Das Land Des Lachelns/Luisi
Blu-ray/all Naxos releases)
C+/B-/B-/B- Sound: C+/B/B/B Extras: C+/C/C-/C Main
to continue catching up on recent Classical Music releases...
start with Idil
(2016) on DVD, the only one on this list and the first time we've had
the well regarded pianist on video, as our only previous coverage was
just on CD, like in this review...
seeing is believing in this long 137 minutes release that is not bad,
but does run on longer than expected and was a little much to endure
versus the CDs, which were not seeming as long. The well-played
music is fine, but there is just something about this where the show
is not as packed with diverse music or different nuances that I would
have liked from a long form video than we get. These standards are
even played definitively, but I wanted something a bit more. Still,
it is a talent worth celebrating with the Borusan Istanbul
Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Toshiyuki Shimada and its her
party, so her having fun is the most important thing. Fans will be
time we cover Gaetano Donizetti, it is a work we have never covered
before and we see and hear a talent that ought to be more well known
and performed. This 2016 Roberto
is a good example, a three-act tragic libretto about troubled royalty
(Gregory Kunde is the title character) that runs a decent 137
minutes-long and deals with how he is a possible traitor trying to
broker peace with Ireland. Queen Elizabeth likes him very much, but
can that save him and can his sensible act save everyone from each
relevant as ever, obviously some of the acts did not stop the
conflict that still exists even today, but there is real heart and
soul here in honestly dealing with the issues now and then (should
England show that all-out power alone is not good enough to be a
great country and try to have a productive, progressive peace with
Ireland or just stoke up old hatreds for cheap control? This one is
worth a good look. Made with the Teatro Real De Madrid.
Lehar: Das Land Des Lachelns
(2017, aka The
Land Of Smiles)
with Opernhaus Zurich is one of the darker operettas you are likely
to encounter, made by the author in Germany in 1929, guess some early
forebodings of the nightmare ahead were already surfacing (maybe out
of unhappy WWI settlement terms?) and the new version changes some
bad stereotyping from the time.
a brisk 103 minutes-long, I liked the change of pace and the idea
that all such productions have to be happy, falsely so or otherwise.
Some may still find the characters have a touch of some kind of
stereotyping, but unless you portray all the characters from the
original operetta, you cannot stage this production, so this is the
best I felt we could get and I bet the makers agree. The sets are
nice, costuming, too, singing solid and it is worth a look no matter
what your reaction lands up being.
we have Giuseppe
(2017) from the Arena di Verona, so this is an increasingly rare
release taking place in an outdoor environment and it has been a
while since we've encountered such a release. Conducted by the very
able Daniel Oren, this tale of the King of Babylon (George Gagnidze
as the title character) has captured Jerusalem, but one of his own is
actually in love with another on the opposite side and this the
conflict begins very slowly until the return of the repressed (et al)
starts to surface.
why is it that often, live performances outside seem to have little
more like than inside? I do not want to overgeneralize or
stereotype, but there is something a bit bolder (especially these
days) about doing this and it does add to the fun and even
excitement. Cheers to the sound people for doing as good a job as
they did capturing this sonically. Andy Sommer directed this for
video and it is as recommended as any entry in this text.
credited often as 'Full HD' and these Blu-rays are not alone in this,
the 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on all three discs
here look good in color and you can see the staging well for the most
part, but we get more than a bit of motion blur and soft spots.
Still, it is not bad. Of course, the Biret
DVD only offers an
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image which is even softer and has
more motion blur and softness, but it is watchable at best.
for sound, the three Blu-rays offer DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1
lossless mixes with nice soundstages that are solid and just fine,
plus PCM 2.0 Stereo that is passable, but not as good as the 5.1
mixes (save Lehar,
with a little more to its PCM than the others). The Biret
DVD only offers lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, but its sufficient
and not bad.
in all four releases are the multi-language booklets that give you
information on the music and people behind them, but only Biret
has Biret in a 2012 Yale concert as a bonus.