Benvenuto Cellini/Terry Gilliam
(2015/Blu-ray + DVD)/Chailly:
Mendelssohn Midsummer Night's Dream/Tchaikovsky
La Campana Sommersa/Renzetti
(2016/Unitel/all Naxos Blu-ray)
B & C/B-/B-/B-/B- Sound: B- & C+/B/B/B/B- Extras: C
Main Programs: B-
another fine set of Classical Music releases....
start with a new version of Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini
recently taped in 2015. It compares well with this version on
Blu-ray from a few years ago...
twist is the director is no less than feature film auteur Terry
Gilliam, with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. Though this
might have a bit more flare and energy than the other version, even
with Gilliam helming on stage, this is still
three hours long and you had better really be in the mood for this
one like any program at that length. The cast (including John
Osborn, Maurizio Murano and Laurent Naouri) are as good as the other
cast and the sets are fine, but the length will be an issue for some
and that includes this writer. Still, if I were to recommend a
version, this would very slightly edge out the other one, though fans
and those interested in a challenge might take on both!
is a Classical Music concert, Chailly:
Mendelssohn Midsummer Night's Dream
(2017) from Accentus, which compares well to what was Opus Arte's
version, their first-ever Blu-ray release reviewed here...
we also get some Tchaikovsky here (Manfred)
that is fine, I liked the other version of Midsummer
a bit more for whatever reason and has little to do with the older
edition's slightly better image quality. Still, having the extra
music, the releases are even and just fine in either case. The whole
disc runs nearly 100 minutes-long.
Jommelli: Il Vologeso
(2015) is a libretti gaining popularity along with its author and
this version with conductor Gabriele Ferro is allegedly the first one
on stage in two centuries!
that, it is obviously a serious event for opera in general and should
be lauded that way, plus to have it on this high-quality Blu-ray is a
plus, something so many previous performances did not have the luxury
of. From OperStuttgart, the political love triangle tale (Rome and
Parthia are the countries involved) so we have had this kind of opera
before. The makers here try to do interesting things with this and
it is definitely worth as much of a look as anything on this list.
183 long minutes, Sebastian Kohlhepp, Sophie Marilley, Ana Durlovski
and Helene Schneiderman lead the cast.
is another version of Mozart's
Lucio Silla (2017) not
long after we looked at this version from a few years before, meaning
the performances of this work are not as rare as once thought...
for me, they both have fine talents and solid work, but 180 minutes
is 180 minutes and both versions simply land up being on par with
each other, no generalizing or tokenism intended. Claus Goth has a
fine grasp of the material and the singers/actors are giving it there
all. It was just not delivering any final results or points
different from the previous version, but again, you can get both and
compare if you are a fan or have a big interest.
we have Ottorino
Respighi's La Campana Sommersa
(2016 aka The Sunken Bell)
which we have not only never covered before, but is a 4K recording,
even if it is not a 4K disc. This opera is a supernatural tale about
a woman trapped in a man's world metaphorically using demons (et al)
to tell the story as written in 1927 just before the rise of fascism
and Mussolini in Italy. Some may compare aspects of it to Fritz
Lang's similar feature films and even Metropolis
(1926), though not all of Lang's films dealt with supernatural horror
to say the least.
at the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari based on a libretto by Claudio
Guastalla and earlier Gerhart Hauptman work, this runs 140
minutes-long, so it is not as long as some of the release son this
list, yet it is still long enough that you need energy and undivided
attention to take it on and Conductor Donato Renzetti keeps it all
going. If you can suspend disbelief over the spiritual characters,
you're more likely to buy it.
include Valentina Farcas, Maria Luigia Borsi, Agostina Smimmero, and
Blu-rays are here in 1080i
1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image presentations, save Campana,
a 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer from a
new 4K 2160p shoot, meaning we should get a 4K Blu-ray of it in the
near future hopefully. Despite this, all the titles have some motion
blur elements and Gilliam's Cellini
is the least problematic throughout for some reason with the least
blur. It is also here in its DVD version, an anamorphically enhanced
1.78 X 1 image that is passable for the format, but that pales to the
in all the Blu-ray versions, we get DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1
lossless mixes with fine soundstages and lesser PCM 2.0 Stereo
counterparts that are not as good, but are fine for such limited
mixes (though Campana
could sound a bit better). The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 and PCM 2.0
Stereo on the Cellini
DVD is fairly good, but a little weaker than expected, especially as
compared to the Blu-ray soundtracks.
in all cases might include some superfluous trailers in a few cases,
but the multi-language booklets for each release are the only extras,
which is sad because you would think at least the Gilliam releases
would have a featurette.