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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Music > Rock > Albums > Classic Albums: Queen - A Night At The Opera

Classic Albums: Queen – A Night At The Opera


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Main Program: B



Queen is a popular band, but a divisive one among some critics.  Some think they are great, while others think little of them.  Homophobia and the band playing Sun City when apartheid was in full swing are two non-music reasons.  Those who do not like the Progressive Art Rock of the late 1960s-early 1970s are another group.  And then there are those who never liked Glam Rock.  They took the subgenres into new directions.  Another thing the band did was take Rock and with lead singer Freddie Mercury himself in particular, took the Fascist aesthetic and annihilated it to the point that it was rendered as obsolete as it began.  That was the prime reason without knowing it that their audience was not restricted to a gays and fans of Rock subgenres.  No album completed the job better than A Night At The Opera, a single album whose energy and diversity brought all of the band’s aspirations to a grand peak.  It is now the subject of a fine installment of the great Classic Albums series.


Though mocked in Wayne’s World, Bohemian Rhapsody remains a landmark single, taking the single-as-orchestra idea The Beatles and The Beach Boys worked at in the 1960s.  By expanding the aspirations to an (literally) arena size, the song endures as the classic it is.  That it was so bold about loneliness and even his sexuality, it is more ahead of its time than ever.  But that is only one of several favorites examined closely in this great special.  You’re My Best Friend and God Save The Queen are among the other highlights and since we have reviewed the actual album elsewhere on the site, I will stop there.  I will add that interviews with executives and critics of the time are very good and the participation of Roger Taylor and Brian May are vital.  John Deacon did not want to be interviewed, which is the only shortcoming of this show.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1/16 X 9 image is in line with the better releases the Classic Albums series has been offering since Eagle picked it up, with most of the footage in this case being new or older analog video (NTSC and PAL) in good shape.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has little in the way of surround information, though other installments have in some cases.  Extras include eight bonus sections, which add or expand on the main program, running as long as the main program itself.


Of course, no DVD-Video could be expected to sound as good as either of the higher-definition audio formats and early on, we covered the multi-channel DVD-Audio version of the album which remains one of the best in the format.  Read more about it at the following link:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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