Bored with the cushioned confines of Mount Olympus, a dissolute band of gods decides to go slumming in Hell in "Orpheus in the Underworld." Offenbach's famous "can-can" is one high point in this stylish, witty, and elegant... more » production, which also features a stupendous entry into Hell via a steam-belching locamotive which crashes directly through the ceiling. Recorded live at Brussel's Theatre de la Monnaie, this visual and musical delight was directed by Herbert Wernicke and conducted by Patrick Davin, providing a powerful sensory experience you won't soon forget.« less
Lev Raphael | Okemos, MI United States | 04/15/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I don't think this is as awful as other reviewers say, but it's not as effective as the amazon.com reviewer claims, either.Musically, I prefer the Michel Plasson-directed Orphee on EMI. It's both more sprightly and more profound, capturing the full range of Offenbach's unique genius.The singing here is generally lovely (with some exceptions), and the set fantastic. There are some wonderful visual moments, but the pace isn't quite exciting or dramatic enough, ditto the comedic moments, and the choreography could be more imaginative.PBS did a brilliant one decades ago that I've rarely seen or heard surpassed; sadly, it's not available."
John Gray Hunter Jr. | Wilmington, NC USA | 02/22/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This production looks great! The concepts are clever and fun!
The tempi are.....slow......painfully slow.....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
This can only be considered "rollicking" if one finds a chess game "rollicking".
It's a good game, though, played on a lovely board by very fine players. It's just, with this kind of work, a farcical satire by Offenbach, they should be running around the court playing hand ball, not sitting at the chess board. It needs to have life, it needs to jump, it needs to Can-Can! But instead, musically we get a lullaby....a dirge!
I suggest the CD version with Dessay, Naouri, Fouchécourt, Beuron, Podles, Petibon, Smith, Gens, Cole, Minkowski.....which you may purchase here, BTW. This version with no visuals is much more preferable than this sluggish DVD version. "
Rollicking Good Fun
Duncan Kinder | 10/28/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A reasonable reader, considering the low ratings given by the other reviewers, might conclude that is is a bad DVD, to be avoided, fundamentally flawed, not worth the money.
No, its jolly good fun, well acted, the sound is good, and the story is funny.
This production may or may not be a good parody of Gluck's opera (or of the myriad of other Orpheus and Eurydice stories that have been done in the last 2500 years).
The point is that this is the only DVD available for Orpheus in the Underworld; so it's this or nothing. And, certainly, if you otherwise want Orpheus in the Underworld, go ahead and buy this one. It's fine.
I've given it five stars to compensate for the low ratings others have given it. I hope that others also will plug it.
Offenbach's Train of Thought
Skippy | Connecticut | 08/02/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is a good production of one of Offenbach's more popular operettas with good cast and orchestra. The setting is that of Nineteenth Century Paris, not Classical Greece. The setting, I suppose, makes a statement, but frankly I would have preferred the setting stay true to the story. That being said, if you like Offenbach, you should like this. There is some very familiar music, including the famous "Can-Can." One prominent stage device is the arrival of an old-fashioned locomotive in Hades. Very loud and very cute. I cannot help but note that in Offenbach's "La Belle Helene" (his take on the Judgment of Paris and the abduction of Helen by Paris), Paris solves a riddle which also involves "locomotive." Whatever can all this mean? On the whole, I like both the music and wit of "La Belle Helene" more than that of "Orpheus in the Underworld," but "Orpheus" is very entertaining."
music lover | N Carolina | 08/05/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a pleasant and entertaining production of the Offenbach classic. I would rank it somewhat behind the PBS production of some years ago, which sadly is not available on DVD. Nevertheless, if you enjoy classic musical comedy this is worth seeing."