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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Opera > Comedy > Richard Straussí Der Rosenkavalier (Medici Arts Blu-ray and DVD)

Richard Straussí Der Rosenkavalier (Medici Arts Blu-ray and DVD)

 

Picture: B+/B††Sound: B+/B††† Extras: D †††Program: A-

 

 

Der Rosenkavalier or The Knight of the Rose is a comic opera in three acts by Richard Strauss with original libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal and adapted by two sources: the novel Les amours du chevalier de Faublas and Monsieur de Pourceaugnac.The opera was first performed in 1911 and remains one of the more popular operas performed annually.We have already covered Straussí Salome, reviewed here and are just as thrilled about this recently entry as well, which has been issued through Naxos on their Medici label for both DVD and Blu-ray.The story is set in the 1740ís during the first few years of the reign of Empress Maria Therese and while the opera was hugely popular in a mainstream sense, it was not so popular among critics who were not favorable to the use of waltzes, which at this time was not commonplace in opera to say the least.In that sense, Der Rosenkavalier is innovative in its usage of music style and substance, which works beautifully together here.

 

The opera itself is not necessarily for beginners as it is complex in itís design and in many respects Strauss went full force with this particular piece writing some of his best work and integrating it into perhaps one of the finest productions, which would come at the end of an era that was sadly transformed just a few years later by World War I.This production was filmed in Japan where it caused quite a sensation in November 2007 as it was the first visit in 26-years and received such a reception that tickets sold like hot cakes.Anne Schwanewilms brings the house down too with this phenomenal soprano part that rivals some of the best parts ever written for opera, her tenderness and yet commanding vocal range is beyond words.††

 

The presentation on both DVD and Blu-ray are quite good, framed at 1.78 X 1 and shot in HD, the Blu-ray immediately prevails with a superior 1080i high definition transfer that demonstrates superior fidelity, depth, black levels, sharpness and overall resolution that takes the viewer into the act.Shot in the NHK hall in Tokyo under stage direction by Uwe Eric Laufenberg and performed by the Semperoper Dresden this is certainly one of the best productions ever offered, and certainly for home video.While the DVD is particularly strong, it cannot compete with many of the darker scenes, which is evident here quite a bit.The DVD offers three audio options: PCM 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1, and DTS 5.1.I am really excited about the usage of PCM on these DVD releases as they are superior even to the Dolby Digital mixes, of course the real treat is the DTS audio option, which surpasses both.Again, the Blu-ray wins again with lossless PCM 2.0 and PCM 5.1 mixes, which are superb and on par with the other material we have been getting through Naxos thus far.The mix feels spacious when it needs to be and the vocal ranges come through well-balanced and natural, not Ďenhancedí.

 

The opera itself is not necessarily for beginners as it is complex in itís design and in many respects Strauss went full force with this particular piece writing some of his best work and integrating it into perhaps one of the finest productions, which would come at the end of an era that was sadly transformed just a few years later by World War I.This production was filmed in Japan where it caused quite a sensation in November 2007 as it was the first visit in 26-years and after seeing this particular production it is no wonder!While there are no extras included, having your hands on this disc is enough.There is a booklet that does detail the overall production; its history, the cast, and other interesting notes. Molto suggerito!

 

 

-†† Nate Goss


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