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 11.  Finally we have a good grade (A-) to brag about for the new Don Quixote from the Vienna State Ballet.  Recently we posted a F+ grade for the new C Major Bruckner Symphony 3 and an F- grade for that C Major Mahler S1-10 Box performed by the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra. How can a major publishing house turn out something that gets an F-?

We recently posted more than you wanted to know about that Brahms Cycle Box from Belvedere. Now you can buy the 3 discs in the box independently. We bunched the 4 different deals together near the top of the Journal.

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

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Entries in Fox (1)

Wednesday
Sep142011

Romeo and Juliet  

Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet play in movie version directed by Baz Luhrmann. The film originally came out in 1996; this HDVD was released in 2010. Stars Leonoardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes, Brian Dennehy, John Leguizamo, Pete Postlethwaite, Paul Sorvino, and Diane Venora. This is the version sold in the United States. The English soundtrack is in 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. There are numerous movie-style extras like audio commentary by the director. Title also has dubbed soundtracks in Spanish (5.1 Dolby Digital), Portuguese (5.1 Dolby Digital), and French (5.1 Dolby Stereo). Finally there are subtitles in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, and Norwegian. Fox has published this title in different versions for sale in England, Germany, France, Italy, and Spanish-speaking countries, some with an astonishing array of subtitles. For example, as best we can tell without importing the disc, the French language version has subtitles in French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish, Czech, Arabic, Chinese, Polish, Romanian, English, Russian, Serbian, and Slovak!   Grade: C

Baz Luhrmann directed a highly-respected, mildly-updated movie version of La Bohème that showed for years on public television stations in the United States. So we had to at least try his hispanic-gang-war movie based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet play. Worse flicks have been made. I watched it twice and found quite a bit of it amusing. And except for popular music added with actual lyrics, I think all the words are pretty much straight out of Shakespeare's text---except that is---for the cuts, which are wholesale and ubiquitous. I didn't have the energy to start counting, but I roughly estimate that only, say, 15% of Shakespeare's text is in the script. By cherry-picking the easy lines and dropping almost all of the hard stuff, the language of the characters, while impossibly eloquent, no longer sounds 400 years old and has a kind of strange charm. But is this a fine-art show, or literature, or Shakespeare?   Should I exclude this for lack of content?  The picture and sound are fine.  Fox probably has done just about everything reasonably possible to make this accessible to a large international audience. So you, dear reader, have to decide if it's art. But I've done my due diligence, so you can't sue me. I'll give this a C.