Argerich: Evening Talks
(2002/Ideale Audience Blu-ray)/Wagner:
Der Ring/Des Nibelungen/Lothar Zagrosek
(2002 - 2003/EuroArts Blu-ray Box)/Tchaikovsky:
Nutcracker/Sleeping Beauty/Swan Lake - Teatro Scala/Dutch National
(1989 - 2011/ArtHaus Blu-ray Set/all Naxos)
B-/C+/C+ Sound: B- Extras: C+/C/C Main Programs: C+/B-/B-
for more Classical Music releases for you to be in the know about...
Gachot's Martha Argerich: Evening Talks (2002) is a decent, if
too short at 63 minutes-long documentary on the great Classical
Pianist in action, on life, on the arts and on her career. Shot in
Argentina with some great outdoor footage weaved into the new and
vintage footage, Gachot does a great job getting a rare inside view
of the artist in all kinds of ways, which is why it is all the more
unfortunate this does not go on long enough
portrait we do get rings true, has her always making room for other
artists, including new ones and I can see why this show got so many
accolades in its time. It is also a look inside the world of
Classical Music and how it too is its own industry. A text biography
is included in the booklet enclosed inside the Blu-ray case, but see
more below for details.
we have an older HD recording of Wagner: Der Ring/Des Nibelungen
(2002 - 2003) in its classic four parts (Das Rheingold,
Die Walkure, Siegfried, Gotterdammerung)
with conductor Lothar Zagrosek
delivering a deconstructed, paired-down version that tries to make
commentary on the 20th Century and Wagner's influence for better and
worse. These shows with Staatsopher Stuttgart will not make purists
happy and this is still 14 hours (!), but it is a faring variant,
though I only thought it worked so well versus the following versions
we have seen before as follows:
only in a superior Blu-ray presentation
Walkure combo Blu-ray is almost as good...
DVD box of the whole 14 hours looks and sounds as good, but the
overall shows are better...
this sampler of the work by Zubin Mehta on Blu-ray is not bad...
version is for diehard fans and those looking for a real alternative
version only, but I was a bit underwhelmed.
we have a trilogy in Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker/Sleeping Beauty/Swan
Lake - Teatro Scala/Dutch National Ballet (1989 – 2011) which
includes two older shows that are not filmed or in HD, so they are
upscaled. At least they will keep better on Blu-ray than the
inferior DVD format, but these shows are so-so in overall
performance. We have only covered one Nutcracker before here with
the San Francisco Ballet that I liked a bit better...
is the first time we actually covered any version of Sleeping
Beauty, but I just wished it was recorded more clearly. As for
Swan Lake, it was not bad, but we covered this several times
and in comparison...
version on Blu-ray
Production Design by the ingenious Dante Ferretti and choreography by
from Opus Arte is hard to beat:
there's the Blu-ray of the Royal Opera House version that is
almost as strong:
the Zurich Ballet did this more serious take that also
impressed on Blu-ray:
version in this new set is good and has some beautiful moments of its
own, but the other three worked even better for me, yet fans should
see them all.
1080i 1.78 X 1 image on Martha
is better than that of the four Ring
Blu-rays and Nutcracker
Blu-ray with the same presentation, plus upscaled 1080i from standard
definition video because the upscales on the other Tchaikovsky
Blu-rays are limited and issues of motion blur, detail, depth and
slight picture breakup affect the true 1080i performance programs.
is more stable and flaws in good archive footage and slight motion
blue in newer footage is less noticed throughout.
Blu-rays only offer PCM 2.0 Stereo, while the rest of these releases
offer DTS-HD Master Audio (MA) 5.1 mixes, but sound is even with the
soundfields of the 5.1 mixes never offering consistent soundfields
save the Ring
set, whose big problem is that the singers and orchestra are not
quite miked closely enough to capture warmth or depth.
in all cases include multi-lingual booklets on the respective
adds 5 bonus music performances at about 38 minutes, Ring
adds trailers for 4 other Blu-ray releases and Tchaikovsky
adds a 27-minutes-long behind the scenes program for Nutcracker.