Here's news about high-definition video disc ("HDVD") recordings of opera, ballet, classical music, plays, performance art, and paintings. We've got hard-to-find critical reports on hundreds of HDVDs. Pick the best titles for your excelsisphere.
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We've just completed one of our most ambitious reviews: Einstein on the Beachopera, the surreal 4 and 1/2 hour cult legend. Kudos to Opus Arte for giving us this authoritative and weirdly fascinating recording, which we grade A+. Absorbing Einstein is uniquely challenging. We try to help out by providing aids not included in the keepcase materials: an accurate libretto and a list of segments in the opera with Opus Arte time stamps.
Einstein on the Beach opera or performance art piece performed January 6-7, 2014 at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. Music by Philip Glass. Directed for stage by Robert Wilson. Choreography by Lucinda Childs. Random number and solfège lyrics called for by the composer. Actual texts used were from Christopher Knowles (a neurologically impaired teenager and poet whom Wilson helped as special ed teacher), Samuel M. Johnson (an elderly black performer who was a friend of Wilson), and choreographer Lucinda Childs (who contributed the monologue "I was in this prematurely air-conditioned supermarket"). Released 2016, title has 2 Blu-ray discs with 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio surround sound. Grade: A+ with ‽ designation.
Bizet Les pêcheurs de perles(The Pearl Fishers) opera to libretto by Eugène Cormon and Michel Carré. Directed 2016 by Penny Woolcock (based on a 2010 English National Opera production). Stars Mariusz Kwiecien (Zurga), Matthew Polenzani (Nadir), Diana Damrau (Leïla), and Nicolas Testé (Nourabad). Gianandrea Noseda conducts the The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus (Chorus Master Donald Palumbo). Sets by Dick Bird with assistance of Scott Laule; costumes by Kevin Pollard; lighting by Jen Schriever; projection designs by 59 Productions; movement direction by Andrew Dawson; fight direction by J. Allen Suddeth; music production by Jay David Saks; directed for TV by Matthew Diamond. Released 2017, disc has 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio. Grade: A
Bizet Les pêcheurs de perles opera to libretto by Eugène Cormon and Michel Carré. Directed 2012 by Fabio Sparvoli at the Teatro di San Carlo. Stars Patrizia Ciofi (Léïla, a priestess), Dmitry Korchak (Nadir, a hunter), Dario Solari (Zurga, elected chief of the pearl fishers), and Roberto Tagliavini (Nourabad, the high priest). Gabriele Ferro conducts the Orchestra, Chorus, and Ballet Corps of the Teatro di San Carlo (Chorus Master Salvatori Caputo). Sets by Giorgio Richelli; costume design by Alessandra Torella; lighting design by Vinicio Cheli; choreography by Annarita Pasculli with Ballet Director Alessandra Panzavolta. Directed for TV by Davide Mancini with high-definition editing by Tiziano Mancini and Mauro Santini. Produced by Thomas Hieber. Released 2014, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: B-
Ingmar Bergman –Through the Choreographer's Eye dance film made in 2016 by the Swedish Hammars Drama Productions. Features four dance pieces inspired by the films of Ingmar Bergman and filmed on the Swedish island of Fårö, Bergman's home. Released 2018, disc has 2.0 PCM stereo sound. Grade: NA
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov Le coq d’or opera to a libretto by Vladimir Belsky. Directed 2016 by Laurent Pelly at la Monnaie, Brussels. Stars Pavlo Hunka (Tzar Dodon), Alexey Dolgov (Tzarevich Guidon), Konstantin Shushakov (Tzarevich Afron), Alexander Vassiliev (General Polkan), Agnes Zwierko (Amelfa), Alexander Kravets (Astrologer), Venera Gimadieva (Tzaritza of Shemakha), and Sheva Tehoval (Little Golden Cockerel). Alain Altinoglu conducts La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and La Monnaie Chorus Academy led by Benoît Giaux (Chorus Master Martino Faggiani). Set design by Barbara de Limburg; costume design by Laurent Pelly; collaboration costumes by Jean-Jacques Delmotte; lighting by Joël Adam; choreography by Lionel Hoche. Released in 2018. Grade: NA
Barenboim at the Proms concert. Daniel Barenboim conducts the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra at the BBC Proms in 2016. Features pianist Martha Argerich. Released 2018, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA
Don Quixote ballet. Music by Ludwig Minkus arranged by John Lanchbery. Choreographed by Rudolf Nureyev after Marius Petipa. Staged 2016 by Manuel Legris at the Wiener Staatsballett. Stars Maria Yakovleva (Kitri/Dulcinea), Denys Cherevychko (Basilio), Ketevan Papava (A Street Dancer), Roman Lazik (Espada), Olga Esina (The Queen of the Dryads), Kiyoka Hashimoto (Amor), Kamil Pavelka (Don Quixtoe), Christoph Wenzel (Sancho Panza), Gabor Oberregger (Lorenzo), Andrey Kaydanovskiy (Gamache), Alice Firenze, Nina Tonoli (Kitri's friends), Igor Milos, Beata Wiedner (Two aged Gypsies), Mihail Sosnovschi, Rebecca Horner, Erika Kováčová (Gypsies), Gala Jovanovic, Oxana Kiyanenko, and Laura Nistor (Three Dryads), Natascha Mair (First Bridesmaid), plus Marat Bavletshin and Keata Wiedner (Caregivers). Kevin Rhodes conducts the Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper. Set and costume design by Nicholas Georgiadis; lighting design by Marc Anrochte; video directed by Michael Beyer. Released 2017, disc has 5.0 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: A-
Bruckner Symphony No. 3 (the "Wagner Symphony"). Christian Thielemann conducts the Dresden Staatskapelle at the Philharmonie Munich in 2016. Video director was Elizabeth Malzer. Released 2017 disc has 5.0 dts-HD Master Audio sound output. Grade:F+