Armstrong: Live From The Margravial Opera House Bayreuth
(2019/Verdi/Morandi/4K Ultra HD Blu-ray*)/La
(2019/Tchaikovsky/Nureyev/C Major/*all Naxos Blu-rays)
Ultra HD Picture: A- Picture: B/B-/B-/X/B-/B-/B- Sound:
B-/B-/B/A-/B/B-/B Extras: C/C/C/C/C+/C/C Main Programs:
latest group of classical releases includes a 4K upgrade of a title
we just covered and more...
Armstrong: Live From The Margravial Opera House Bayreuth
(2019) is subtitled 'Plays Wagner, Liszt Mozart' and he does, for a
go 95 minutes, entering a field that has been led by Lang Lang in
recent years on home video. The show includes Wagner's Piano
Sonata in A flat major,
several Liszt pieces and Mozart's Fantasy
in C Minor, K. 475
in C Major, K. 399, Allemande.
the show is just fine and his performances are really good, though
there is something that just does not synergize as he goes on like it
would in a Lang Lang or Yo-Yo Ma show. Maybe it is the editing or
that he is just getting started. The Margravial Opera House Bayreuth
is fine and this is as steady as any regular Blu-ray in playback on
the list, so ti is a quality release for sure. Hopefully, this is
just the beginning of a series of such releases and we'll see where
(2020/1806 Version) is a work I have been interested in seeing for a
while, and now, we have this Wiener Symphoniker/Arnold Schoenberg
Choir version conducted by Manfred Honeck and staged by Christopher
Waltz (yes, the Academy Award-winning actor and James Bond villain of
the moment). Running 130 minutes, it is also a bit more minimalist
than I would have liked and that affected the presentation for me of
the material. It is still fine and I know pandemic issues in 2020
did not help, but it is worth a look and its tale of corrupt politics
and possible murder are as timely as ever.
Chevalier, Eric Cutler and Gabor Bretz lead the cast.
(2020, aka Spring
us a very significant operetta, the last one completed in Germany
before the Nazis took over and ended the era of the Weimar Republic.
The author was forced to flee the country, landing up in the United
States, but not before this drama-comedy premiered. Even without
that knowledge, this three-part opera with a love affair happening
during a Russian/Japanese war raging, runs a long 154 minutes and is
mostly very involving and sometimes engrossing.
by Jordan de Souza, stage directed by Barrie Kosky and based on a
1968 reconstruction/arrangement by Norbert Biermann, it was made with
the Komische Open Berlin and completes the need to reestablish a fine
work that might have been in danger of disappearing altogether. The
persons involved obviously understand this and give it their all.
Some may think of Cabaret
with Liza Minelli and Joel Gray when watching this one, though this
performance is not like anything in that film.
in all, it is one of the best shows on the list and though a few
moments did not work for me, a remarkable work.
you enjoy watching opera at home at your leisure and want to feel
like you are sitting in the audience, then you will want to pick up
Verdi: Il Trovatore 4K
(2019), which is now available on 4K UHD from Naxos. The show was
recorded live at the Arena di Verona in 2019, just before the
pandemic, and so this is a reminder of better days for sure. This is
a nice alternative for opera fans during the pandemic, to be able to
experience a show like this in the comfort of your own home.
opera stars Luca Salsi, Anna Netrebko, Yusif Eyvazov, Dolora Zajick,
Riccardo Fassi, Elisabetta Zizzo, Carlo Bosi, Dario Giorgele, and
performing is the Arena of Verona Ballet, and the Arena of Verona
Choir, (chorus master: Vito Lombardi), Arena of Verona Orchestra, and
Pier Giorgio Morandi, conductor.
Zeffirelli, stage director and set designer
Gaetani, costume designer
Real, choreographer (after El Camborio)
you're a fan of Opera and have a 4K set-up then you need to
experience this disc in action. It really does look and sound great.
For more on the mixed regular Blu-ray, go this this link to read
more about it and even more classical releases...
new version of Minkus' La
(2019) has arrived conducted by Pavel Sokokin and choreographed by
Nacho Duato (on the work of Marius Pepita) becoming the third version
of the well-loved ballet we have covered. Here is the previous
Kovtun-choreographed Royal Ballet Blu-ray we reviewed a little while
think they are about even in the quality of the stage performances
and they both have fine sound, but this new version falls a little
short in the picture quality department and is a bit softer
throughout. Still, the Mikhaillovsky Ballet in St. Petersberg pulls
off a solid show running 98 minutes and those interested will
certainly not be disappointed by the results.
(2018) is also another popular work we are revisiting in yet another
new presentation, running a very long 223 minutes, but that's Wagner
for ya! Our previous versions include this ambitious Opus Arte
version that added a Super Audio CD (!!!) to the Blu-ray package....
an ambitious performance with serious talent that deserves an award
for just hanging in there, but the picture and sound playback
visually is just not up to the previous version, though the
performances are on par with each other for me again. The
Staatsopernchoir and Staatsorchester conducted by Cornelius Meister
(stage directed by Arpad Schilling) goes all out, but it is also a
bit minimalist and that might throw some people off. Otherwise, be
prepared for a long sit and see what you think, if interested.
we have Tchaikovsky's The
(2019, love how they added 'THE' at the beginning) by the Ballet
Company and Orchestra of Teatro Alla Scala, based on the work of
Rudolph Nureyev, conducted by Felix Korobov in one of the best visual
presentations on the list. Of course, not counting the animated
Disney classic, we have covered, plays better than this slightly
disappointing Dutch National Ballet Blu-ray version from a few years
about as well as this Bolshoi Ballet Blu-ray version we covered a
to Franca Squarciapino for top-rate costumes and sets, a fine cast
led by Polina Semionova and Timofej Andrijashheniko and just the
Scala's usual standard of excellence that graces pretty much all
their releases. I would recommend this for those interested, even if
some parts of long 158 minutes are a tad off.
is presented in 2160p 4K Ultra HD with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect
ratio and a PCM Stereo and DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mixes, both
of which pack a powerful and beautiful sounding presentation. The
costumes and set design have impeccable detail on the format and more
definition than Blu-ray disc, looking better than the regular Blu-ray
with the same fine sound repeated here.
other six Blu-rays are presented in 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High
Definition image transfers and can have some softness, but Armstrong
has the second-best performance of this group behind the 4K disc.
The other rest have more softness and motion blur than I would have
liked. Also, a new trend of having these shows with limited light is
backfiring as it just makes enjoying them harder in many cases.
rest of the discs also offer lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1
and PCM 2.0 Stereo mixes, but Lohengrin
only has PCM 2.0 Stereo and Armstrong actually has DTS-MA 5.0, so you
do not get the usual second option. Fruhlingssturme,
tie for the second-best sonic performance and I preferred the 5.1 in
all three versions. The two tracks on Armstrong
are closer in performance, while Fidelio
is also narrowly close and was slightly disappointing.
include the usual (and somewhat illustrated) multi-lingual booklets
each release has to go with it and are always printed with tech
details and other key information on quality paper, but Bayadere
adds a 12-minutes long featurette, so it has the best extras of the
Nicholas Sheffo and James