Cher Public

Shadows on the silver screen

Strange as it is to encounter two such disparate works presented with the identical production concept, it’s odder still that the opera you’d think would be the slam dunk is anything but. Two new Blu-ray discs, Puccini’s La fanciulla del West from the Royal Swedish Opera and the Rossini Festival’s production of Ciro in Babilonia both pay homage to the silent era of the silver screen. Read more »

When in Rome

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s only opera for Rome was written to an existing libretto by the great Pietro Metastasio, L’Olimpiade, which had already  been set by Vivaldi the year previously. It eventually became the most widely used libretto in history, inspiring more than 60 composers including Piccinni, Cimarosa, Paisiello, and Donizetti. When Pergolesi’s version premiered at the Teatro Tordinona in Rome in January 1735 the words on the page were still relatively warm which, apparently, could not be said of our young composer who would be dead the following March of tuberculosis at the age of 26.

This 2011 presentation of the Pergolesi Spontini Foundation is now on DVD and Blu-ray courtesy of our friends at Arthaus Musik and documents a thoughtful staging that aspires to the highest musical standard.   Read more »

Bear in mind

Before there was a Stefan Herheim Boheme (which I reviewed a couple of weeks back for this site), there was a Herheim Eugene Onegin, recorded in June 2011 at De Nederlanse Opera and released on DVD and Blu-ray by Opus Arte.  As the Boheme might be described as “Rodolfo’s Dream”, this Onegin is “Onegin’s Flashback.”  Herheim weaves his directorial magic by setting the opera in three different “time zones”—the here and now, the period of the opera’s composition, and the historical context of the Pushkin verse novel on which it is based.

Tchaikovsky’s lushly romantic opera (1881 revised version) follows the story of the naïve Tatyana who writes a love letter to Onegin, only to be rebuffed and lectured about being so careless with her feelings.  Onegin wanders for eight years, searching for happiness and fulfillment, then, when he encounters the regal Tatyana who has become the wife of Prince Gremin, desperately tries to win her to no avail.   Read more »

Somewhere there’s a blu-ray of happiness

The 2012 Bayreuth production of Parsifal directed by Stefan Herheim will be released on Blu-ray and DVD by Opus Arte in April 2013.

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I enjoy being a valkyrie

So, take a look after the jump and tell La Cieca the two things that are wrong (they’re related) about the cover of the Met’s new Ring DVD/Blu-ray.

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The Wurm turns

The Met’s controversial Ring cycle, directed by Robert Lepage (not pictured) and conducted by TBA (possibly pictured) makes its home video debut on September 11.

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Rodent show

This Hans Neuenfels staging for the Bayreuth Festival caused quite a stir at its 2010 premiere, but now, with time and distance, how radical is the production?

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