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Category:    Home > Reviews > Classical Music > Feature Film Anthology > Opera > Ballet > Concert > Aria: 30th Anniversary Edition (1987/Lightyear Entertainment Blu-ray)/Andrea Andermann: 3 Live Films: Tosca in Rome / La Traviata in Paris / Rigoletto in Mantua Limited Deluxe Edition (Blu-ray Box set

Aria: 30th Anniversary Edition (1987/Lightyear Entertainment Blu-ray)/Andrea Andermann: 3 Live Films: Tosca in Rome / La Traviata in Paris / Rigoletto in Mantua Limited Deluxe Edition (Blu-ray Box set)/Bruckner: Symphony No. 6 in A major/Thielmann (C Major Blu-ray)/Handel: Alcina/Tamerlano (Alpha Blu-ray Set)/Rafael Frubeck de Burgos Conducts the Danish Symphony Orchestra (Dacapo Records Blu-ray Box Set/all concerts Naxos Blu-ray releases)

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

We bring together our latest opera, ballet and classical symphonic releases with the restored reissue of a multi-director fan favorite feature film that offers much from that universe...


Ten diverse filmmakers come together in the anthology Aria (1987) that centers around the interpretation of Opera through cinema. Celebrating this unique vision is stunning cinematography and direction that should be seen in film schools across the country as an example of unhinged filmmaking at its finest. These directors were given complete creative freedom to interpret the music as they so fit and the results are staggering.

The breakdown for the Directors and their segments are as follows: Robert Altman (segment Les Boreades), Bruce Beresford (segment Die tote Stadt), Bill Bryden (segment I pagliacci), Jean-Luc Godard (segment Armide), Derek Jarman (segment Depuis le jour), Franc Roddam (segment Liebestod), Nicolas Roeg (segment Un ballo in maschera), Ken Russell (segment Nessun dorma), Charles Sturridge (segment La virgine degli angeli), and Julien Temple (segment Rigoletto).

Actors that star in the segments include such names as John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Bridget Fonda, Theresa Russell, Buck Henry, Beverly D'Angelo, and Anita Morris to name a few.

Presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and a great sounding, though lossy Dolby Stereo 2.0 track, the film looks and even sounds fantastic on Blu-ray disc with stunning detail in the sets and costume design that definitely make this film worth checking out.

Special Feature: Still Gallery featuring stills from world-class photographers including Annie Lebovitz, Lord Snowdon, David Bailey, and John Swannell.

If you're a fan of opera or like edgy and offbeat filmmaking, then you will want to check out this interesting anthology film that is a very interesting look at the artform through visual storytelling.

Andrea Andermann: 3 Live Films: Tosca in Rome / La Traviata in Paris / Rigoletto in Mantua

If you're strictly an fan of Opera, then you will want to track down this limited edition boxset of three Andrea Andermann productions. The shows include Tosca in Rome, La Traviata in Paris, and Rigoletto in Mantua. These three unique productions were performed at the actual places and hours of the day in Paris, Mantua, and Rome.

To keep up with this authenticity, the performers were live on location while conductor Zubin Mehta and the orchestra performed miles away in a studio, connected to the singers only by monitors and hidden speakers, which helped give a more unique feel and involved some of the most complex audio-visual operations ever attempted in the Opera. The results really speak for themselves as these have been awarded Emmy, Prix d'Italia and Bafta awards name just a few.

The casts include Placido Domingo, Julia Novikova, Vittorio Grigolo, Ruggero Raimondi, Catherine Malfitano, Jose Cura and Eteri Gvazava. The Cinematography is by the legendary Vittorio Storaro.

All free films are presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and audio tracks in both lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks to choose from. Since it is an opera there are subtitles in various languages that you can choose. These shows are a bit more cinematic then usual when great looking cinematography that make you feel like you're watching a movie more than watching a show play out on a stage, which is interesting.

Special Features include the Collectible Box Set packaging and a built-in, 160-page book provides background information on the productions, plus a lavish and art photo collection.

A beautiful and interesting set of Operas, this is a set that will go on the records books as being vast and interesting.

Bruckner: Symphony No. 6 in A major

Beautifully shot and performed, Bruckner's classical sensation lands on disc in grand fashion, led by Christian Thielemann (a favorite on this site), at the podium. This Autumn 2015 performance of the Sixth Symphony of Bruckner is for the opening concert at Dresden's historic Semperoper, which marked yet another Bruckner triumph for Dresden Staatskapelle Orchestra.

I've always been a fan of classical and its great to see a nice performance such as this one on disc. For anyone who has ever performed in an orchestra, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication which is evident here in the amazing musical performances.

The show is presented in a 1080i high definition transfer with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a crystal clear, lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0 track that brings the orchestra to life on your home surround system.

No extras except for a nice insert booklet.

Handel: Alcina/Tamerlano

Part of the Alpha Classics label, this great two disc set is sure to please Opera lovers that want to relive the magic of the stage at home featuring two works by George Frideric Handel. The shows include Alcina, which is directed by Stephan Aube (the title character is haunted by lovers from her past, et al) and Tamerlano, which is directed by Myriam Hoyer (the title emperor in 1402 deals with the Ottoman Empire and a mix of melodramatic relationships).

Christophe Rousset and his orchestra convey exceptional fervor in this music, here served by some of the most Handelian voices imaginable including Sandrine Piau. Other stars include Jeremy Ovenden, Ann Hallenberg, Sophie Karthauser, Delphine Galou and Christophe Dumaux.

If you a fan of Handel then you will most defiantly want to check out this gorgeously shot performance, which is captured in 1080i with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio that looks and sounds fine on disc with a 2.0 stereo mix that captures the music quality fine.

No extras, however the packaging is quite nice and a very nice booklet with tons of linear notes with full color photos is included that will be a great guide as you watch the show.

Rafael Frubeck de Burgos Conducts the Danish Symphony Orchestra

This fascinating collection of extraordinary classical performances features the works of Beethoven (Symphonies 1 - 9), Berlioz (Symphone fantastique), Strauss (Eine Alpensinfonie), and Rodrigo (Concierto de Aranjuez) as performed by the Danish Symphony Orchestra. Conducted by the late, renowned Principal and Maestro Rafael Frubeck de Burgos (who left us in 2014), this highly collectible new box set is a must for any Classical Music fan.

You'll feel like you're in the front row seat when watching this beautifully photographed collection of soothing melodies. As stated this is some of the maestro's most impressive work and one can really see the dedication and perfection these musicians have for their craft.

Disc 1 - Beethoven Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21 (1799/1800)

Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36 (1801-1802)

Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, Op. 55 'Eroica' (1803-1805)

Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major, Op. 60 (1806)

Disc 2 - Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 (1804-1808)

Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68 'Pastoral' (1808)

Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92 (1811-12)

Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93 (1812)

Disc 3 - Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 'Choral' (1822-1824)

Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez (1939)

Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14 (1830)

Strauss: Eine Alpensinfonie (An Alpine Symphony), Op. 64 (1911-1915)

The program is presented in full 1080p with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a decent-sounding 2.0 PCM stereo track and a great lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix that both capture the beautiful sounds of music perfectly on your home entertainment system. Typically programs like this are presented in 1080i so I was happily surprised to the sharper detail of 1080p.

Special Features...

- 100-page booklet with an extensive essay by Danish composer and writer Karl Aage Rasmussen, who authoritatively takes the reader through Beethoven's nine Symphonies. The built-in book is presented in four languages; English and Danish as well as de Burgos' own languages German and Spanish.

- Beautiful packaging (see the image with this review).

- James Lockhart



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