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

October 19. I just posted a short review on András Schiff Plays Bach. We are getting again into symphony titles and the existential issue of DVDitis. I just posted stories on a Mahler 4 recorded at the Gewandhaus and an earlier Mahler 2 recorded at the same venue. Both titles are crippled by the dread disease.

I recently put up a story about the 3rd version (!) of the same Giselle production published by Opus Arte. I recently posted a story about the Ekman Midsummer Night's Dream ballet (which has nothing to do with Shakespeare). I also just posted two stories about Shakespeare's The Tempest. The first is a definitive stage play version by the RSC. The second is an updated review of The Tempest movie staring Helen Mirren as Prospera (the female version of Prospero). The movie is streamlined - try it first. Then move on to the RSC "real deal", which is probably the best The Tempest ever made for home viewing.


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Philippe Jaroussky: La voix des rêves

Philippe Jaroussky: La voix des rêves (The voice of dreams) recital disc. This is a compilation of various arias and songs from Phillippe Jaroussky, a leading countertenor. The program is:

1. Vivaldi Giustino "Vedrò con mio diletto"

2. Vivaldi Orlando finto pazzo "Se in ogni guardo"

3. Vivaldi Orlando furioso "Sol da te"

4. Handel Rinaldo "Venti, turbini"

5. Handel Giulio Cesare in Egitto "Son nata a lagrimar"

6. Purcell Come, ye Sons of Art "Sound the trumpet"

7. Handel Alcina "Mi lusinga il dolca affetto"

8. Vivaldi Ercole sul Termodonte "Sento con qual diletto"

9. Handel Alcina "Verdi prati"

10. Handel Ariodante "Scherza, infida"

11. Monteverdi L'incoronazione di Poppea "Pur ti miro"

12. Monteverdi L'incoronazione di Poppea "Adagiati, Poppea"

13. Strozzi "L'Eraclito amoroso"

14.Vivaldi Orlando furioso "Nel profondo cieco mondo"

15. Vivaldi Nisi dominus "Cum dederit dilectis suis somnum"

16. Handel Aminta e Fillide "Se vago rio"

17. Handel Rodelinda "Lo t'abbraccio"

18. Handel Polifemo "Alto Giove"

19. Caldara  L'Olimpiade "Lo seguitai felice"

20. Rossi L'Orfeo "Lasciate Averno"

21. Anon. "Ciaccona di Paradiso e dell'Inferno"

22. Monteverdi "Ohimè ch'io cado"

23. Piazzolla "Los pájaros perdidos"

24. Hahn "À Chloris"

25. Lekev "Sur une tombe"

26. Linda/Salvador "Le lion est mort ce soir"

27. Handel Rinaldo "Lascia ch'io pianga"

28. Massanet "Élégie"

29. Shostakovich Prelude for two violins and piano

30. Monteverdi L'incoronazione di Poppea "Sento un certo non so che"

31. Cavalli Erismena "Uscitemi dal cor, lacrime amare"

32. Strozzi "Sul Rodano severo"

33. Sances "Lagrimosa beltà"

Other individuals and groups that appear in this title are Anne Sofie Von Otter, Nuria Rial, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Pascal Bertin, Jérôme Ducros (piano), Renaud Capuçon (violin), Gautier Capuçon (cello), Quatuor Ebène, Le Concert d'Astrée with Emmanuelle Haïm, Ensemble Matheus with Jean-Christophe Spinosi, L'Arpeggiata with Christina Pluhar, Ensamble Artaserse, Ensamble La Fenice with Jean Tubéry, and Concerto Köln. The Bonus includes interviews with Jaroussky, Jean-Christophe Spinosi, Emmanuelle Haïm, Christina Pluhar, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Jérôme Ducros, Renaud Capuçon, Gautier Capuçon, and Quatuor Ebène.

The music runs 161 minutes + a 30 minute bonus. Gordon Smith watched this and reports that you get your money's worth for sure (and maybe more than you wanted). We have quite a few performances in HDVD of early operas, and these usually have contertenor parts, often originally written for castrati. Most of the countertenors sound strained to me. But even I enjoyed the singing of Jaroussky with Cecilia Bartoli in her Mission recording. Per Gordon, a couple of tracks in La voix des rêves are in SD, but this is a generous true HDVD. Based on Gordon's comments, I'll grade this "A-" and hasten to say that if you are really interested in countertenors, this is an "A+" (and maybe the definitive) recording.  

Released 2012, disc has 5.0 dts-HD Master Audio sound.  Grade: A-.