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Category:    Home > Reviews > Classical Music > Opera > Concert > Thais – Massenet: Noseda/Cosi fan tutte – Mozart: Fisher/La forza del destino – Verdi: Zubin Mehta/Gotterdammerung – Der Ring des Nibelungen/Wagner – Weimar (Naxos/TDK/Opus Arte/ArtHaus Blu-rays)

Thais – Massenet: Gianandrea Noseda (ArtHaus)/Cosi fan tutte – Mozart: Ivan Fisher (Opus Arte)/La forza del destino – Verdi: Zubin Mehta (TDK)/Gotterdammerung – Der Ring des Nibelungen/Wagner – Staatskapelle Weimar (Art Haus)/Naxos Blu-ray)


Picture: B-/B-/B/B     Sound: B- (Verdi: B)     Extras: C- (Mozart: C)     Concerts:


Thais C+


Cosi fan tutte C+


La forza del destino B-


Gotterdammerung B



It has been a while since I have looked at Classical and Opera material on Blu-ray, but for many who enjoy the High Definition format as I do, they may be surprised how many such titles are already available in the format.  So many that we have covered them individually and in groups, like the four programs here from ace distributor Naxos.


The four programs here are the latest stage productions offers by Art Haus, Opus Arte and TDK, whom many are surprised to learn has a solid home entertainment division.  I had mixed feelings and viewings of the four programs here.  Thais (which takes place in Egypt involving the beautiful title character) and Cosi fan tutte (a opera comedy about relationships that was first performed in 1790!) are top rate productions as far as the talents, costumes and sets are concerned, yet they did not work for me consistently and we uneven in bringing out the best in everyone and the work.


La forza del destino has some of the same troubles, but it works well enough in other ways and conductor Zubin Mehta has a knack for bringing out angles in Classical and Opera music many conductors do not.  Nicolas Joel directs and they mesh better than the previous productions, yet it was not everything I had hoped for.  However, Gotterdammerung does deliver as expected and though not the best Blu-ray I have seen in the genre, its playback is superior to the other Blu-rays and it is the one where the work comes alive and tends to stay that way throughout.


All are shot in 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition video and while Thais and Cosi fan tutte are softer than such a taping should be, La forza del destino and (especially at times) Gotterdammerung have some great-looking shots for the format and overcome their source limits at times.  Audio is less consistent, however, with all but La forza del destino not quite having the soundfield I was hoping for.


Thais is really pushing and thinning out its audio with a DTS-HD Master Audio (MA) lossless 7.1 mix (the sound is just not there) and also offers PCM 2.0 Stereo.  Cosi fan tutte has Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and 2.0 mixes with the 5.1 a little better, but the sound is limited.  Gotterdammerung also has DTS-HD Master Audio (MA) lossless sound, but the makers leave it at a 5.1 (vs. 7.1) mix and stops any limits from being any more so.  La forza del destino also has a DTS-HD Master Audio (MA) lossless 7.1 mix, but this is much better, fuller and creates a much better sound field than the others, though a PCM 2.0 Stereo is also included.


Extras include an extended booklet on the music, while the Mozart Blu-ray adds a fine illustrated synopsis (the effective kind Opus Arte keeps adding to these releases, which are most welcome), animated cast gallery and Insights featurette with Conductor Fischer, Stage Director Nicholas Hytner and members of the cast.



For more related Blu-rays, try these links:


Mozart’s Die Zauberflote



Massenet’s Manon/Wagner’s Tristan & Isolde



Mozart’s Don Giovanni/Wagner’s Lohengrin



Verdi’s Il Trovatore



Verdi’s La Traviata



Verdi’s Rigoletto




-   Nicholas Sheffo


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