Ho-Hum! More Euro-trash.
T. W. Didden | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | 05/07/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I was anticipating something far different from this travesty of baroque opera. From the outset, it is clear that the director, designer, etc have all combined to be as sophomoric and rediculous as possible. I have admired Mr. Harnoncourt's work in the past very much. He does what he can to try to present the musical part with SOME dignity, but even he gets suckered into stupid banter with the characters. The dialogue is presented in german, the music sung in (mostly) inflected english, except by the few english speakers in the cast. The imbicelic rendering of a beautiful Purcell opera is insulting to watch. It treats the music with disrepect, the subject also, and ultimately the viewer as well. I wish I had never wasted my time watching it. I only hope SOMEONE, maybe in England, who is not dedicated to these demeaning kinds of productions which are all too frequently offered as viable, will come to Purcell's aid and produce a thoughtful and worthy production of this and offer it on dvd. It is worthy of repect and care, not trashing the music and any sort of visual representation that will support and enhance the music. Mr. Harnoncourt, who has done such wonderful things in so many areas of music, concert and opera, should have known better; it does not do him a service to have been part of this crap. I will try to forget that when I see (or listen to) many other worthwhile things he has conducted. Unless you are hopelessly addicted to the crude and outlandish, occupy yourself with a cd version, or read a book! BLECH!"
Really ridiculous staging
Mark A. Leach | Columbia, South Carolina United States | 05/31/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I have to agree fully with a previous reviewer that the staging--apparently based on what costumes and sets were available in a seedy thrift shop--is truly awful and makes a mockery of Purcell's fine work. I'm not adverse to modernized (or in this case heavily postmodernized) stagings, but this production has to take the cake as the worst example of the genre I've seen in the last 30 years (do not be fooled, as I was, by the somewhat traditional look of the cover to this DVD). Harnoncourt has been something of a hero to me owing to his pioneer work using period instruments and due to the brilliance of his musical interpretations, and the work is well-played. But there is no excuse I can see for this production, and while I try to write only positive reviews, this DVD needs a warning label: NOT FOR THOSE WHO LIKE PURCELL."
Five stars for some things, less stars for others
Steven Guy | Croydon, South Australia | 02/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was made for a German audience and, as such, it works well. I am not against updated production values. Purcell only wrote music, admittedly extensive music, for a play. Purcell's music is beautiful, sublime, fun, powerful, joyful, expressive and funny - he does all these things in the music in King Arthur. Herr Harnoncourt does not mess around with the music at all - you hear, and see, 100% Henry Purcell when the music is performed.
However, the language of the drama is German and the staging is creative and modern. Shoot me, but I quite liked it. I am tolerant of such things, and, until a really H.I.P. DVD version of King Arthur is available, I think that this is the only party in town.
Yes, there is an element of Euro-trash here and I think that that is quite knowingly presented, perhaps it was intentional?
I love this work, I sang in a production two years ago. If you really want a serious recording of King Arthur, buy the William Christie / Les Arts Florissants recording on CD. That is probably one of the best recordings of any Baroque opera, or, indeed, ANY opera on CD.
I should have believed!
Dr. John W. Rippon | Florida | 07/21/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I read the several disparaging reviews of King Arthur and thought " oh, it can't be that bad because it is Harnoncourt and he did so magnificently with the Monteverdi trio of beautiful productions". Well, I was wrong and they were right. It's awful, horrid, totally "Euro-trash". I couldn't even finish watching to the end. Lesson learned; read, think and appreciate the reviews before buying!
John W. Rippon"