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Category:    Home > Reviews > Classical Music > Ballet > Drama > Romance > Literature > Horror > Science Fiction > Opera > Fantasy > Histo > Adam: Giselle - The Royal Ballet (2016)/Frankenstein: Royal Ballet (2016)/Handel (2005 - 2016/Glyndebourne/Darcey Bussell in the studio with Liam Scarlett and Laura Morera 4 Disc Blu-ray set/all Opus

Adam: Giselle - The Royal Ballet (2016)/Frankenstein: Royal Ballet (2016)/Handel (2005 - 2016/Glyndebourne/Darcey Bussell in the studio with Liam Scarlett and Laura Morera 4 Disc Blu-ray set/all Opus Arte)/Olivo e Pasquale (2016/Dynamic)/Un Ballo in Maschera (2016/Unitel/all Naxos Blu-rays)

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

Now for our look at a new round of Naxos Blu-ray releases, including a rare-so-far Dolby Atmos release....

We start with two very different theatrical performances, Giselle (an opera) and an odd ballet interpretation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, both landing on disc in grand fashion thanks to Opus Arte. Both were performed by the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, which is why we start with them combined.

Giselle stars Marianela Nunez, Vadim Muntagirov, Bennet Gartside, Johannes Stepanek, Elizabeth McGorian, Gary Avis, Itziar Mendizabal, Olivia Cowley, and Beatriz Stix-Brunell. The show features music by Adolphe Adam, Choreography by Marius Petipa, and direction by Ross Macgibbon. This is my second Giselle disc and our fifth, so you can read more about the work starting at this link...


Frankenstein stars Federico Bonelli, Laura Morera, and Steven McRae with direction for the screen by Ross MacGibbon and fascinating choreography by Liam Scarlett, an ambitious ballet version of the Horror classic.

Both features are presented on Blu-ray disc in 1080p high definition but the audio specs are quite different. Frankenstein has a beautiful Dolby Atmos 11.1 track (still too rare for these releases) that simply sounds stunning while Giselle has both LPCM 2.0 and DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless tracks comparable to most opera discs as of late.

Special Features on...


Collectible insert booklet

Introduction to Giselle with Peter Wright and the Artists

Exploring Mime

Working Together


Collectible insert booklet

An introduction to Frankenstein

Casting the ballet

Lowell Lieberman and Liam Scarlett on the music

John Macfarlane on designing Frankenstein

Handel: Glyndebourne/Darcey Bussell in the studio with Liam Scarlett and Laura Morera

Handel is presented in grand fashion on Blu-ray with a new box set that features three iconic works Giulio Cesare (2005), Rinaldo (2011), and Saul (2016). All three performances feature music performed by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

In Giulio Cesare, David McVicar directs an all-star cast aided by vivid playing from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under conductor William Christie. In Director Robert Carsen's spin on Rinaldo, some interesting props are featured that include lacrosse sticks and flying bicycles, which was pretty amusing. The storyline may be more interesting to those that enjoy horror and fantasy as there are interesting fantasy-based warriors and evil witches. The main attraction is the strong music, which is led by conductor Ottavio Dantone.

Director Barrie Kosky's critically acclaimed Glyndebourne debut, Saul is the newest performance in the collection and seems a bit more polished than the other two entries. Under conductor Ivor Bolton, the Old Testament story is retold to take place in the era when Handel lived, which is a pretty interesting addition. Also worth noting are the gorgeous costumes by costume designer Katrin Lea Tag.

The 1080i transfers on the discs with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio are not terrible but not particularly astounding either. The sound mixes are pretty strong on the discs with 2.0 LPCM and 5.1 DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless tracks that are clean and clear throughout and provide great detail on all of the musical cues that leave little to complain about. Subtitles are also on the discs in English and several other languages.

No extras.

Olivo e Pasquale

From Dynamic comes the riveting opera performance of Olivo e Pasquale, a fan favorite that has delighted audiences for years. Known also as Melodramma giocoso, or romantic comedy opera about the title character brothers and their conflicting lives with those around them, this is the 1827 Neapolitan version with slight revisions and recorded for the first time at the 2016 Donizetti Festival of Bergamo.

The show stars Bruno Taddia (Olivo), Filippo Morace (Pasquale), Laura Giordano (Isabella), Pietro Adaini (Camillo), Matteo Macchioni (Le Bross), Edoardo Milletti (Columella), Silvia Beltrami (Matilde), and Giovanni Romeo (Diego).

Presented in 1080i/60 and a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio, the disc looks fine but nothing too impressive in terms of visual presentation, yet still better than standard definition. The audio mix is fine with a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 mix and a PCM Stereo 2.0 mix both included, depending on your home theater setup.

No extras.

Un Ballo in Maschera

Shot in Munich in March 2016, Giuseppe Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera (aka A Masked Ball) is beautiful opera that you won't want to miss. Featuring soprano Anja Harteros, singing Amelia for the first time and tenor Piotr Beczala, director Johannes Erath's new production was a huge hit with audiences and is now finding its way onto disc thanks to Unitel.

Performed by the Bayerisches Staatsorchester Orchestra, the show co-stars George Petean, Anja Harteros, Okka von der Damerau, and Sofia Fomina. This version is on par with the previous two productions we've seen over the years on Blu-ray as follows:

Leipziger Ballet/EuroArts


Teatro Real/Royal Opera House/Opus Arte


Presented in 1080i with 1.78:1 digital High Definition widescreen presentation and a nice sounding PCM Stereo lossless track (along with a better, lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 track) - the show looks fine on Blu-ray save a little bit of motion blur on some moments. The show is nicely photographed for a nighttime look with heavy blues and whites with long flowing white curtains. The program is nicely lit and probably looked magnificent in person. Wish this were 2160p.

Special Features...

Collectible Insert Booklet

- James Lockhart



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