Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Classical > Opera > Ballet > Orphee & Eurydice (Roberto Alagna dramatic opera version) + Orpheus & Eurydike (Pina Bausch ballet version/Naxos/BelAir Blu-rays & DVDs)

Orphee & Eurydice (Roberto Alagna dramatic opera version) + Orpheus & Eurydike (Pina Bausch ballet version/Naxos/BelAir Blu-rays & DVDs)


Picture: C+ & C/B-     Sound: B/B-     Extras: C+/C     Main Programs: B-



Originally composed back in 1762, Christoph Willibald Cluck’s Orfeo ed Eurodice is a key work in Opera and Classical Music that mixes mythology with a long history that includes various versions, even by the author himself who was ahead of may other later key operas and made a French variation 12 years after the original debuted.  Its flexibility and diversity is reflected by two very good, but different new concert versions now available on Blu-ray and DVD from Naxos and BelAir.


Built on the mythology of Orpheus, we get two distinct versions both worth seeing.  Roberto Alagna has created an outright opera version in Orphée & Eurydice and it is in French influenced on the later revised version.  Rich and elaborate, yet still with enough of a realistic edge, this version brings out the stark nature of the work and does not let anything Fantasy genre or otherwise derail that intent.  This version runs 96 minutes.


Even a little better and longer (at 106 minutes) is an impressive Ballet version entitled Orpheus und Eurydike, staged and choreographed by Pina Bausch, which is one of the most energetic and immediate ballets we have seen in a while.  This is in German and does seem to play closer to the mythological ideas.  As fine as the dramatic version is, ballet has this tendency to bring out fantasy ideas more effectively in the Classical parlance and we see that yet again here.  It is never boring and as definitive a ballet version as I could imagine.


The 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition transfers on both have their flaws, but the Alagna version is noisier and weaker throughout in ways I was not expecting and is one of the more disappointing Classical Blu-rays for picture I have seen.  The 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on the Bausch ballet version is better, though you can see some slight softness and minor staircasing throughout typical of the format, but color and clarity are better than its non-ballet counterpart.  The anamorphically enhanced DVDs in both cases are not as good and the Alagna dramatic version is particularly pale.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 mixes in both cases are better than their PCM 2.0 Stereo alternate tracks and the Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes on the DVDs, plus the producers were smart enough not to try and stretch out the multi-channel sound to 7.1, which has been a mistake in more cases for more genres and types of programming that we expected early on.  Singing and music are well-recorded in both cases, but soundfields are limited to some extent in both cases.  Extras include booklets with both editions (in both formats) and the drama adds a half hour featurette.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com