Verdi, James Levine: La Traviata
"Stratas not only sings magnificently but also looks the role... She is a screen presence as riveting to watch as to listen to... Having cast the film very close to perfection, Zeffirelli has staged it in a way that serves both the film and the grandeur...
Depeche Mode: Rewind 30 Years At The Edge (2 DVD)
When four lads from London's home counties got together in 1980, sharing a love of David Bowie and all with a keen eye on the synthesiser sounds then just gaining ground in the UK via artists like Gary Numan and Ultravox, they could barely have envisaged the kind of impact they would have on the world music scene. But today Depeche Mode remain the most popular and successful electronic group ever, and have themselves influenced a huge array of groups and artists in so becoming - stand up Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, Pet Shop Boys, Linkin Park and the creators of thousands of dance and techno records.
This 2DVD set celebrates the astonishing music and lengthy career of Depeche Mode by way of a stunning documentary film in which their extraordinary story is told in depth. Featuring an array of performance and studio footage of the band, numerous archive interviews with members past and present, contributions from those who know the group best - including Gary Numan, Thomas Dolby and OMD's Andy McCluskey - news reports, location shoots and seldom seen photographs, plus comment and review by th band's official biographer and the finest rock writers around. Throw into the mix some of the most outstanding music from the last three decades and the programme will prove a joy for the millions of Depeche Mode fans across the globe....
Monteverdi, Nikolaus Harnoncourt: L'Orfeo / Il Ritorno d'Ulisse In Patria / L'incoronazione Di Poppea (5 DVD)
Monteverdi - L`inconorazione Di Poppea (2 DVD)
The culmination of a three-year Monteverdi project led by conductor William Christie and direct Pier Luigi Pizzi at Madrid's Teatro Real, L'incoronazione di Poppea brings a potent blend of sex and politics, high drama and comedy. Leading the cast are Danielle de Niese, Philippe Jaroussky, Max Emanuel Cencic and Anna Bonitatibus.
William Christi, who most recently started 2012 at New York's Metropolitan Opera, conducting The Enchanted Island, is joined by the Les Arts Florissants as he evokes a veritable orgy of nuances, subtly creates atmosphere and shows a perfect sense for the accents of the piece. It took Christie and director Pier Luigi Pizzi three years to mount Monteverdi's three operas together. The result was a production full of elegance and beauty.
Performed in a new edition of the Venetian version of the opera by the musicologist Jonathan Cable, Poppea features a starry cast. Playing the upwardly mobile temptress of the opera's title is the glamorous American soprano Danielle de Niese, who, in the words of the New York Times, is "seductive enough to woo gods as well as mortals".
In an interpretation described as "overwhelming" by El Pais, the capricious Emperor Nero (Nerone) is embodied by French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky. The brilliant Croatian countertenor Max Emanuel Cencic plays Nerone's rival for Poppea's love, Ottone, while Nerone's discarded wife Ottavia, is sung by the Italian mezzo soprano Anna Bonitatibus, described by Forumopera as "an incandescent Ottavia who vouchsafed a superb example of singing and of theatre". ...
Puccini: Tosca (Blu-ray)
Passion, Loyalty, Lust And Finally Tragedy Are Dramatically Highlighted In Robert Carsen's "Theatre-Within-Theatre" Staging Of Puccini's Great Opera. As The Beautiful Tosca, Emily Magee Plays Opposite The Charismatic Jonas Kaufmann (Cavaradossi) And Debonair Thomas Hampson (Scarpia); Together They Bring A Rare Intensity To This Famous Tale Of Love And Revenge From Beyond The Grave.
Tosca - Emily Magee
Cavaradossi - Jonas Kaufmann
Scarpia - Thomas Hampson
Angelotti - Valeriy Murga
Sacristan - Giuseppe Scorsin
Chorus, Children's Chorus And Orchestra Of The Opernhaus Zurich
Conducted By Paolo Carignani...
AC/DC: Highway To Hell
Although it wasn't until after the release of the Back In Black album that AC/DC became global superstars, the era most fondly remembered by fans of this extraordinary band is when Bon Scott was at the helm - between 1974 and 1980. And if there's one...
Pink Floyd: Meddle - A Classic Album Under Review
Following the departure of their founding father, Syd Barrett, in 1968, Pink Floyd were forced to reassess their position on the musical map. By the time Meddle was released in 1971 - the album Dave Gilmour considers "the start of the path forward' - the band were demonstrating an expert grasp of the new sonic territories they had been exploring. The mega-selling Dark Side Of The Moon, which followed Meddle, would arguably have sounded a whole lot different had it not been for its groundbreaking predecessor.
Pink Floyd - Meddle: A Classic Album Under Review offers a hitherto undocumented level of insight into the band during the build up, recording and aftermath of their most significant musical turning point. Via the use of performance footage, long forgotten photographs, contributions from friends and colleagues, review, criticism and insight from a panel of esteemed experts - and lots, lots more - this film delivers the long awaited critical review of a world class band at their creative peak.
Features Include: Live and studio performances from the Meddle era, reassessed by a panel of revered experts Obscure footage and unseen photographs Review, comment and criticism from; Pink Floyd producer and Beatles engineer, Norman Smith; Floyd's 1960s touring partner and Soft Machine bass player, Hugh Hopper; founding member of Yes, Pete Banks; Floyd author and rock writer, Mark Blake; Classic Rock magazine's Malcolm Dome; author and Mojo journalist, Mark Sturdy; ambient music expert, Mark Prendergast; Wire magazine's David Stubbs and many others Footage of and comment on Pink Floyd's musical influences at this pivotal point in their career...
Bizet, Antonio Pappano: Carmen
With Anna Caterina Antonacci and Jonas Kaufmann bringing rare erotic intensity to the drama of Carmen and Don Jose, this new Royal Opera production is a darkly passionate reading of one of the world's favourite operas. Under the baton of Music Director Antonio Pappano. Bizet's irresistible score drives the tragedy forward - powering a landmark staging of a musical masterpiece. Carmen - Anna Caterina Antonacci Don Jose - Jonas Kaufmann Escamillo - Ildebrando D'arcangelo Micaela - Norah Amsellem...
Fred Astaire: Second Chorus And Royal Wedding
"Second Chorus", the 1941 Hollywood musical comedy film starring Astaire, Burgess Meredith, Paulette Goddard, Artie Shaw and Charles Butterworth, with music by Artie Shaw, Bernie Hanighen, Hal Borne and lyrics by Johnny Mercer, sees Danny O'Neill (Astaire) and Hank Taylor (Meredith) as rival trumpeters with college band the Perennials. Both men find themselves competing for the affections of Ellen Miller (Paulette Goddard) while trying to get the other one fired.
The 1951 Hollywood musical comedy film "Royal Wedding" was set in London in 1947 at the time of the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip. Fred Astaire and Jane Powell play a brother and sister song and dance duo, echoing the real-life theatrical relationship of Fred and Adele Astaire. Powell falls for Lawford, who plays an English aristocrat - mirroring Adele Astaire's romance and eventual marriage to Lord Charles Cavendish, son of the Duke of Devonshire. Also starring Peter Lawford, Sarah Churchill and Keenan Wynn, with music by Burton Lane and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner....
Donizetti, Juan Diego Florez, Patrizia Ciofi: La Fille Du Regiment (2 DVD)
Today's top bel canto tenor, Juan Diego Florez, and acclaimed Italian soprano Patrizia Ciofi lead о superb ensemble cast in Donizetti's sparkling opera-comique from the Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa. This acclaimed production sets the action in the...