"This is an amazing DVD highlighting perhaps the best live performance of Bjork's career thus far. The concert was recorded after Vespertine, so it contains her newest, deepest, and most heartfelt songs, including one of her best b-sides, 'Generous Palmstroke'.
If you have your dvd player connected to your audio system, just pop the dvd in without video, and enjoy the spellbinding music of Bjork any time you feel like being enveloped with a sweet emotional soundscape.
The 5.1 surround sound will bring out the many individual contributions, including electronic sound masters Matmos, the Il Novecentro Orchestra, the Inuit Choir, Zeena Parkins on harp, and of course the amazing vocal exaltations of Bjork.
If you think it's expensive, remember that you will be able to watch and listen to this Bjork concert any time you feel like, for less than the cost of one concert ticket.
The song selection seems so right and it flows perfectly, and there are plenty of highlights. Many songs sound better than the original album versions because she has had time to practice and tweak them to bring out their best. The fact that it's live, brings out more raw emotion, and it's amazing how dynamic her performance is, and how she hits everything just right.
Listening to her originals in comparison, you'll see that her music is not just a studio product, it's a pure expression of emotions and experiences that exist in her that are freed when she sings. If that's not enough, you get to watch Matmos create their unique sounds and beats through shuffling cards, moving a hyper-sensitive mic over material, trudging through snow, manipulating motion detecting sound shifters, and more.
I mostly love hip-hop and electronic music, but this concert DVD made me a true fan of Bjork. This is my first review because this is the only product I've bought so far at Amazon.com that I felt strongly enough about and has not received it's fair share of recommendations.
The high replay value will make this DVD a valuable addition to your collection. You will not be dissappointed! Though the video quality is not on par with most Bjork videos, the audio alone earns this 5 out of 5 stars. If you liked my first review ever, please indicate so, thanks!!"
Björk: Live at the Royal Opera House DVD is a Work of Art!
Porfie Medina | Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA | 12/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Like so many others I truly enjoyed this Bjork: Live at the Royal Opera House DVD. The performances are mostly from her Vespertine album, and like the beautiful Vespertine album this is a very intimate experience. The concert also includes some classic Bjork songs from her past albums. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is truly amazing, which I would describe as a mesmerizing 3D audio experience that envelops the listener and takes you on your own emotional journey. BJORK is a rare and original artist who touches a person like very few artists can do. All the performances are awesome, but my personal favorite performances are: Hyperballad, Joga, Human Behavior, Harm Of Will, It's Not Up To You, Hidden Place, and Unison. I highly encourage any one who appreciated Bjork to buy this beautiful Bjork: Live at the Royal Opera House DVD.
The Songs Performed are: Frosti, Overture, All Is Full of Love, Aurora, Undo, Generous Palmstroke, An Echo a Stain, Hidden Place, Cocoon, Unison, Harm of Will, It's Not up to You, Pagan Poetry, Possibly Maybe, Isobel, Hyperballad, Human Behavior, Joga, It's in Our Hands
This DVD also includes BONUS features such as, on the Vespertine World Tour with: Matmos, Zeena Parkins, Simon Lee, and the Inuit Choir, along with an interview with BJORK. The DVD is in widescreen not fullscreen as the editors review claims.
Truly a wonderful DVD!"
Bjork`s outstanding performance
Kevin Sebastian | Witten Germany | 07/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Before I bought the DVD I had some doubts if the instrumentation (electronic music duo, classic orchestra, Inuit choir, harp soloist)
was a little bit too excessive for a live performance. Bjork's album "Vespertine" has certain tendencies in the direction of being
overloaded, though being a masterpiece anyway due to Bjork's unique voice. But will that stuff work on a stage? Yes, it works ... and better than on the album, in my opinion. Ever since her magnificent MTV unplugged concert I recommend her as
the leading female European pop artist. She is able to balance jazz-like club and electronic music arrangements of her compositions,
and a string orchestrations as well. So she did during her Verpertine tour. Some examples: the performance of the "Ouverture" (from "Dancer in the Dark") really evolves a dramatic attitude of composers like
Bruckner and Mahler. And then, in contrast, her very ethereal "All is full of love"! My personal favourite of the DVD is the pair
"Unison" and "Harm of will". Much better than the album versions, Bjork gives those songs a presence that is breathtaking. It combines
simply the best of her. And, last but not least, after several contemplative moments and an outstanding "Pagan poetry" you can make sure that her old songs
are vital as ever. The concert ends with a tremendously powerful "It's in our hands" which combines Bjork's voice, electric harp and
electronic sounds over a mesmerizing rhythm and bass pattern. Modern music style at its best. Thanks to Bjork ... and her fabulous co-musicians. The technical side of the DVD is more than acceptable especially the sound is great. The combination of such an amount of electronic
and acoustical sound sources is quite difficult but the 5.1 sound direction well balanced the different parts. Though there are some
minor problems with illumination the pictures get across the atmospere of the concert ... and reveal that Bjork's still a very beautiful
woman. So I recommend the DVD as a "must have" for Bjork fans .. and also for all those people which have any interest in music which is
more than simple mainstream pop."
A Gorgeous, Beautiful And Lush Concert
Busy Body | London, England | 05/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a huge Bjork fan, I am determined to buy as much material by her as I possibly can. I've bought pretty much all her albums, so the next step is to move onto the many DVD's she has released. I bought "Volumen II" around six weeks ago on the same day that I bought "Bjork: Live At The Royal Opera House." This concert DVD focuses on Bjork's 2001 Vespertine Tour, and it is absolutely beautiful. Vespertine is easily my favourite Bjork album, so to have a live concert of it with many other songs is such a special gift. Bjork wanted to tour this tour in opera houses throughout the world instead of arenas, because the music being performed in this tour is very much intimate and gentle, and not really meant for large areas.
On this tour Bjork enlisted the help of many great musicians to play her music. These include the brilliant American harpist Zeena Parkins, British orchestra conductor Simon Lee, the female Inuit Choir from Greenland and the crazy duo Drew Daniel and Martin Schmidt aka Matmos. This collection of musicians take the original framework of Bjork's music from Vespertine and alter it ever so slightly for a concert format. When sung live, things are more open and intricate, like you can hear everything that was meant to be on the original songs. Bjork's voice is incredible throughout this concert, and it works beautifully as a relaxing instrument on its own.
The concert opens with "Frosti," which is a short music box introduction to the concert. The curtains open and Bjork works the music box so gently. She wears a gorgeous white dress and fabulous white boots to match the mood of the music. This is then followed by "Overture" from Selmasongs, which is a beautiful orchestral piece, conducted by Simon Lee. "All Is Full Of Love" is the first song in which Bjork sings in this concert, and it is a great performance. Matmos really maximise their talent and improve the beat on the original video remix. "Aurora" is an amazing song in itself, and to hear it here live is such a beautiful experience. Zeena on the harp is particularly brilliant, and this works very well with Bjork's vocals, which are sharp and cutting on this song. "Undo" is one of the most beautiful performances on this tour, because it opens so gently and subtly. I love this song and the final minute is so beautiful. All the instruments are reduced so Bjork's voice can stand on its own. "Generous Palmstroke" is the beautiful song in which Bjork and Zeena join forces to make their little duet. The harp is most prominent on this song than any other in the tour, and Bjork's vocals are strong as ever.
"An Echo, A Stain" is easily one of my favourite Bjork songs ever. I just love the album version of this song, but the concert version wasn't a favourite of mine. What I like most about this song is how quiet and relaxing it is, and this live version is harder and more defined because of the electronics Matmos use. I have, however, grown to love this version because everything is broken down and picked apart, especially towards the climax of the song. "Hidden Place" is another one of my favourite Bjork songs, and this live version is great. The choir are strong on this song, as are Matmos who shuffle a pack of cards into the microphone, showing their creative talents! "Cocoon" is one of the most intimate songs I've ever heard in my life, and this live version is amazing. Bjork's voice is so beautiful here, especially as she sings, "A train of pearls!" The choir isn't needed on this song because it's just Bjork and nothing else. "Unison" closed the Vespertine album, and it closes the first half of this concert. Matmos use some interesting sounds on this live version which is much different to the original. A great finale to this softer half of the concert.
After a short break, Bjork returns with a costume change into a large red dress looking stunning as usual. "Harm Of Will" opens the second half of the concert, which is another great performance. This is not much different to the album version but this doesn't matter because it's such a perfect song, why would you want to mess with the formula? "It's Not Up To You" is an amazing song because of the choir, and they play a big part in this live version as well. "Pagan Poetry" is a great live performance because Matmos use their electronics to the full. Bjork's vocals are strong as well, working in harmony with the choir and the harp. "Possibly Maybe" is reworked using Matmos and their creative flair. This song is one of the oldest from the tour, and it's nice to see Bjork go back to those mid-Nineties days. This live version is slowed down more than the original to fit in with the Vespertine theme of the tour.
"Isobel" is an epic, beautiful piece that is broken down so that all the individual piece of what make this song so great can be heard. The violins from the orchestra work amazingly well here and the song is drawn out to around seven minutes long. "Hyperballad" is a stunning song and the introduction to it is very beautiful because there's a sense of anticipation created for what is to come. "Human Behaviour" is probably the most upbeat song on this tour and one of the very few where Bjork actually dances! It's nice to add some upbeat material towards the end of the concert, and this being one of Bjork's most popular songs receives a glowing reception from the audience. "Joga" is slowed down to emphasise Bjork's gorgeous voice. The orchestra is very dark and ominous creating a spooky feeling. At the end of the song Bjork introduces her musicians to the audience, and they receive a rapturous response. The concert closes with the amazing "It's In Our Hands," which is an amazing live version that I prefer over the original. The clapping after the first chorus is great, and the loud revving noises that remind me of an aeroplane taking off is very powerful! A great closing to such a stunning concert.
OVERALL GRADE: 10/10
Every single song on this DVD is amazing because the level of quality is so high and consistent throughout. You can tell that Bjork spent a long time thinking about this tour, and because of this it is definitely her best tour to date. I would love to see her live at some point in my life, because it would be a dream come true. This DVD also features a great interview section from Bjork herself, Matmos, Zeena, and the choir. It's very interesting to watch these interviews about how the tour came about, and also the making of the album. Bjork is a beautiful creature and her music is stellar to anything I've ever heard. This DVD is essential for all Bjork fans, because you find something new every time you watch it."
Daniel | 04/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This video is a visual feast, and has nineteen beautiful songs that won't let you breathe because of the excitement. You should discover for yourself the stream of emotions that will lead to a solace, to a place where everything is possible, like a musical universe of utopia. The makers of this beautiful universe are; Simon Lee and the Novecento Orchestra, Matmos, Zeena Parkins, The Inuit Choir and of course Björk.
The performance of the orchestra is remarkable because they give enough profundity and drama to the songs so you can actually feel the academic side of Björk. Matmos add the beats and the organic noises to the show in a very original way that makes more effective the connection between them and the orchestra creating a perfect dialog of different elements. Zeena Parkins is an important companion of Björk in the entire concert; the sound of the harp creates an atmosphere of romanticism through slow and fast melodies, and there's a beautifull musical connection between Björk and Zeena that can be felt in songs like `Generous Palmstroke' or `Pagan Poetry'. The Inuit Choir is spectacular, they are like "extensions of Björk", they're like beautiful angels from heaven that have come to tell you little secrets, in this case, secrets of hidden places of solace. Björk; She is the force that holds all elements together in a system that could only work with desire, passion, creativity, instinct and love for music. She's like an angel with a message to tell, and that message is waiting for you to be heard.