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Category:    Home > Reviews > Classical Music > Opera > Ballet > Concert > Documentary > Congo > Coppelia (Delibes/Bart/Opus Arte)/Kinshasa Symphony (2010/C Major)/The Philharmonics/Waltzes/Strauss (Accentus/Arte)/Yutaka Sado – Berliner Philharmoniker (EuroArts/Naxos Blu-rays)

Coppelia (Delibes/Bart/Opus Arte)/Kinshasa Symphony (2010/C Major)/The Philharmonics/Waltzes/Strauss (Accentus/Arte)/Yutaka Sado – Berliner Philharmoniker (EuroArts/Naxos Blu-rays)

 

Picture: B-/C+/B-/B-     Sound: B (Kinshasa: B-)     Extras: B-/C+/B-/C+     Main Programs: B (Waltzes: B-)

 

 

Our latest look at some of Naxos Classical Music, Vocal Choir and Dance Blu-ray releases include variations (no pun intended) on some titles we have seen before.

 

Our one ballet this time out is Léo Delibes’ Coppelia here conducted by Koen Kessels and choreographed by Patrice Bart from Arthur Saint-Léon’s original work about a man who falls for a mysterious automation until his girlfriend intervenes.  Of course, this will remind some of Tales Of Hoffman or even The Nutcracker and there is comedy here, but this is a different work and is just not as well known, but should be.  As presented by the Ballet of the Opera National de Paris, this is a nice production I enjoyed enough to recommend and figure it is as good an introduction to the work as any.  Extras include an illustrated, informative booklet in the Blu-ray case, plus Cast Gallery and documentary: The Mystery of Coppelia.

 

Our one documentary is Claus Wischmann & Martin Baer’s Kinshasa Symphony (2010) about a group in the Congo that has existed for 15 years singing the likes of Beethoven, other Western music classics and very well for that matter, but this is also about the people, the country and the harsh conditions and changes that this unit somehow endures against many odds.  It is a tight 95 minutes and concludes at the logical time it should, so those interested will enjoy it and be glad it does not succumb to run-on.  The only extras are an illustrated, informative booklet in the Blu-ray case and bonus 10 minutes section on the program.

 

The Philharmonics – Waltzes by Johann Strauss arranged by Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg & Anton Webern is a short 64:20 running time, but it is still pretty good and takes place in a traditional restaurant location in the tradition of how the recordings were played going back to May 1921!  That is a plus and makes this a fun entry instead of the usual big stage presentation 90% of these releases tend to bee.  I hope we get to see more such releases soon and I liked the atmosphere of the locations to boot.  Extras include an illustrated, informative booklet in the Blu-ray case, plus trailers for four other Blu-ray releases.

 

Finally we have conductor Yutaka Sado who I am less familiar with joining the  Berliner Philharmoniker in a fine concert where he delivers great works by Takemitsu and Shostakovich from May 2011 that is as rich and even as powerful as the best composer-centered Blu-ray releases we have seen over the last few years and could become the start of another series built around a talent like Sado.  I liked this one too and would like to see more Sado Blu-rays to see where he would go if given the chance to tape more of his concerts.  Extras include an illustrated, informative booklet in the Blu-ray case, plus a 16 minutes long interview with Sado.

 

 

The Kinshasa Symphony is listed as being a 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition release, but the HD shoot has its issues including aliasing and staircasing, so it is not as good as the 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on the three concert releases included, though they have their own limits but better color.   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 except Kinshasa which has location audio limits and some compression, even when the music kicks in at its best, but that is to be expected form such a production.

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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