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 September 13. We just posted 8 new titles---please email us about any typos you see! The new Ariadne auf Naxos from Glyndebourne is splendid and gets an "A+." We also recently posted a review and "D+" grade for the dance title Poppea // Poppea.

Did you know that Cerberus, the monster watch-dog, still lives at this website? He bites any newly published Blu-ray title that's really an imposter (like an upscaled DVD) and sends it to our "excluded" area at the bottom of the Alphalist. Of 9 new Blu-rays to come to our attention on a recent day, Cerberus bit 7! So far,  Cerberus has snagged 87 impostors. So if you are asked to pay prime-steak price for a disc but you think it might be left-over meatloaf, check our excluded list. (Just use a key word or catalog number with your PC "find tool.")

We recently posted a review with screenshots of the Aix-en-Provence Elektra that was getting a lot of good word-of-mouth as to the live show. We think the light-level in the Blu-ray recording is low, and we gave it a "B" grade. Opus Arte will be selling a Mozart Opera Box with Le Nozze di Figaro, Die Zauberflöte, and Don Giovanni, all from the Royal Opera House, at, it appears, a true bargain price. 

We have the best reviews anywhere of ballet and dance HDVDs. So we recently posted a "hit-parade" story boasting of this.

__________________________________________________________________

Saturday
Sep132014

Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5

2014 Europakonzert.  Daniel Barenboim conducted the Berliner Philharmoniker this year in its traditional "Europakonzert" on May 1 celebrating the founding of the orchestra on May Day.  Normally, this event occurs in a different European city in a beautiful venue of historical significance. But this time the Europakonzert was done at home in the orchestra's own Philharmonie, which is 50 years old this year. The Philharmonie is not a beautiful building. But the Berliners love it madly for its strange yellow color,  bizarre exterior lines, tacky facade, and (everyone agrees) superb interior acoustics and sight lines. Here's the program:

1. Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5

2. Otto Nicolai, Overture to The Merry Wives of Windsor

3. Edward Elgar, Falstaff  (a symphonic study)

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.

Saturday
Sep132014

Rusalka

Dvořák Rusalka opera to libretto by Jaroslav Kvapil. Directed 2012 by Stefan Herheim at De Munt/La Monnaie in Brussels.  Stars Myrtò Papatanasiu (Rusalka), Pavel Černoch (Prince), Annalena Persson (Foreign Princess), Willard White (Vodnik, the Water Goblin), Renée Morlo (Jezibaba), Ekaterina Isachenko, YoungHee Kim [or Young Hee Kim], Nona Javkhidze (3 Wood Nymphs), Julian Hubbard (Hunter and Priest), André Grégoire (Butcher), and Marc Coulon (Policeman). Adam Fischer conducts La Monnaie Symphony Orcestra and Chorus (Chorus Master Richard Lewis).  Sets by Heike Scheele; costumes by Gesine Völlm; lighting by Wolfgang Göbbel; videos by Fettfilm Berlin; dramaturgy by Wolfgang Willaschek. Sung in Czech and released 2014, disc has has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: Help!

This is a revival of Herheim's 2008 premiere Rusalka production. It appears to be a colorful, modern, surreal telling of the story with intellectual challenges for the audience.

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

Saturday
Sep132014

A Nutcracker

A Nutcracker ballet. Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Yvan Talbot. Created by the French choreographer Bouba Landrille Tchouda and performed by his Hip Hop dancers of Compagnie Malka. Released 2014, disc has stereo sound. Grade: Help!

This is our wildest HDVD adventure yet into the astonishingly fragmented and virile agar disk of contemporary dance.

Do you know about Hip Hop? Please help us by writing a comment that we can place here as a mini-review of this title.

Saturday
Sep132014

Beethoven Complete String Quartets

 

Beethoven Complete String Quartets. All 16 (Große Fuge not counted separately) of the string quartets performed 2012 over 12 days by the Belcea Quartet at the Wiener Konzerthaus. Quartet members were Corina Belcea, violin; Axel Schacher, violin; Krzystof Chorzelszki, viola; and Antoine Lederlin, cello. 4-disc set has a 47-minute documentary "On the Paths of the Beetheven String Quartets." Directed by Frédéric Delesques. Disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound.  Grade: Help!

Wow, the real thing! This could be the acid test for the proposition that high-definition video always improves the recording of a classical musical performance. This runs for almost 9 hours. I plan to watch this over a weekend with reasonable breaks. I haven't listened to a Beethoven string quartet in 40 years. Will this be exhilarating or exhausting?

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

Saturday
Sep132014

The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker ballet. Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky to libretto by Marius Petipa. Choreographed and directed by Rudolf Nureyev. Performed 2012 at the Wiener Staatsoper. Stars Liudmila Konovalova (Clara), Vladimir Shishov (Drosselmeyer/The Prince), Emilia Baranowicz (Luisa), Davide Dato (Fritz), Franziska Wallner-Hollinek and Gabor Oberegger (The Parents/Russian Dance), Eva Polacek and Christoph Wenzel (The Grandparents/Arabian Dance), Atilla Bakó and Martin Winter (The Rat King), Trevor Hayden (Little Nutcracker), Alena Klochkova and Prisca Zeisel (Two Snowflakes), Ketevan Papava and Eno Peci (Arabian Dance), Marcin Dempc, András Lukács, and Richard Szasbó (Chinese Dance), Ioanna Avraam, Kiyoka Hashimoto, and Masayu Kimoto (Pastorale), and dancers of the Wiener Staatsballett (Ballet director Manuel Legris). Paul Connelly conducts the Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper. Set and costume design by Nicholas Georgiadis; staging by Aleth Francillon and Manuel Legris; staging for children scenes by Nathalie Aubin; lighting design by Jacques Giovanangeli. Video directed by Michael Beyer. Released 2014, disc has 5.0 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: Help!

It's hard now to invent a better HDVD nutcracker; but if such a thing is possible, maybe this is it!

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

Saturday
Sep132014

Menahem Pressler - Paavo Järvi Concert

Menahem Pressler - Paavo Järvi Concert. Paavo Järvi conducts the Orchestre de Paris with solo pianist Menahem Pressler. They perform Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23, Rondo in A Minor, Piano Concerto No. 27; and Debussy's Clair de lune. Released 2014, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: Help!

Menahem Pressler celebrated his 90th birthday by making this recording. He published a solo recital two years ago that we didn't like very much, partly because he resorted to reading sheet music. Let's hope he plays by heart this time!

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

Saturday
Sep132014

Mefistofele

 Arrigo Boito Mefistofele opera to a libretto by the author. Revival directed 2013 by Laurie Feldman (after Robert Carsen) at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco. Stars Ildar Abdrazakov (Mefistofele), Ramón Vargas (Faust), Patricia Racette (Margherita/Elena), Erin Johnson (Marta), Renée Rapier (Pantalis),  and Chuanyue Wang (Wagner and Rereo). Nicola Luisotti conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, Chorus and Dance Corps (Chorus Director Ian Robertson). Designed by Michael Levine; lighting design by Gary Marder (based on lighting design by Duane Schuler); choreography by Alphonse Poulin; video direction by Frank Zamacona; produced by Jessica Koplos and Matthew Shilvock; executive producer was David Gockley. 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.

Page 1 2 3 4 5 ... 104