Russian never sounded so lyrical...
artslover | Kirkland, WA United States | 10/10/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I disagree with the editorial review given for this wonderful, well-rounded opera. What the reviewer calls, "...stand and sing, and lack of action...," I see instead as the effect of the spacious Mariinsky stage -- probably triple the standard U.S. performance stage. There's plenty of action and activity, it's just sometimes dwarfed, if you will, but never to the point that it detracts from the overall production. Also, as an opera lover, I'm not looking for an Arnold Schwarzenegger action flick, but instead want exquisite voices, quality acting, complementary orchestral accompaniment, and sets, staging, costumes, and lighting that appeal to my visual senses and support the storyline. This opera has all these qualities in abundance. The performances are superb: Herman is a likable, pathetic creature with a captivating, lyrical tenor's voice. Liza is vibrant and affected, singing with perfect diction and clarity, always perfectly hitting her high notes. Olga Borodina's melancholy aria in the first act will take you to another world. The choruses are absolutely beautiful -- even reminding me of stunning Verdi scenes. The orchestra, under Gergiev's baton, produces the musical intensity and obsession that Tchaikovsky intended, in this, his final opera. The production itself is excellent with beautiful costumes and sets. The lighting and filming is also first-rate, far better than the large stage performances on video/DVD from the Met. This is a rewarding, satisfying performance in every way, and without question the choice video/DVD selection of this opera."
Stunning production, but..
Robert Levonian | Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil | 06/30/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I completely agree with artlover's review, but I would like to add a correction and a complaint.Contrary to what the reviewer says, "Pique Dame" was not Tchaikovsky's last opera, but his next to last. "Iolanthe" (1891) was his last.I would like to warn possible purchasers that the level of recording is rather low, and one has to increase the volume to get a satisfactory reproduction.As for the cast and musical direction, there is not a word to add to artlover's review."
Pretty good production
Y. Goldfarb | US | 07/28/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is pretty good opera, considering that it was recorded over 10 years ago. Typical sets and singing manner of Russian vocal school of that era (and I grew up there). Of course, it is not comparable to any of the newer productions from Met or La Scala; however, considering that this opera is not a very popular choice for opera houses by some reason (although I truly think that this is one of the best operas by Thaikovsky), it is worth to buy."