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Category:    Home > Reviews > Classical Music > Opera > Concert > Drama > Politics > Plays > King Roger (C-Major/Unitel) + Abbado – Mahler Symph. No. 2 + 6 (Euro Arts) + Handel – Messiah/Spinozi (C-Major) + Mozart – Cosi fan tutte & Don Giovanni (Unitel Classica) + Shakespeare – Love’s Labour

King Roger (C Major/Unitel) + Abbado – Mahler Symph. No. 2 + 6 (Euro Arts) + Handel – Messiah/Spinozi (C Major) + Mozart – Cosi fan tutte & Don Giovanni (Unitel Classica) + Shakespeare – Love’s Labour’s Lost/Globe (Opus Arte) + Homage To Robert Schumann Live/Frauenkirche Dresden & Wagner – Renzi/Lang-Lessing (ArtHaus/Naxos Blu-rays)


Picture: B-     Sound: B (Roger: B-, Messiah/Schumann: B+)     Extras: C (Globe: C+, Renzi: B-)     Main Programs: B (Messiah: B-)



The latest wave of Naxos-distributed Blu-rays is an interesting mix of new titles and Blu-rays of titles we have already covered on DVD, plus a few that continue series of Blu-rays we have started covering before.  We have included links where we have covered the titles on DVD or related releases as follows:


King Roger (C Major/Unitel Blu-ray)



Abbado – Mahler Symph. No. 2 + 6 (Euro Arts Blu-rays) – We previously covered the Mahler Symphony No. 5 Blu-ray at this link:



Another winner in a set of three such releases and counting, similar to the first and just as well made, which means this is building into a potentially major HD Classical series.


Handel – Messiah/Spinozi (C Major Blu-ray) – The only time we have covered this work before is as a DVD-Audio format release:



This is a good performance, but I am not a big fan of this work and this one sometimes had dead moments despite all the talent involved.  Good thing the sound is some of the best on this list.


Mozart – Cosi fan tutte & Don Giovanni (Unitel Blu-rays)



Shakespeare – Love’s Labour’s Lost/Globe (Opus Arte Blu-ray) – We covered the Globe performance of As You Like It at this link:

+ Romero & Juliet at this link:



Also good like the previous three, you have to still adjust to the distance of the actors, but this is turning out to be a great series for purist fans of The Bard.


Homage To Robert Schumann Live/Frauenkirche Dresden (ArtHaus/Naxos Blu-rays) – Our previous Schumann Blu-ray was also from ArtHaus in the form of full performances of The Ring Circle and Genoveva at this link:



This is the best of the three Schumann Blu-rays and the one I would start with if introducing one to the composer, with fine, well recorded performances led by conductor Daniel Harding.  That it is exceptionally recorded makes it the best Blu-ray here in this review and of Schumann’s work to date.


Wagner – Renzi/Lang-Lessing (ArtHaus/Naxos Blu-rays) – ArtHaus also supplied one of the best Wagner Blu-rays when we covered Die Walkure/Valkyrie and Ring Cycle in the same link right above this text in the same review.  This lesser known and performed work is impressive and the makers have cleverly and effectively added costumes, sets and iconography of the Nazi/Fascist period in the Orwell 1984 mode for this work, giving a new edge to an already fascinating work.  As conducted by Sebastian Lang-Lessing, it is the other big surprise in this batch and worth going out of your way for.



The 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on all the productions can be colorful and the money is in all the productions, but all of them have motion blur that limits the playback performance, though again some fine shots and color offset the problem in all those cases.  The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 mixes on all the titles are good, especially on Messiah which is 5.0 and Schumann which is 5.1, but the 5.1 on Roger disappoints a bit, showing more flaws here than the DTs DVD offered.


Extras in all nine releases include the usual illustration and text-rich booklets inside the Blu-ray cases, a few offers trailers for other Blu-ray releases and Renzi adds a fine making-of featurette.  All in all, the Naxos-distributed Classical/Opera Blu-rays remain some of the most consistently interesting and diverse titles in the market and we have covered even more than the above links show elsewhere on this site.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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