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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Pop > Country > Classical > Ballet > Instrumental > Opera > Ali Isabella: Say You’ll Be Mine (AIX Blu-ray w/CD)/Adolphe Adam: Giselle/Bolshoi Ballet/Yuri Grigorovich (BelAir Classiques)/Andris Nelsons Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Yefim Bronfman: Beethoven Pia

Ali Isabella: Say You’ll Be Mine (AIX Blu-ray w/CD)/Adolphe Adam: Giselle/Bolshoi Ballet/Yuri Grigorovich (BelAir Classiques)/Andris Nelsons Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Yefim Bronfman: Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5/Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade (C Major/Unitel Classica)/Renee Fleming/Christian Thielemann/Werner Philharmoniker: Lieder Richard Strauss: Eine Alpensinfonie (Opus Arte/Naxos Blu-ray)

 

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

 

 

Our latest set of music Blu-rays includes something unusual with the Classical type offerings we like to look at…

 

 

That exception is Ali Isabella: Say You’ll Be Mine, the AIX label’s attempt to launch a pop/country artist with a Blu-ray/CD set in a CD jewel box.  She may be pretty and have a good voice, but it is hard to say how good when it is being melded with digital harmonics (the tired pop formula these days, esp. since Cher’s hit Believe and even company putting style over substance by using such gadgets to cover up the limits of their would-be singers), though Miss Isabella may be a little better a singer than many her generation who are cutting songs.

 

However, the nine tracks on the CD and even less on the Blu-ray did not stay with me, were not very memorable and was not what I was expecting.  Maybe someone would find this appealing if it is their kind of music, but she and her listeners deserve something more challenging and less commercial.  I did not know what to count as an extra form the Blu-ray, so we’ll give it our lowest rating and consider almost all of it main material.

 

 

Back on Classical ground, we revisit Adolphe Adam’s Giselle for the third time in a third different performance, this time from the Bolshoi Ballet issued by BelAir Classiques.  Here is our coverage of the previous Blu-ray editions:

 

Paul Connelly/TDK

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/9307/Humperdinck%E2%80%99s+Hansel+&

 

 

Royal Opera House/BBC/Opus Arte

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/8662/Handel%E2%80%99s+Tamerlano+DVD

 

 

This Yuri Grigorovich-choreographed version is as strong and well realized a ballet as the previous versions, all of which we liked.  I was pleasantly surprised and it goes to show how many ballet lovers love this work and how it just has a knack of playing on stage so well.  Costume and set wise, this was as beautiful as the others and if I had to choose between the three we have covered to date, it would be very hard because they are all impressive.  A nicely illustrated booklet including informative text in more than one language is the only extra.

 

 

Andris Nelsons & The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra with Yefim Bronfman: Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5 + Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade is a follow-up of sorts to the same conductor and orchestra performing Shostakovich Symphony No. 8 on Blu-ray, which was not bad and we reviewed at this link:

 

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/11629/Andris+Nelsons/Royal+Concertgebouw

 

 

I think this program sounds a little better and plays a bit better than the previous release, but is still in the spirit and form of the first.  I guess this is going to become some kind of unofficial series, but whether it will be as consistent in the long run is another question.  However, for simply having the orchestra play classics with no vocals, this is a solid release.  Of course, you’d have to like the pieces performed, but they are good and well done here.  A nicely illustrated booklet including informative text in more than one language and four trailers for other C Major Blu-rays are the only extras.

 

 

Finally we have Renee Fleming, Christian Thielemann and Werner Philharmoniker: Lieder Richard Strauss: Eine Alpensinfonie in which the great opera singer can more than challenge the complete orchestra delivering some amazing work all around.  Hard as this is to believe, we are more sued to seeing men do this than women, but Miss Fleming is one of the best opera singers alive and seeing and hearing her more than challenge the great musicians here and delivering each classic in exceptional vocal form is something special for so many reasons.  That we can enjoy this with the fidelity Blu-ray offers sheds new light on the art and impact of the classics and special talents involved.

 

I am also a Thielemann fan and before I continue, include links to three of his memorable Blu-ray releases we would also recommend for serious fans:

 

Beethoven Symp. No 1, 2 & 3

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/10799/Chopin:+Piano+Concerto+No.+1

 

Beethoven Symp. No 7 & 9 w/Missa Solemnis

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/10861/Brahms+Violin+Concerto/Dvorak+Sy

 

Wagner’s Valkyrie

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/10920/Berloiz:+Benvenuto+Cellini+(Naxos/U



Needless to say you combine him and his work and capacities with Miss Fleming and this is more like an unrecognized event than just another name show.  The result is great and I wish it were longer.  A nicely illustrated booklet including informative text in more than one language is the only extra.

 

 

The 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on all four Blu-rays have some detail issues and all have good color, but the HD footage on Isabella is weaker, has more motion blur, more color limits and even image shimmer that is just a bit sloppy.  All Blu-rays also have DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes that all sound good and better than their PCM 2.0 Stereo alternate sound versions (including the 16/44.1 PCM on the Isabella CD).  However, the Classical discs have a slight edge and more natural sound than the Isabella discs, but all have good, consistent soundfields, so those with home theater capacities will not be disappointed.

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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