Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Opera Highlights Vol III - Elektra Salome Capriccio Tannhauser Cosi fan Tutte Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail|
Actors: Bryn Terfel, Waltraud Meier, Christine Schafer, Kiri Te Kanawa, Paul Groves
Director: Luc Bondy
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Highlights from Austro-German Operas
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 08/22/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is the third in the series of 'Opera Highlights' from ArtHaus Musik. This series contains excerpts from full-length opera DVDs all of which are otherwise available. Generally speaking these discs contain arias or scenes that are extractable without too much difficulty. They are not necessarily, though, the best known arias from their respective operas. As Amazon has not listed the precise contents on this DVD I shall do so. (I might point out that the DVD box does not list precise provenance data about these excerpts and I have added some of what I could find out, mostly by carefully studying the end credits on each segment of the DVD itself.) And I will add a few comments here and there. Each aria is preceded by a spoken introduction by the singer involved (except for Schäfer's aria, which is introduced by conductor Marc Minkowski)
From 'Entführung aus dem Serail' (Salzburg Festival, 1999):
1. Franz Hawlata, as Osmin, singing 'Solche hergelaufne Laffen' from Act I and 'O wie will ich triumphieren' from Act III. A modern dress version of 'Abduction from the Seraglio' which nonetheless has the characters in the Pasha's palace dressed in quasi-Arab dress. Hawlata is in good voice but he doesn't have quite the bass heft required particularly in the second aria.
2. Christine Schäfer singing Konstanze's 'Martern aller Arten' in the longer version of this florid and difficult aria. She really doesn't quite have the laserlike coloratura required but she is dramatically and generally musically effective. Not surprisingly the four instrumentalists featured in this aria -- flute, oboe, violin, cello all from the Vienna Philharmonic -- are outstanding.
3. Paul Groves, as Belmonte in the final aria 'Wenn der Freude Tränen fliessen'. I had not been that familiar with Groves but this is a superb performance of this joyous aria.
From 'Così fan tutte' (Australian Opera, 1995):
1. Yvonne Kenny, as Fiordiligi, singing a moving 'Per pietà ben mio perdona'.
From 'Tannhäuser' (Munich Opera, 1995)
1. Waltraud Meier singing Venus's 'Geliebter, komm! Sieh dort die Grotte!' in striking fashion. And she looks fabulous as Venus!
2. René Kollo, as Tannhäuser, singing 'Inbrunst im Herzen'. He sounds wobbly and tired. He was actually probably too old to be singing the part at this point in his career, in my opinion.
From 'Salome' (Covent Garden, 1997)
1. Bryn Terfel singing Jokanaan's 'Wo ist er, dessen Sündenbecher jetzt voll ist?' fabulously and looking appropriately wild-eyed, as if he'd been in that cave for a looooong time. Great performance.
From 'Elektra' (Vienna State Opera, 1995)
1. Brigitte Fassbänder singing Klytemnestra's 'Ich habe keine guten Nächte' (and joined for a few lines by Eva Marton as Elektra, in good voice). Extraordinary makeup for Fassbänder, scary even. And she is marvelous. The conducting by Claudio Abbado and the playing of the VSO orchestra is superb.
From 'Capriccio' (San Francisco Opera, 1993)
1. Kiri te Kanawa as the Countess in her final scene, some of Strauss's loveliest music for soprano and it fits te Kanawa's voice like a glove. A magnificent performance.
So, with the exception of a couple of sort-of-clunkers, this is a pretty darn good DVD of bleeding chunks (and I'm never one to turn my nose up at excerpts from operas).
Sound: PCM stereo; Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish; TT: 86mins; Picture format: 4:3/4:3 letterbox; Region code: 0 worldwide; DVD9/NTSC
A Great Way to Explain why we like Opera
Mr John Haueisen | WORTHINGTON, OHIO United States | 01/25/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In addition to providing delicious excerpts from operas of three of the greatest German opera composers (Mozart, Strauss, Wagner), the scenes are introduced by the singers, who describe the subject of the opera, the motivations of the characters, and what the role means to them personally.
Thus, this is not just a collection of very well-performed opera vignettes, but is also an excellent introduction to whet your appetite before deciding to see one of these operas.
The final scene presented in this set is very fittingly, Richard Strauss's Capriccio--an opera about opera. Kiri Te Kanawa explains how the heroine is torn between which is more important: the words or the music. As one of Strauss's later operas, perhaps it speaks to those of us who love opera, when she sings (very likely uttering Strauss's thoughts), that if she were to live five hundred thousand years, she would never tire of the new beauties of music and its words.
It's a great way to help explain why we like opera, and it might make this a good tool to help introduce it to friends."