HIGHLIGHTS WHET APPETITE FOR MORE!!!
S. Holmes | Wilmette, IL United States | 01/24/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD comes highly recommended. When this set from Pioneer was first released in 1987 on VHS and laserdisc, Pioneer combined excerpts from five of its greatest complete opera telecasts at the time: DON CARLO, UN BALLO IN MASCHERA, TANNHAUSER, LA BOHEME, LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR with the BARTERED BRIDE Overture from the 1983 Met Gala. All of these telecasts offered rich, classic and committed interpretations from such stars as Sutherland, Pavarotti, Freni, Domingo, Carreras, Marton, and Stratas. I promise you that you will want to buy most of these operas complete on DVD when you see these extensive excerpts. The added bonus is a set of six, short intermission features that were on the 1983 Gala, tracing the history of the Met in eras from "The Inaugural Season" thru "Bing and Beyond" --a fascinating look at the MET's history, using prints, photographs, sound recordings, newsreels and interviews. The DVD is titled "Volume One" but there has never been a Volume Two, which is a shame since Pioneer has such a rich library of telecasts from which to select.
Particularly for someone who is just learning about opera and wants a quality introduction, with the finest singers of there time, this DVD is a must-have."
The singing and passion of Grand Opera at the Met
Mr John Haueisen | WORTHINGTON, OHIO United States | 05/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have several "opera highlights" collections, so what is special about this one?
I really enjoyed the bonus feature that told the story of the history of the Met--from the social battles of millionaires like the Astors, the Vanderbilts, and J.P. Morgan. (Morgan banned Strauss' Salome from the Met after a single performance, much as Madama Butterfly was later banned following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.)
My favorite "windows into great operatic moments" on this disc are:
Jose Carreras and Teresa Stratas, as Rodolfo and Mimi in La Boheme. Carreras' voice is at its strongest, and Stratas sings and acts so well that it makes the classic love duet even more magical.
Eva Marton, also captured at her best, greets Tannhauser's noble hall of music with strength and passion that few singers can convey.
Another gem that I hope you will see is the sextet from Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor. Alfredo Kraus is the urbane, ideal Edgardo. The rest of the six are wonderful in their blending together as they create the magic scene culminated by Joan Sutherland's perfect high note, held just exactly the right length of time. She's got guts--that's what makes an absolute prima donna--she never hesitates or falters. The sextet is written so the other actors' singing leads into, and sets up the soprano's ultra high note, which resolves or balances out everything. If you can't find a way to buy this disc, I hope you can borrow it, just to share this magic moment from Lucia.
This is singing and passion to show others what grand opera is all about!"