Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Tchaikovsky - Pique Dame / Atlantov Obraztsova Milashkina Mazurok Grigoryev Shemchuk Simonov Bolshoi Opera|
Queen of Spades
Actors: Vladimir Atlantov, Elena Obraztsova
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
It is rare indeed when four of the Bolshoi's greatest stars appear together in their home theatre in one of Russian opera's masterpieces. The opera was Tchaikovsky's, The Queen Of Spades, (Pique Dream), and Kultur is prou... more »
Seriously flawed, sound-wise
Plaza Marcelino | Caracas Venezuela | 03/27/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Despite a favourable editorial review from Amazon themselves I do not intend to rebuke, the prospective buyer of this dvd of a starrily cast 1983 Bolshoi performance of Tchaikovsky's most intriguing opera should be aware that, in my copy at least, the sound is seriously flawed: the effect is as if you had taken the left channel of a standard stereo recording and wired it through an Y-shaped connector into a mono track that feeds both speakers; a mono soundtrack of the left channel of a stereo recording, if I explain myself rightly. Thus, violins are heard quite distinctly as are also most of the orchestral instruments whose players seat towards the left of conductor Simonov, and those placed towards the conductor's right are heard distantly (if at all), as if coming from another room. Also, the volume relationship of orchestra and voices favours the latter to absurd proportions, perhaps as a collateral result of the problem. I don't know if the original, source recording is affected by the problem I have attempted to describe or if the whole thing is an unforgivable mistake on the part of Kultur but what is questionable is none the less is that it is not advised on neither cover. Information contained inside the box is according to Kultur's scant standards."
Try another production.
Alex Moffat | Wichita Falls, Texas USA | 05/29/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"One star is too many. This is undoubtedly the worst opera production I have ever seen: ghastly.
This was the standard, perhaps, of Soviet production values in 1983, when western influence was less than it is today. Of course today we might see Pique Dame sung by people in shorts and on roller skates in an amusement park in Florida--that would be a different problem however. This Bolshoi production has enough problems of its own without worrying about what a modern "direktor" might do with it.
"Acting" had apparently not been discovered in Moscow in 1983. Atlantov (Hermann), whose voice seems to me to have been fine, belonged to the waving arms school: passion, both arms extended; extreme passion, the same but a little higher and with more volume; complete despair, arms higher still, in the direction of the heavens--all three requiring frequent surges of volume to match the arms.
Atlantov's stage presence is further unfortunate because of very prominent teeth (unavoidable I suppose)that make one expect to see a full moon in a window somewhere.
Other actors are somewhat better, although mostly expressionless. Generally the acting in this production could serve as a parody of opera, a checklist of What Not to Do.
Staging is equally bad. Crowds(well-costumed indeed) wander around to no discernable purpose; People sit at a little table; they get up again; they cross over and leave the stage; they come back. The necessary building of tension in the first act simply does not happen. This performance occurred long after opera in the West began to undertake dramatic integrity and purpose in a more serious way. Not in Russia apparently, not in 1983!
Even the costumes, which are certainly lavish enough, are laughable: shako hats with feathers and gold-encrusted elevator-operator uniforms for the men--women come out much better of course. But it all looked like something from about 1915, something that almost made it to broadway but not quite--The Prince of Patagonia perhaps.
Kultur did the least possible in the way of enhancements, as usual. The list of "chapters" consists entirely of Russian sung text (transliterated, which helps hardly at all), without explanation, without timings, without any reference to which characters sing whatever a chapter might be about. If you don't understand Russian, good luck!
You'll need good luck to make much of the subtitles too. These are the kind where someone rattles on unintelligibly for a while and then the subtitle says "I'm dying of love" or some such. If your Russian is anything like mine (nil), then you need them, inadequate as they are, and you can't turn them off anyway.
I do not know for sure, but I doubt very much that Peter and Modest Tchaikovsky intended anything resembling this production. The story itself comes from Pushkin, whose fingerprints are all over the world of Russian opera and song and whose literary and dramatic values are unassailable.
The recorded sound, by the way, is mediocre at best: grey and undifferentiated. The Bolshoi orchestra may have been having a bad day and simply mailed in their part. I am going to latch onto a copy of what Gergiev did with the same material, and I think you might want to do the same."
Romualdo A. Monteclar | new york | 03/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Indeed this one is a magnificent performance of
Tchaikovsky's great opera; the singers sing with musical precision and
passion--and the conducting is sheer brilliance!"