Gluck: Iphigenie en Aulide/Iphigenie en Tauride:
Marc Minkowski (Deneder Landse
Opera/Opus Arte)/Haydn: Orlando
Paladino/Jacobs (Staatsoper/Euro Arts)/Richard
Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier – Andrew Litton (Opera Australia/Naxos Blu-rays)
B- Sound: B Extras: B-/C+/B- Main Programs: B/B-/B+
some less-performed operas now on Blu-ray…
Christoph Willibald Gluck created compatible, dual operas
on The Trojan War and both Iphigénie en
Aulide and Iphigénie en Tauride
are on one Blu-ray and from Opus Arte and The Deneder Landse Opera conducted by
Marc Minkowski based on Euripides writings on Agamemnon, Iphigenia and tragedy
with plenty of twists and both directed by Pierre Audi.
own, they are pretty good and the makers have taken liberties to modernize the
wardrobe, which may get in the way of authenticity, but seems to be trying to
avoid the pretension and phoniness the awful Wolfgang Petersen’s Troy motion picture offered from bad
digital effects to its slow script to Brad Pitt’s endless dying scene.
still not highly impressed, but these two make more sense together and gives a
much more complete idea of what the take being pulled off here. It is not always successful, but it is
ambitious enough and if you are going to take on the subject matter, you might
as well go all the way. It runs 229
minutes, so be awake for it all, but it still seems much shorter than that Troy film.
include a booklet on the program in several languages, two Behind The Scenes documentary featurettes and Cast Galleries.
Joseph Haydn’s Orlando Paladino adapts Ludovico Ariost’s tale of
royalty, sorcery and love as a Princess (a remarkable Marlis Petersen) falls
for Sorcerer Medoro (Magnus Staveland), but the title character (Tom Randle) gets
into the middle of it in a comic tale that deals with hero mythology and here,
plays with the ideas of artifice and naturalism.
with its share of contemporary costuming, this runs 168 minutes, but despite
having many fine highlights, I did not think this one totally worked all the
time leaving us with peaks and valleys throughout that stop it from being a
boring failure, yet not always adding up as I had wished for. Perhaps having two directors in Nigel Lowery
and Amir Hosseinpour has something to do with it, but it just does not cohere
as I would have liked despite the fine acting and singing talent of the
cast. This is one fans of opera will
need to see fort themselves to really tell, but expect some unevenness
throughout. René Jacobs conducts the
include a booklet on the program in several languages and trailers.
Litton conducts the music for this Opera Australia version of Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier
which has an exceptional vocal opera cast, top rate period designs from the
costumes to the sets and at a very impressive and never problematic 200 minutes
is the best release on this list and of the genre we have seen in months.
seems the tale of a Count and a hidden, secret love is being plays in a coy way
by casting Catherine Carby as The Count to play on gender politics, the work is
never altered to make it a lesbian plot or a political polemic nor does the
work even admit that the Count is played by a woman. Without the cliché of saying they play it
“straight”, the production is so concerned with doing this opera as an A+
production in a totally classic mode that it becomes irrelevant and they may
even are expecting us to accept Miss Carby as a male. All in all, it is
incidental and does not matter.
add it also gives the personal, private space in the secret relationship new
poignancy, but I want to add that the cast has some of the best individual
vocal performances I have encountered on opera in all home video formats ever. Cheryl Baker, Manfred Hemm, Warwick Fyfe,
Emma Pearson, Andrew Brunsdon, Jacqueline Dark and Henry Choo make up the
amazing main cast, though there is an exceptionally large cast here. You’ll want to go out of your way for this
include a booklet on the program in several languages and Cast Galleries.
1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on all three productions are
good, though we also get some motion blur, but color is not bad and especially
on Rosenkavalier which easily has
the best color of the three and the one with the few demo shots. Some video black can be problematic at times
and we get some slight staircasing, but playback is fine for interlaced
tapings. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio)
5.1 lossless mixes on all three Blu-rays are fine, well recorded and have good
soundfields, though being they are on stage, you get recordings that also
convey the sense of space and distance between the singer and audience, plus
the size and acoustics of the various locales, so nothing is too forward and
sometimes, sound will seem more distant than expected but that is the way it
- Nicholas Sheffo