George Benjamin’s 2012 opera Written on Skin received great acclaim at its opening at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, and the Royal Opera quickly mounted it in March 2013. Seen in this DVD from Opus Arte, the work has a great deal going for it: an impeccable cast of committed singing actors, Benjamin himself as conductor, a libretto (here called “text”) by the modernist British playwright Martin Crimp, and the excellent forces of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. Read more »
The legions of New York opera buffs who now can’t talk about anything but Javier Camarena will be happy to know that there’s now a DVD release of their new favorite tenor in Rossini’s Le Comte Ory available. The performance was actually filmed in 2011 in Zurich, and will be of immense interest not only to Camareniacs, but to Rossini scholars and to fans of Cecilia Bartoli, who limits her staged operatic performances outside her artistic home in Zurich. Read more »
The sea, the sky, the wind, the storms that are so frequently depicted in the music of Benjamin Britten are brilliantly illuminated in the new DVD of Peter Grimes on Aldeburgh Beach, a collaboration between Aldeburgh Music, film director Margaret Williams, and stage director Tim Albery.
On a fantastical set (a stunning design by Leslie Travers) depicting storm-tossed boats and piers placed on the beach pebbles near the water’s edge, the performance plays out in the natural elements with the audience on the beach as well. The sea and sky are the backdrops, and this performance finds the heart and guts of Britten’s work with excellent staging and performances that get deeply into the minds and souls of Britten’s troubled Borough. Read more »
As part of the celebration of the three-year long restoration of the Theatre Royal de Liege (and, from what we can see in this DVD it is a glorious restoration indeed), the Opera Royal de Wallonie went all the way to find as Belgian an operatic experience as was possible.
Verdi’s Macbeth poses a challenge to any company with the audacity to mount it.
Having recently reviewed Glass’s The Perfect American on this site and participated in spirited discussions about the film Saving Mr. Banks, it is perhaps not surprising that Walt Disney should spring to my mind as I watched the Unitel Classica video of Die Zauberflote from the floating stage of the Bregenzer Festspiele.
Philip Glass’s 25th opera The Perfect American was originally commissioned for New York City Opera during the aborted regime of Gerard Mortier.
I first became aware of the work of Austrian film director Michael Haneke a few years back when I followed a tip from a friend and rented the well-reviewed The White Ribbon.