This website is about high-definition video recordings of opera, ballet, classical music, plays, fine-art documentaries, painting, and sculpture. We call these recordings "HDVDs." Below are hundreds of stories about HDVDs, including critical reviews that are hard to find on the Internet. But first check out our Title Index/Alphalist, the world's only list of all fine-arts videos available in high-quality HD.

It's August 1. We are now coming into our new-title "silly season."  The publishers will be pushing product onto the market hard so you can buy stuff before Christmas. We recently posted 7 new titles, and we are working on 6 others. This can be time-consuming because the early new-title PR releases tend to be incomplete and rife with errors, which we try to correct.  Often there's confusion about the artwork that will be on the keepcases. Check back often---there are a lot of interesting titles in the pipeline.

Lorin Maazel died earlier this month. In his memory, we just updated our story about his role in the remarkable Pyongyang Concert he conducted in North Korea in 2008. We recently posted a detailed story and "A+" grade for a magnificent Werther opera title with Jonas Kaufmann and Sophie Koch performed at the Paris Opera Bastille. And while we are in France, check out the story we recently posted on Notre Dame de Paris, the Roland Petit ballet about the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

We recently  went back to 2008 to re-review and add screenshots to a funny (but not silly) Don Giovanni (graded "B+") published by harmonia mundi. We recently reviewed a terrific HDVD of the Shakespeare history play, Richard II (graded "A"). One of our favorites is the Donizetti comic opera Don Pasquale conducted by Riccardo Muti at the Ravenna Festival. It's a perfect mafia opera, and everytime we watch it, it's better than before. We recently updated our review, added screenshots, and bumped the grade up to "A+."

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Wednesday
Jul302014

Poppea // Poppea

Poppea // Poppea dance piece.  Original choreography by Christian Spuck based on Monteverdi's opera L'Incoronazione di Poppea. Music by Martin Donner, Claudio Monteverdi, Robert Schumann, Emiliana Torrini, Cat Power, John Paul von Westhoff, and Geminiani. Performed 2013 by Gauthier Dance, the dance company of Theaterhaus Stuttgart. Stars Eric Gauthier, Anneleen Dedroog, Miriam Gronwald, Anna Harms, Maria Prat Balasch, Rosario Guerra, Florian Lochner, William Moragas, David Valencia Martinez, and Tars Vondebeek. Set design by Emma Ryott; dramaturgy by Dunja Funke. Directed for TV by Nikolai Vialkowitsch at Theaterhaus Stuttgart. Although the back cover says nothing about this, our best information is that this disc will play in 2D or 3D. Initial PR about this title stated that sound is in PCM stereo and 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio. But the back cover says the sound is in stereo only.

This is an avant-gard production with film and spoken elements; it earned a "Der Faust" theater prize in Germany. We stated earlier that 3D is dead in fine-art productions except for ballet and dance, where the benefits can outweigh the trouble involved in producing and watching a 3D show. We hope this disc has surround sound. Normally, we exclude titles with stereo sound only. But we make exceptions for documentaries and dance titles that appear to offer high-quality material otherwise.  Grade: Help!

Please help us by writing a comment that we can place here as a mini-review of this title.

Monday
Jul282014

Don Giovanni

Mozart Don Giovanni opera to libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte. Directed 2011 by Pier Luigi Pizzi at the Sferisterio Opera Festival at Maccerata, Italy. Stars Ildebrando D’Arcangelo, Andrea Concetti, Carmela Remigio, Myrto Papatanasiu, Marlin Miller, Manuela Bisceglie, William Corrò, and Enrico Giuseppe Iori. Riccardo Frizza conducts the Orchestra e Coro del Teatro La Fenice. Released 2014, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: Help!

Please help us by writing a comment that we can place here as a mini-review of this title.

Monday
Jul282014

Don Giovanni

Mozart Don Giovanni opera to libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte.  Directed 2014 by Kasper Holten at the Royal Opera House. Stars Mariusz Kwiecien (Don Giovanni), Alex Esposito (Leporello), Alexander Tsymbalyuk (Commendatore), Malin Byström (Donna Anna), Antonio Poli (Don Ottavio), Véronique Gens (Donna Elvira), Elizabeth Watts (Zerlina), and Dawid Kimberg (Masetto). Nicola Luisotti conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and the Royal Opera Chorus. Set design by Es Devlin. Released 2014, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: Help!

Please help us by writing a comment that we can place here as a mini-review of this title.

Monday
Jul282014

Michael Nyman - Make it Louder, Please!

Michael Nyman - Make it Louder, Please! concert film. The Michael Nyman Band perfroms live at Studio Halle in Germany. Also features Portrait, a documentary film about Nyman by Silvia Beck. Released 2014, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: Help!

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Monday
Jul282014

Giselle

Giselle ballet. Music by Adolphe Adam to libretto by Théophile Gautier and Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges. Choreography by Marius Pepita, Jean Coralli, and Jules Perrot. Directed 2014 by Sir Peter Wright at the Royal Opera House. Stars Natalia Osipova (Giselle), Carlos Acosta (Albrecht), and dancers of the Royal Ballet. Boris Gruzin conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. Released 2014, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: Help!

Please help us by writing a comment that we can place here as a mini-review of this title.

Monday
Jul282014

A Swan Lake

A Swan Lake ballet. Music by Mikael Karlsson. Choreography and scenography by Alexander Ekman at the Oslo Opera House in 2014. Stars dancers of The Norwegian National Ballet. Per Kristian Skalstad conducts The Norwegian National Opera Orchestra. Costumes by Henrik Vibskov. Released 2014, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: Help!

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Monday
Jul282014

Mahler Symphony No. 9

Mahler Symphony No. 9 concert. Riccardo Chailly conducts the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig. Released 2014, disc has dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: Help!

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