Cher Public

Shopping season

After a long summer drought, suddenly new Blu-ray and DVD releases are falling, as it were, from the sky. La Cieca invites the cher public to peruse a gaggle of operatic offerings after the jump.

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. “A fresh, charming and perceptive production, magical and irresistible!” (New York Times) This new staging of Richard Wagner’s Meistersinger burst upon the Salzburg Festival like a thunderclap. Stefan Herheim’s idea of staging a midsummer night’s dream as a fairytale narrative is enchanting and with this admirably matched ensemble of excellent singer-players, all of whom bring sharp contours to their roles, and the brilliant details of characterization make each scene an experience to cherish. Blu-ray DVD

Hippolyte et Aricie. “Ed Lyon and Christiane Karg give captivating performances as the titular young lovers, while Sarah Connolly, making a welcome return to Glyndebourne, invests Phaedra with both grandeur and a desperately human vulnerability.” (The Independent). “Leading exponent of early music William Christie sets an exhilarating pace, galvanising the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment to playing of tremendous panache.” (The DailyTelegraph). Blu-ray DVD

L’italiana in Algeri. “Pesaro’s new offering in 2013 was an off-the-wall production of Rossini’s popular comedy, The Italian Girl in Algiers, presented as a Swinging Sixties, James Bond adventure, set in the desert oil fields of the North African coast. Davide Livermore’s gag-a-minute, helter-skelter romp followed an alarmingly life-like air-crash, which delivered the ‘Italian girl’ from Rome into the clutches of the local oil baron, Mustafa.” Blu-ray DVD

Elektra. “This production is leaded by three amazing singers: the German soprano Evelyn Herlitzius gave a tremendous, never-to-be-forgotten account of the title role, Waltraud Meier portrays a human and chilling Clytemnestra and Adrianne Pieczonka is a fantastic Chrysothemis. Everyone’s loneliness and intimate struggles are Patrice Chéreau’s favorites theatrical themes. With Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting the Orchestre de Paris, this production of Elektra becomes an unforgettable experience.” Blu-ray DVD

Prince Igor. “Dmitri Tcherniakov’s production is a brilliant psychological journey through the mind of its conflicted hero, and his… wonderful staging is dreamlike, wrenchingly human and viscerally theatrical.” (New York Times) “Star bass-baritone Ildar Abdrazakov takes on the monumental title role and… masterfully probed Igor’s guilt and regret.” (Wall Street Journal) Blu-ray DVD

L’elisir d’amore. “Inspired by the cartoon character Lucky Luke and the Spaghetti Western-tradition, the tenor’s staging for the Baden-Baden Festspielhaus is not only a film studio in the thirties but also a Western at the same time.” Blu-ray DVD

Il Trovatore. “Lovers of Il trovatore, a work famous for its perennially popular cavatinas and cabalettas rightly expect the singers to be at the very top of their vocal game and particularly look forward to the top C at the end of Manrico’s stretta, a true do di petto produced not from the head but from the chest. Yet the production of the work that was staged at the end of 2013 by the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin jointly run by Daniel Barenboim and Jürgen Flimm deliberately flouted these expectations and traded familiarity for astonishment.” (Peter Krause) Blu-ray DVD

Don Giovanni. Directed by Kasper Holten, Director of Opera at the Royal Opera House. Cast includes Mariusz Kwiecien, Alex Esposito and Véronique Gens. Es Devlin’s designs include a slowly revolving cube depicting the interior and exterior of a many-chambered plantation-style mansion and innovative video projection. Extra features: Introduction, Don Giovanni’s Women, Director’s commentary and a cast gallery. Blu-ray DVD

Rusalka. Ádám Fisher and Stefan Herheim masterfully present this lyrical fairytale at La Monnaie. In this widely acclaimed interpretation, the fairytale elements sometimes assume frighteningly realistic dimensions so that one might see this enchanting production as a psychoanalytical study of male fantasies and female archetypes. Blu-ray DVD

Arabella. The star-laden cast includes soprano Renèe Fleming, baritone Thomas Hampson, Albert Dohmen (Covent Garden, Wiener Staatsoper, MET) and Gabriela Benaková (Wiener Staatsoper, Covent Garden). With Christian Thielemann and the Staatskapelle Dresden, the music of Richard Strauss is in the best of hands. (ORF) Thielemann gets the best out of the cast…especially Renée Fleming with her luxurious soprano. (FAZ) Blu-ray DVD

Mefistofele. The cast includes Ramón Vargas, a tenor “in ravishing voice” (Financial Times), as the philosopher who sells his soul to the Devil; the “luminous, compelling” Patricia Racette (Washington Post) as the woman he desires; and, in the vividly menacing title role, the “seductively malevolent” bass-baritone Ildar Abdrazakov, a “fullbodied bass-baritone” renowned for his “wonderfully evil portrayals” (The New York Times). Blu-ray

Anna Netrebko: Live From the Salzburg Festival. With Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón, Thomas Hampson, Ildebrando D’Arcangelo, Piotr Beczala. Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata; W.A. Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro; Giacomo Puccini: La Boheme. Blu-ray DVD