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Category:    Home > Reviews > Classical Music > Opera > Ballet > Concert > Stage > Drama > Literature > Fantasy > Aliceís Adventures In Wonderland (Royal Opera House Ballet/Talbot/Opus Arte)/Andrea Chenier (Giordano/C Major/Unitel Classica)/Bizetís Carmen (Piollet/C Major/Unitel Classica)/Les Vepres Siciliennes (

Aliceís Adventures In Wonderland (Royal Opera House Ballet/Talbot/Opus Arte)/Andrea Chenier (Giordano/C Major/Unitel Classica)/Bizetís Carmen (Piollet/C Major/Unitel Classica)/Les Vepres Siciliennes (Deneder Landse Opera/Opus Arte Blu-ray)

 

Picture: B-/B-/C+/B-†††† Sound: B+/B/B/B†††† Extras: B-/C+/C+/C+†††† Main Programs: B

 

 

Here are some more solid Classical Music and Dance Blu-ray releases for your consideration.

 

 

When I saw we were getting yet another variation of Alice In Wonderland in the form of a ballet, I thought that would be a nice change of pace and was additionally satisfied that Aliceís Adventures In Wonderland turned out to be a terrific alternative version of the classic that outdoes the recent Tim Burton hit which I was not much of a fan of.Alice has more versions of any such classic out on home video and especially Blu-ray than I can think of and to prove my point, here are links to some of the most high profile releases we have covered:

 

1951 Disney Animated Classic Blu-ray

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/10753/Alice+in+Wonderland+%E2%80%93

 

1988 Jan Svankmajer Stop-Motion Animated Blu-ray

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/11063/Jan+Svankmajer%27s+Alice+(1988/B

 

2010 Tim Burton Blu-ray 3D

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/10654/Alice+In+Wonderland+3-D+(2010/Ti

 

1966 BBC TV Version DVD

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/9770/Alice+In+Wonderland+(1966+British+T

 

2009 TV Mini-Series Blu-ray

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/9649/Alice+(2009+Mini-Series/Lionsgate+Blu

 

 

Joining them is this Royal Opera House Ballet from Opus Arte in two acts that feature choreography by Christopher Wheeldon and music by Joby Talbot conducted by Barry Wordsworth.I liked how fine the visuals were, how by eschewing any dialogue it avoided the many pitfalls of so many bad versions of late and how consistent overall this version was.There is a love of the book here that is up there with the best versions I have ever seen and serious fans will not want to miss this one, especially on Blu-ray and even if you are not a ballet fan.The dancing is also tight and impressive thanks in part to the amazing dancers.Extras include a thick, informative booklet with illustrations, technical information and explanatory text, while the disc adds a Cast Gallery and BBC Documentary Being Alice.Nice and just in time for the holidays.

 

 

One of two titles new to the site is Umberto Giordanoís Andrea Chenier, directed by Keith Warner with the Wiener Symphoniker that is yet another interpretation of The French Revolution, in Italian.You might think that would throw this rich production off, but it does not and as a matter of fact, offers this most important of historical world events with a new energy, feel and perspective this event has needed.I cannot vouch for all of its historical accuracy and the makers have not represented it as such, but it is very on the money about what happened just the same.Extras include a thick, informative booklet with illustrations, technical information and explanatory text, while the disc adds trailers.

 

It has been a long time since we have taken on Bizetís Carmen and only the second time on Blu-ray, but now, C Major/Unitel Classica have issued their own version.You can read about the Opus Arte release at this link:

 

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/7879/Bizet%E2%80%99s+Carmen+++The

 

 

One of the most popular of all operas, this is a nice production staged by Calixto Bieito and nicely coordinated by Marc Piollet heading the Symphony Orchestra & Chorus Gran Teatre Del Luceu and has as much passion and energy as any production I have seen.Some may consider it a little more basic than other versions, but it is good and fans should be pleased, while new viewers canít go wrong starting with this release.Extras include a thick, informative booklet with illustrations, technical information and explanatory text, while the disc adds trailers.

 

 

Finally comes Giuseppi Verdiís Les Vepres Siciliennes that is also with the Deneder Landse Opera directed by Christof Loy about Sicily during the French Occupation that debuted in 1855.Guy de Montfort (Alejandro Marco-Buhrmester) has come to power, but his past is about to challenge that, though that is just the beginning of this complex work that I am surprised is not more well known considering it is Verdi.Nevertheless, here is a great version of it and one very much worth your time.Extras include a thick, informative booklet with illustrations, technical information and explanatory text, while the disc adds a Cast Gallery and Introduction to the work if you are not familiar.

The 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on all four releases have fine color, but still have some issues with detail, even as they offer some nice HD shots, though Carmen is less impressive throughout overall with more noise than expected.All four also come with two soundtracks: superior DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes and PCM 2.0 Stereo for older, basic playback.All have solid soundfields and are very well recorded, but Alice tends to be the exceptional 5.1 mix here with even more outstanding sonics that can compete with most Classical Blu-ray releases we have come across lately, plus and version of Alice I have heard including the linked releases above, even when I did not review them.

 

 

-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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