alike, accompanied by authentic period instruments in the splendid acoustics of St. Mark's Cathedral, the venue for which it was composed, is a rare treat indeed. This is a performance for the ages, and worthy to be owned by every lover of early music. One can get no closer to hearing the music as Monteverdi surely intended it than this brilliant performance by John Eliot Gardiner and Monteverdi Choir. I heartily recommend it without reservation."