Titles by Category

Here's news about high-definition video disc ("HDVD") recordings of opera, ballet, classical music, plays, fine-art documentaries, and paintings. In the journal below are independent (and hard-to-find critical) reports on hundreds of HDVDs. Pick the best titles for your excelsisphere.

Feb 24.  Finally we have some good grades with an A for the recent Met The Pearl Fishers (Les pêcheurs de perles) and a B- for an earlier The Pearl Fishers from Naples. Also, we recently gave an A- for the new Don Quixote from the Vienna State Ballet

We just updated our manifesto about the best ballet and dance videos.

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Entries in Dynamic (25)

Wednesday
Dec272017

Fedora

Umberto Giordano Fedora opera to a libretto by Arturo Colautti. Directed by Rosetta Cucchi at the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genova (assistant director Stefania Panighini). Stars Daniela Dessì (Fedora), Fabio Armiliato (Loris), Alfonso Antoniozzi (De Siriex), Daria Kovalenko (Olga), Margherita Rotondi (Dimitri), Manuel Pierattelli (Desirè), Alessandro Fantoni (Baron Rouvel), Luigi Roni (Cirillo), Claudio Ottino (Boroff), Roberto Maietta (Gretch), Davide Mura (Lorek), Sirio Restani (Lazinski), and Sebastiano Carbone (Peasant Boy). Valerio Galli conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Carlo Felice Theatre (Chorus Master Patrizia Priarone). Set design by Tiziano Santi; light design by Luciano Novelli, costume design by Claudia Pernigotti. Video Director was Matteo Ricchetti. Released 2017, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: Help!

In Memoriam:  the esteemed soprano Daniela Dessì died on March 20, 2016. Opera News (August 21, 2016) called her "the most versatile Italian soprano of her generation." Her long-time partner in life and on the stage, Fabio Armiliato, delivered her eulogy and sang at her funeral. Dessì was born in Genova. This title was filmed in Genova in March 2015, apparently before her illness was evident, at the Teatro Carlo Felice.  It appears this will be the last Blu-ray disk that will appear with Dessì and Armiliato singing together. We have Dessì on several other Blu-rays, the most remarkable of which is her Tosca with Armiliato as Cavaradossi. This version of Tosca always sticks in my mind as the epitome of Italian opera.

Here is an official clip from Dynamic:

Thursday
Sep282017

L'incoronazione di Dario

Vivaldi L'incoronazione di Dario opera to a libretto by Adriano Morselli. Directed by Leo Muscato at the Teatro Regio Torino. Stars Carlo Allemano (Dario), Sara Mingardo (Statira), Delphine Galou (Argene), Riccardo Novaro (Niceno), Roberta Mameli (Alinda), Lucia Cirillo (Oronte), Veronica Cangemi (Arpago), Romina Tomasoni (Flora), and Cullen Gandy (Ombra di Ciro/Oracolo di Apollo). Ottavio Dantone conducts the Orchestra Teatro Regio Torino and plays harpischord. Sets and costumes by Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti di Torino; choreographic movements and assitance to director by Alessandra di Angelis; light design by Alessandro Verazzi; techincal direction by Paolo Giacchero; video direction by Mattero Ricchetti and Adriano Figari. Released 2017, 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.

Wednesday
Sep062017

Norma

Bellini Norma opera to libretto by Felice Romani. Directed at the Arena Sferisterio in 2016 by Luigi Di Gangi and Ugo Giacomazzi (with assistant Luca Mazzei) as part of the Macerata Opera Festival. Stars Rubens Pelizzari (Pollione), Nicola Ulivieri (Oroveso), Maria José Siri (Norma), Sonia Ganassi (Adalgisa), Rosanna Lo Greco (Clotilde), and Manuel Pierattelli (Flavio). Michele Gamba conducts the Fondazione Orchestra Regionale delle Marache, the Coro Lirico Marchigiana "Vincenzo Bellini" (Chorus Master Carlo Morganti), and the Complesso di palcoscenico Banda "Salvadei" (stage band). Set design by Federica Parolini (with assistant Eleonora De Leo); costume design by Daniela Cernigliaro (with assistant Agnese Rabatti); lighting design by Luigi Biondi.  Directed for TV by Tiziano Mancini. Released 2017, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: Help!

Here's the official Dynamic trailer:

(I think we have the correct artwork now. At first, Dynamic showed the same artwork on both the front and back of the keepcase.)

Wednesday
Jul052017

Il trovatore

Verdi Il Trovatore opera to a libretto by Salvadore Cammarano and Leone Emanuele Bardare. Directed 2016 by Francesco Negrin at the Sferisterio Theatre as part of the Macerata Opera Festival. Stars Marco Caria (Il Conte di Luna), Anna Pirozzi (Leonora), Enkelejda Shkosa (Azucena), Piero Pretti (Manrico), and Alessandro Spina (Ferrando). Daniel Oren conducts the Fondazione Orchestra Regionale delle Marche, the Coro Lirico, Marchigiano "Vincenzo Bellini" (chorus master Carlo Morganti), and the Complesso di palcoscenio Banda "Salvadei." Sets and costume design by Louis Désiré; light designs by Bruno Poet. Released 2017, disc has 5.1 HD Master Audio sound. Grade: Help!

This is a hard opera to stage on a huge stage outdoors. Hugo Shirley, writing in the October 2017 Gramophone (pages 100-101), condemns this recording to the purgatory of "a respectable achievement."

Here's an official trailer:

Monday
Jun052017

Don Carlo 

Verdi Don Carlo opera to a 4-act libretto by Joseph Méry and Camille du Locle. Directed 2016 by Cesare Lievi as part of the Verdi Festival, Teatro Regio di Parma. Stars Michele Pertusi (Philip II, King of Spain), José Bros (Don Carlo, Infante of Spain), Vladimir Stoyanov (Rodrigo, Marchese di Posa), Ievghen Orlov (Grand Inquisitor), Serena Farnocchia (Elisabetta di Valois), Marianne Cornetti (Princess Eboli), Lavinia Bini (Tebaldo, Elisabetta’s Page), Gregory Bonfatti (Conte di Lerma), and Marina Bucciarelli (Celestial Voice). Daniel Oren conducts the Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini and the Chorus of the Teatro Regio di Parma (Chorus Master Martino Faggini). Sets and costumes designed by Maurizio Balò; lighting by Andrea Borelli. Released 2017, disc has 5.1 dts HD Master Audio sound. Grade: Help!

Hugo Shirley, writing in the October 2017 Gramophone (pages 100-101), condemns this recording to the limbo of "a solid performance" offering evidence that the Parma festival, "which seemed to be in trouble a few years ago, might be back on an even keel."

Here is the official YouTube clip:

Thursday
May252017

Rosmonda d'Inghilterra

Donizetti Rosmonda d'Inghilterra opera to libretto by Felice Romani. Directed 2016 by Paolo Rota [named apparently misspelled "Paola" on back cover above] at the Teatrto Donizetti in Bergamo. Stars Jessica Pratt (Rosmonda), Eva Mei (Leonora), Dario Schmunck (Enrico), Nicola Ulivieri (Clifford), and Raffaella Lupinacci (Arturo). Sebastiano Rolli conducts the Orchestra Donizetti Opera. Set and lighting design by Nicolas Bovey; costumes by Massimo Cantini Parrini; assistant direction by Irene Petris; assistent costume design by Jessica Zambelli; video direction by Matteo Ricchetti. Released 2017, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: Help!

Another lost treasure is being unearthed by the folks at the Donizetti Foundation and the Dynamic label. Subject title is the only video of Rosmonda. So this is a big deal for lovers of Donizetti and bel canto.  It helps the treasure hunters a lot to have HDVD presentation of new productions of almost-forgotten works.

This was reviewed by Mark Pullinger on page 104 of the September 2017 Gramophone. Because of what Pullinger considers "rudimentary production values", he still prefers an Opera Rara CD of this with Renée Fleming. The Fleming disc is the only CD available of this. So your choice now would be between 2 titles, one in CD and the other in Blu-ray.

 

Wednesday
Apr052017

Otello

Verdi Otello opera to libretto by Arrigo Boito. Directed 2015 by Paco Azorin at the Arena Sferisterio di Macerata, Italy. Stars Stuart Neill (Otello), Jessica Nuccio (Desdemona), Roberto Frontali (Jago), Tamta Tarieli (Emilia), Manuel Pierattelli (Roderigo), Seung Pil Choi (Lodovico), Giacomo Medici (Montano), and Franco Di Girolamo (A Herald). Riccardo Frizza conducts (1) the Fondazione Orchestra Regionale delle Marche, (2) the Coro Lirico Marchigiano "Vincenzo Bellini" (Chorus Master Carlo Morganti), (3)the Zpueri Cantores "D. Zamberletti" (Chorus Master Gian Luca Paolucci), and (4) the Complesso di Palcoscenico Banda "Salvadei." Sets by Paco Azorin; costumes by Ana Garay; lighting by Albert Faura; movement and fight scenes by Carlos Martos; videos by Pedro Chamizo. Directed for TV by Tiziano Mancini. Released 2017, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: Help!

Please help us by writing a comment or mini-review of this title.

Hugo Shirley, writing in the July 2017 Gramophone (page 88), picks minor faults with the principal singers, but also admires the production for "admirable straightforwardness." I usually don't expect much from outdoor opera productions. But here's a nice clip that suggests Sferisterio and Dynamic may have another winner here:

Thursday
Mar022017

Olivo e Pasquale

Donizetti Olivo e Pasquale opera to a libretto by Jacopo Ferretti. 1827 Neapolitan Version revised by Maria Chiara Bertieri for the Donizetti Foundation. Directed 2016 by Ugo Giacomazzi and Luigi Di Gangi of operAlchemica. Stars Bruno Taddia (Olivo), Filippo Morace (Pasquale), Laura Giordano (Isabella), Pietro Adaini (Camillo), Matteo Macchioni (Le Bross), Edoardo Milletti (Columella), Silvia Beltrami (Matilde), and Giovanni Romeo (Diego). Federico Maria Sardelli conducts the Orchestra dell'Accademia Teatro alla Scala and the Coro Donizetti Opera (Chorus Master Fabio Tartari). Set and costume design by Sara Sarzi Sartori, Daniela Bertuzzi, and Arianna Delgado; light design by Luigi Biondi; video direction by Matteo Riccheti. Released 2017, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: Help!

According to Wikipedia, the Teatro alla Scala "has an associate school, known as the La Scala Theatre Academy (Italian: Accademia Teatro alla Scala), which offers professional training in music, dance, stage craft and stage management." This is the operation that worked with The Donizetti Foundation to write and produce a new and improved Olivo e Pasquale. I note the cast includes Laura Giordano, whom I several times called the most beautiful woman in opera to look at. Mark Pullinger, writing in the June 2017 Gramophone at pages 91-92, praises her singing stating, "Only sweet-toned Laura Giordano, as Isabella, puts in the sort of performance to stand up to repeated listening."

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

If my daughter saw this clip, she would call it a "hot mess":

Thursday
Feb162017

Francesca da Rimini

Saverio Mercadante Francesca da Rimini opera to libretto by Felice Romani. Directed 2016 by Pier Luigi Pizzi at the Palazzo Ducale as part of the Festival della Valle d'Itria, Martina Franca, Italy. Stars Leonor Bonilla (Francesca), Aya Wakizono (Paolo), Merto Süngü (Lanciotto), Antonio Di Matteo (Guido), Larisa Martinez (Isaura) and Ivan Ayon Rivas (Guelfo). Fabio Luisi conducts the Orchestra Internazionale d’Italia and the Chorus of the Transylvania State and Philharmonic Orchestra of Cluj-Napoca (Chorus Master Cornel Groza). Set and costumes by Pier Luigi Pizzi; choreography by Gheorghe Iancu; first ballerina was Letizia Giuliani; video direction by Matteo Ricchetti. Released 2017, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: Help!

Saverio Mercadante was a popular opera composer in the bel canto era. This is a world première staging of a work he composed in 1831 and which was then forgotten. Richard Lawrence, writing in the May 2017 Gramophone at page 95 says, "The solo singing is stupendous. Merto Sergu is thrilling, Leonor Bonilla sings with bell-like clarity, with good coloratura and trills, and the Japanese Aya Wakizono is a mezzo in a thousand. If you want to hear bel canto magnificently performed by singers you have probably never heard of, go out and buy the disc right now." Lawrence saw this in DVD---poor guy appears not to have a Blu-ray player and display. 

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

Here's a nice official clip from Dynamic:

Wednesday
Dec282016

Armida

Rossini Armida opera to libretto by Giovanni Schmidt. Directed 2015 by Mariame Clément at the Vaanderen Opera House. Stars Carmen Romeu (Armida), Enea Scala (Rinaldo), Robert McPherson (Gernando/Ubaldo), Dario Schmunck (Goffredo/Carlo), Lenoard Bernad (Idraote/Astarotte), and Adam Smith (Eustazio). Alberto Zedda conducts the Vaanderen Opera House Symphony Orchestra and Opera Chorus (Chorus Master Jan Schweiger). Set and costume design by Julia Hansen; lighting by Bernd Purkrabek; directed for video by Jan Bosteels. Released 2017, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: Help!

Richard Osborne, writing in the April 2017 Gramophone at page 115 praises the singers, but lambasts the "silly" and "insipid" production with weak sets and costumes. If you saw this live or have seen the video, please give us your opinion!

Here's an official YouTube clip:

 

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