Bella Dormente nel Bosco/Respighi/Renzetti
(2019/Opus Arte/all Naxos Blu-rays)
B/B/B-/B/B/B- Sound: B Extras: C Main Programs: B-
latest group of Classical Music Blu-rays are on the basic side, but
all deliver decent shows, if a bit long in some places and sometimes
off in others...
admit that we do not get every Classical Music release on home video
that get released each month and could not cover them all if we did.
In that, we still cover plenty of titles and yet, we have too few
releases of the work of the great Johannes Brahms, one of the
greatest composers ever. Hope he is not losing favor, but the new
release of Ein
Deutsches Requiem, Op 45
(2018) on Blu-ray by conductor Pavvo Jarvi (whom we have seen and
heard often enough) with Valentina Farcas, Matthias Goerne and The
Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen State Choir Latvia may only run 71
minutes, but it is a rich program.
inside the actual Bremen Cathedral, it reminds us how talented Brahms
was and how complex his work could be. Though not my favorite work
from him, it is obviously still a remarkable work and this is a solid
performance delivers it well. This might not be for everyone, but it
is worth seeing and hearing.
Maria Von Webber's Euryanthe
(2018) is an opera with brighter setups than we have been seeing
lately, the tale of how the title character (Jacquelyn Wagner) is
slandered to no end and how she deals with the situation musically.
As an opera, this works just fine, though it is a very long 167
minutes and manages to use most of that time well.
Trinks conducts the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra by the
Theater an der Wien with the Arnold Schoenberg Choir, all these
talents cohere very well and more so than many such releases we have
recently covered. This may also be viewed as slightly updated,
slightly modernized and even a little post-modern, but even that
approach works and so, see it if you can handle its length.
Bella Dormente nel Bosco
(2017) is a recent version of Sleeping
that was produced with 4K cameras and is as elaborate as anything
here, costumes, singing, sets and colorful, color-lit sets. This
runs only 88 minutes (how long could it run?) and is not totally
predictable, which is a plus, conducted nicely by Donato Renzetti via
the Teatro Lirico di Caligari Fondazione (and their orchestra) and
choir master Gaetano Mastroiaco. It is ambitious and that pretty
much pays off throughout.
may want something more traditional (or is that cliched or obvious?)
but I liked the change of pace and this has its share of heart and
soul. Vocals are just fine and the dancing (choreography by Luigia
Frattaroli) never seems, fake, forced or phony. Thus, this is worth
a look if you are interested and I hope we see it in an actual 4K
(2019) is an interesting, but very deconstructed version of Tales
that runs a long 165 minutes, but gets the source material and is a
nice twist on the original material. Staged by Tobias Kratzer, the
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Carlo Rizzi and
recorded with the Dutch National Opera, John Roberts and Irene
Roberts lead a very capable, talented cast. The production's style
stays true and consistent throughout and this was a pleasant surprise
as this could have faltered and just not worked. It does work and
you'll be impressed that it works to should you check it out.
this is more well-lit and brighter than usual, with plenty of white
light in many scenes and after a few people have criticized these
productions as a little darker (visually, not necessarily
thematically) that have seen Blu-ray release, it is a welcome change
up is a new version of Giuseppe Verdi's Nabucco
(2019) from the Teatro Regio di Parma, recorded for their Verdi
Festival, choreographed by Marta Bevilacqua, conducted by Francesco
Ivan Ciampa and running a long 146 minutes, it is very comparable to
this stage production of the same Opera we reviewed on Blu-ray a few
years ago at this link...
when comparing two big productions based on the same source material,
we find some differences and find it easy to choose between the two
when asked, but despite a list of basic differences, they really even
out to be as good as each other, and we are not saying that to be
trite, nice, kind or be at the risk of sounding phony. It is a case
where it is a draw and we'll have to see when and if another version
comes along to see how it compares.
we have Cathy Marston's Victoria
(2019) with the Northern Ballet about the title character (Abigail
Prudames) aka Queen Victoria pits her legacy against her daughter
Beatrice (played by two actresses to cover the long timespan of the
narrative, though this program runs 115 minutes) and how the death of
Victoria's beloved Albert really throws things awry.
course, Victoria keeps showing up in feature films and TV
productions, including Dame Judy Dench more than once in recent
years, then that is among so many royal turns by so much talent.
Thus, when you get a stage production like this, it is haunted by all
that cinema and upscale TV, yet this is well done and more than holds
its own. In addition, it is not the same story we have seen before,
which is another plus. Jonathan Lo conducts the music by Philip
Feeney, and is recommended, especially for those interested and
especially for those addicted to royal mania.
for playback performance. Four of the productions are in 1080i 1.78
X 1 digital High Definition image transfers as they were produced
with the older HD cameras and infrastructure, but Euryanthe
and the 4K-shot Bosco
are here in 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers.
has a little more blur than it should have, a reduction issue
perhaps, and Victoria
can have some motion blur issues. Otherwise, they all have fine
color and save some underlighting, play back fine and I hope to see a
release at some point.
discs offer PCM 2.0 Stereo and better DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1
lossless mixes that offer more depth, detail, range and soundfield,
even if some are a little better than their PCM versions than others,
it is still narrowly so. Nothing was sonically exceptional, but they
are all well-recorded and deliver high quality playback few could
include the usual multi-lingual, slightly illustrated booklets in all
six releases and some have a few trailers for other shows, but only
two titles have anything else, with Nabucco
having a 5-minute clip of a Ricci/Forte interview and Victoria
adds a little more in the very short Cast Gallery and Creating
featurette clip. I wish all were a little longer.