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Offenbach: La Belle Hélène
Offenbach La Belle Hlne
Actors: Felicity Lott, Michel Sénéchal, Yann Beuron, Francois Le Roux
Genres: Indie & Art House, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2004     2hr 6min

Staged and costumed by Laurent Pelly, this production Offenbach?s parody of the origins of the Trojan War is a supreme manifestation of his comic genius. It combines a musically superb performance with a stream of visual h...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Felicity Lott, Michel Sénéchal, Yann Beuron, Francois Le Roux
Creators: Jacques Offenbach, Marc Minkowski, Les Musiciens du Louvres - Grenoble
Genres: Indie & Art House, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Classical
Studio: Kultur Video
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 06/29/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 2hr 6min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: French
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Everytthing is beautiful
A. Grossman | Florence, Oregon USA | 06/17/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This La Belle Helene has been nominated for many awards and rightly so. It is so much fun. Dame Felicity Lott is a wonderful Helene, slightly older than Offenbach might have imagined, and this makes her performance so hilarious. She is a combination Lucille Ball and Joan Davis as she casts her eye on young Paris and yearns for him yet must present a proper outward appearance. And she sings gloriously!The whole cast is oustanding and the operetta is presented with many clever bits. During the Dream Duet the chorus appears in the background as amorous sheep. In the first act Menelaus appears in his nightshirt while Paris, in the contest, has only a towel draped around him as he sings his Mt. Ida song. Best of all is the Act 1 conclusion. Though less than a minute long, Menalaus is whisked off on his journey to Crete by eight dancers dressed as travel agents who even manage to add a very brief Offenbach cancan to their highjinks. And a flight attendant briefly appears to lead the King away.Hats off to Dame Felicity for a performence for the ages! And Offenbach must surely be smiling."
Delightful Belle Helene
J. R. Neale | Honolulu, HI | 12/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Certainly the best Helene I've seen on DVD with almost perfect sound, this production lives up to this style of social satire of upper crust Belle Epoque French society, where an enraged husband's wrath upon finding his wife in bed with a lover is actually taken to task by everyone else for not properly warning her that he was coming home, and therefore the blame for the scandal is entirely his! The director's sense of the ridiculous extended to the fun costuming. I thought Lott's performance was enchanting simply because she is living her dream, and lord knows her Paris is no GQ model either, but they both sing the difficult roles beautifully (she's allowed to use the French version of the score's mezzo aria in Act III, although I really prefer the German version's coloratura tri-partite fireworks), and they include the Act III Patriotic Trio, another favorite. This is social satire at its most stinging, especially if the viewer has familiarized him/herself with the Parisian society of Offenbach's time. The slams at organized, cynical religion are right on target as well. Tempos are fine, attitude is wonderful, what's not to enjoy? Even the subtitles are accurate!"
Chilean Opera lover | Santiago, Chile | 06/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I had never seen La Belle helene Before. Only heard it. This DVD is a must have. The whole cast is at her best, including Dame Felicity Lott. Maybe she is not Physically the perfect Helene (a little older for the role), but her singing and acting are the highest issues of this DVD. Costumes, stage design and choreography, makes this a wonderful experience and you can see it again and again and will enjoy it each time.

Very good sound and image quality (not usual for kultur's DVD's. I hope this label continue improving quality)

You will not regret to buy it."
La Belle Helene
Patricia F. Highet | Bethesda, MD | 09/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Some reviewers are fixated on the fact that Dame Feliciy Lott is too old and not beautiful enough to be Helen. But how many Brunnhildes could mount a horse without breaking its back? She makes good choices about how to present the role. What got lost here is how well everyone else fits their part. Especially, Marie-Ange Torodovitch is magnificent as Orestes. If you are going to quibble about beauty, Yann Beuron isn't handsome enough to be Paris, but he does a remarkably good job of being the sort of confident young punk that Paris should be, and his voice is great for his part. Michel Senechal is perfect for Menelaus as depicted here. Francois le Roux (Calchas) and Laurent Naouri (Agamemnon) are also good.

The staging is good, and the various time-warps involved fit with Offenbach's original time changes.

Bottom line: I thought this was a total blast--I've watched it many times, and would reccommend it to anyone who likes this kind of thing. It's a really funny and amusing operetta, well worth watching.

I did not have any problems with disc quality, which has apparantly been erratic."