Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Vienna State Opera Gala Concert / Domingo Terfel Gruberova Urmana Hampson Baltsa Kirchschlager Polaski Struckmann Schade Furlanetto|
Actors: Christian Thielemann, Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
A Real Gala with More Stars Than You Can Count
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 02/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"On November 5, 2005 the Vienna State Opera held a gala to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the reopening on November 5, 1955 of the Opera after its destruction by Allied bombs in 1945 followed by the ten-year-long reconstruction. They pulled out all the stops and had a cast of stars (as well as current stalwarts of the Opera): five conductors (Ozawa, Gatti, Mehta, Thielemann and Welser-Möst) and such luminaries as Domingo, Baltsa, Gruberova, Hampson, Terfel and Kirchschlager, as well as the fabulous Opera chorus and the Vienna Philharmonic. The gala featured scenes from six of the seven operas given new productions in that 1955 season -- Don Giovanni, Der Rosenkavalier, Aida, Meistersinger, Frau ohne Schatten and Fidelio. The whole thing lasted over three hours (and takes up two DVDs), was produced by the redoubtable Brian Large and shown on Austrian television. Here we are only four months later with this beautifully produced package that preserves that evening's performances. It seems that these special occasions make it to DVD more and more quickly.
Since Amazon has not as of the date of this review listed the scenes and arias presented, I shall do so in slightly synopsized form, listing the participants as I go.
Beethoven's Leonore No. 3 Overture with Ozawa conducting. A moderately interesting performance. The VPO sound wonderful here, though, and throughout the evening.
Don Giovanni: Madamina, il catalogo (Ferruccio Furlanetto as Leporello); Non mi dir (Edita Gruberova as Donna Anna); Finch'han dal vino (Thomas Hampson as Giovanni); Act I finale (with Hampson, Ildik Raimondi as a fabulous Zerlina, Boaz Daniel as Masetto, Soile Isokoski as Donna Elvira, Gruberova as Donna Anna, Michael Schade as Ottavio, and Furlanetto as Leporello). Furlanetto was great, Gruberova was tired-sounding, Hampson's aria wonderful but the finale never did quite catch fire. Mehta conducting.
Der Rosenkavalier: The final trio (Hab mir's gelobt) and duet (Ist ein Traum) with Angelika Kirchschlager as Octavian, Soile Isokoski as Marschallin, and Genia Kohmeier as Sophie. One couldn't ask for a better performance. I'd never heard of Kohmeier but she's definitely a comer.
Aida: The entire Nile Scene with Furlanetto as Ramfis, Nadia Krasteva as Amneris, Violeta Urmana as Aida, Franz Grundheber as Amonasro, Johan Botha as Radams. Urmana and Botha outstanding. Followed by the Act IV, Scene 1 duet with Amneris and Radams (Baltsa and Domingo). This is how it was meant to be done. All conducted by Daniele Gatti, a rising star.
Die Meistersinger: Overture (led by Christian Thielemann and quite exciting). The Flieder-Monolog sung by Bryn Terfel as Sachs -- an incredible performance. It got the biggest individual applause of the evening. This was followed by the Wach auf chorus from Act III, the VPO chorus sounding incredible. All led by Thielemann.
Die Frau ohne Schatten (led by Franz Welser-Möst). Mir anvertraut sung by Falk Struckmann as Barak and Deborah Polaski as the Dyer's Wife. Polaski not quite warmed up and a little squally. Finale of Act III with Botha as Kaiser, Ricarda Merbeth as Kaiserin and six comprimarii as The Unborn). Excellent.
Fidelio: Finale from Act II. Chorus again sounding fabulous. Hampson as Fernando, Walter Fink as Rocco, Struckmann as Pizarro, Deborah Polaski as Leonore (and sounding much, much better than a little earlier), Raimondi as Marzelline, Johan Botha as a marvelous Florestan, Herwig Pecoraro as Jaquino. A fitting finale for the evening. One can never hear this finale without being moved.
Visually and sonically this is a first class production. Subtitles in English, German, French, Spanish. Sound: PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS 5.1. Total time (2 DVDs): 188 mins. No extras.
Recommended for those who might want to hear these artists in this exciting gala format.
Vienna State Opera Gala, 50th Anniversary
S. Warren | Kentucky | 09/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the DVD I wanted. However, had it not been for your one review detailing the contents of the video--- I would have still been looking as I was not sure if this was the one I viewed on television. It is a beautiful performance which I believe will be enjoyed by all. Thank you, reviewer, for helping out!"
Consummate Musical Feast!
Mr John Haueisen | WORTHINGTON, OHIO United States | 03/16/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a perfect DVD for showing family or friends why you like "great singing."
This gala performance celebrates the 50th anniversary of the reopening of the Vienna State Opera--and they do it in a way they can be proud of.
At the beginning of several pieces, they intersperse photos of performances from 50 years ago with some of today's top performers in classic roles.
After the first solo--Ferrucio Furlanetto's rich voice and ultimate personification of Leporello in his "Madamina, il Catalogo e questo," from Don Giovanni, you think to yourself, "How is anyone going to equal the quality of this magic moment?" You don't have to wait even minutes: Edita Gruberova responds with Donna Anna's "Crudele?" in an exhibition of beautiful singing that would leave even Amadeus clapping like a seal. Yes, she gives us all a singing lesson. Applause brings down the house.
What else? There's the "Marie Theres" and "Ist ein Traum" of Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier, with Angelika Kirchschlager and Christian Thielemann drawing deserved thunderous applause. Again, you think to yourself, "How can the next singers equal this beautiful moment?" Bryn Terfel sings a Hans Sachs from Meistersinger, that leaves us praying that he might undertake that role in a performance soon.
There are many other items in this 2-DVD set, that are equally enjoyable. I was not familiar with Strauss' Die Frau Ohne Schatten (The Lady Without a Shadow), but Falk Struckmann's ebullient Barak left me ready to grab up anything by him, and also a copy of Frau Ohne Schatten. Perhaps the words from this scene from Frau Ohne Schatten sum up what your feeling is likely to be after watching this gala performance:
"Was there ever a feast at which we were not secretly always the guests, and also the hosts!"
Invite yourself--and some friends who enjoy great music--to this consummate musical feast!"
Stupendous! What a Gala!
Valentin B. Suan | 01/04/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a treat to get a 2-set DVD from the Vienna State Opera for the 50th Anniversary of the Reopening of the Opera House after it was destroyed by Allied Troops during the bombing of the city in World War II. I myself am very tired of Metropolitan Opera DVD releases (especially if Domingo is singing the tenor role, like are there anyone else? Though I am thinking of purchasing Verdi's LUISA MILLER with Renata Scotto,SANS the yelling audience member). Before you hurl your flaming spears at me, I like Mr. Domingo and he has been a tremendous asset in the world of opera but must he sing in every opera video release??? I digress.
Going back to this wonderful DVD. The sound,video quality,direction is gorgeous and opera video director Brian Large has outdone himself again. I posted a review on Opera-L about a few days after I received my delivery, somewhere late Sept. 2006.
Highlights for me:
1. The energetic conducting of Seiji Ozawa, the current musical director of the famed opera company particularly in the overture to Beethoven's FIDELIO, an opera I hold dear, since it addresses universal themes of liberty,fraternity and all that good stuff. I get goose bumps listening to the Soldier's Chorus and Leonore's upbeat singing. I was most fortunate to see Maestro Ozawa in Paris in November 1999 conducting at the Palais Garnier , the horrific yet beautiful opera of Poulenc, DIALOGUES DES CARMELITES (it was, oui, in French and what a treat to hear in the city and country of its native tongue).
2. La Prima Donna Assoluta of the House, Madame EDITA GRUBEROVA with that fantabulous diva gown of black satin with a lovely train (I am a fashionista but for the life of me, cannot fully and correctly describe in detail but will make attempts). The bodice has this plunging-like decoration of the decolletage of different colored sparkling jewels. Her rendition of Mozart's 'Non mi dir' from DON GIOVANNI, left me breathless. At her "ahem" certain biological age and state, she can float those notes so heavenly and a voice projection that is stately. Brava!
3. Violeta Urmana singing the Third Act Nile Scene from Verdi's AIDA in her "violent" and fierce-looking red satin gown and hon, it is thick and heavy and befitting for a big Gala with all those knowledgeable and rich Viennese looking at ya. I hope she can be our brand-new production of AIDA in Houston,Texas this April/May 20067, but oh well, she is very busy . I love her voice, heard her live in San Francisco in the French DON CARLO doing Eboli 3 years ago (her mezzo years). Her careful and exquisite treatment to the soft passages, particularly, reminiscing about her beloved Ethiopia with its lush forests and flowing rivers (one wonders which Ethiopia the Great Verdi had in mind or the librettist). Anyway, love it!
4. This gal, the Zerlina in the Don Giovanni segment,ILDIKO RAIMONDI (any relation to the other singer?)with her strong,bright and engaging sound. Plus, a stage presence that can stand with bigwigs like Ferrucio Furlanetto singing his signature role of Leporello and Thomas Hampson as DON GIOVANNI. As we say in the South, you go GURL!
5.Anything and everything that German conductor CHRISTIAN THIELEMANN does,for me, is like MANNA FROM HEAVEN (okay, okay, I will behave). I was lucky enough to be at the Met for the DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN, a sold out run if memory serves me right, 4 or 5 years ago and I cannot believe what my ears fed back to me. Overwhelming great sound he coaxed out from the Mighty Met Orchestra. Unbelievable. Listen and watch the Met ARABELLA (with Kiri Te Kanawa) on DVD and it is EXQUISITE. We will be so lucky if he travels to sub-tropical climates like the Bayou City to conduct. The Overture to Richard Wagner's comedy, DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NURNBERG, was grand,glorious, yet NIMBLE and flowing freely. Terrific. Also, Bryn Terfel as Hans Sachs is wonderful. Now I hope he doesn't jump into more Wotan roles yet. Build it up man.
6.The Chorus of the Vienna State Opera is a great jewel in the cultural crown of Vienna as well as its beloved Vienna Philharmonic, world-famous of course and yet it doubles as an opera band for the company even though it is already 'muy' busy with its orchestral and symphonic gigs.
7. Other stuff, like Agnes Baltsa singing Amneris was brave and full of raw energy (I don't care if they scream a bit since the role calls for such emotion and passion in the Judgement Scene of Verdi's opera); mezzo Christa Ludwig in white with fur trim supporting and acting as main cheerleader to the singers after they perform; I briefly saw Gundula Janowitz, but I only know her in oratorio and sacred music; yes, Placi was there, still looking dapper and singing good,etc.,etc. Congrats to the Vienna State Opera for another milestone (50 years post re-building, and more years of music and stuff) and,
8. Last but not the least, the Trio from Strauss's ROSENKAVALIER (Kirschlager as Octavian,Isokoski as the Marschallin and Genia Kuhmeier as Sophie) was okay BUT then I have heard such heavenly trios and duets from previous Met Radio broadcasts like the 1986 one with Kathleen Battle as Sophie,Tatiana Troyanos as Octavian and Gwyneth Jones as the Feldmarschallin so it is soooo hard to FUMIGATE the lovely echoing notes that have resided out of my mind. I call it the CALLAS SYNDROME. You listen to her "La Mamma Morta" from Andrea Chenier and you will never ever want to hear another soprano sing that. Same with Norma,Lucia,or even TURANDOT. I've ranted and raved much, forgive me and with thanks for reading this review.
BUY IT, support the production of opera DVD's, so we don't have to travel and spend lots of money. Thanks.
p.s.- I hope more good opera DVD releases from Europe come out. I wonder who will be the videotaped Radames in the new La Scala AIDA. Did Roberto Alagna come back? I haven't been in touch with the local grapevine lately.