Opus Arte

Roman Plays (Royal Shakespeare Company)

The Roman Plays box set has four Shakespeare plays produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company and previously published by Opus Arte. Two of them have already been reported on this website, and you can get more details by using the links provided:

Released 2019, discs have 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound.

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Mayerling

Mayerling ballet. Music by Franz Liszt as arranged and adapted by John Lanchbery. Choreography of Kenneth MacMillan performed 2018 at the Royal Opera House. Stars Steven McRae (Crown Prince Rudolf), Sarah Lamb (Baroness Mary Vetsera), Meghan Grace Hinkis (Princess Stephanie), Gary Avis (Emperor Franz Josef), Kristen McNally (Empress Elisabeth), Laura Morera (Baroness Marie Larisch), Elizabeth McGorian (Baroness Helena Vetsera), James Hay (Bratfisch), Mayara Magri (Mitzi Caspar), Nehemiah Kish (Colonel ‘Bay’ Middleton), Catherine Carby (Katherina Schratt) and other artists of the Royal Ballet. Koen Kessels conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House (Concert Master Vasko Vassilev). Designs by Nicholas Georgiadis; lighting design by John B. Read. Directed for TV by Ross MacGibbon. Released 2019, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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Madama Butterfly

Puccini Madama Butterfly opera to libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica. Directed 2018 by Annilese Miskimmon at Glyndebourne. Stars Olga Busuioc (Cio-Cio San), Joshua Guerrero (Lieutenant B. F. Pinkerton), Michael Sumuel (Sharpless), Carlo Bosi (Goro), and Elizabeth DeShong (Suzuki). Omer Meir Wellber conducts the London Symphony Orchestra (Leader Pieter Schoeman) and the Glyndebourne Chorus (Chorus Master Nicholas Jenkins). Designs by Nicky Shaw; lighting design by Mark Jonathan; movement direction by Kally Lloyd Jones; video design by Ian William Galloway. Directed for TV by François Roussillon; produced by George Bruell. Sung in Italian. Released 2019, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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Vanessa

Samuel Barber Vanessa opera to a libretto by Gian Carlo Menotti. Directed 2018 by Keith Warner at Glyndebourne. Stars Emma Bell (Vanessa), Virginie Verrez (Erika), Edgaras Montvidas (Anatol), Rosalind Plowright (The Old Baroness), Donnie Ray Albert (The Old Doctor), William Thomas (Nicholas), and Romanas Kudriašovas (Footman). Jakub Hrůša conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra (Leader Kevin Lin) and the Glyndebourne Chorus (Chorus Master Nicholas Jenkins). Designs by Ashley Martin-Davis; lighting design by Mark Jonathan; movement direction by Michael Barry; projection design by Alex Uragallo. Directed for TV by François Roussillon; produced by George Bruell. Sung in English. Released 2019, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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Woolf Works

Woolf Works ballet. Original music by Max Richter. Directed and choreographed by Wayne McGregor. Staged 2017 at the Royal Opera House (revival of 2015 production). Stars Gary Avis, Matthew Ball, Federico Bonelli, Alessandra Ferri (special appearance), Francesca Hayward, Paul Kay, Sarah Lamb, Steven McRae, Natalia Osipova, Calvin Richardson, Beatriz Stix-Brunell, Akane Takada, Eric Underwood, and Edward Watson supported by other members of the Royal Ballet and students of the Royal Ballet School (Christopher Powney Artistic Director). Features soprano Anush Hovhannisyan and speaker Gillian Anderson. Koen Kessels conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House (Concert Master Vasko Vassilev). 3 separate works are presented, all related to the writings of Virginia Woolf:

  • I Now, I Then (based on the 1925 novel Mrs Dalloway), designed by Ciguë

  • Becomings (inspired by the 1928 novel Orlando), designed by We Not I [not to be confused with the name of Act 1above]

  • Tuesday (inspired by the 1931 novel The Waves), designed by Wayne McGregor

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Swan Lake

Swan Lake ballet. Music by Tchaikovsky. Book by V.P. Begitchev and Vasily Geltzer. Choreography by Liam Scarlett (assisted by Kristen McGarrity) after Lev Ivanov and Marius Petipa with additonal choreography by Frederick Ashton. Directed 2018 by Liam Scarlett at the Royal Opera House. Stars Marianela Nuñez (Odette/Odile); Vadim Muntagirov (Prince Siegfried); Elizabeth McGorian (The Queen); Bennet Gartside (Von Rothbart); Alexander Campbell (Benno); and Akane Takade and Francesca Hayward (Prince Siegfried’s Younger Sisters). Other dancers in Act I are Tierney Heap, Meagan Grace Hinkis, Fumi Kaneko, Mayara Magri, Matthew Ball, James Hay, Fernando Montaño, and Marcelino Sambé (Waltz and Prolonaise); Artists of The Royal Ballet (Court Ladies, Lieutenants, and Corporals); and Students of The Royal Ballet School (Ladies in Waiting, Servants, Heralds, Guards). Other dancers in Act II are Isabella Gasparini, Elizabeth Harrod, Meaghan Grace Hinkis, and Romany Pajdak (Cygnets); Clare Calvert and Mayara Magri (Two Swans), and Artists of the Royal Ballet (Swans). Other dancers in Act III are Itziar Mendizabal (Spanish Princess); Melissa Hamilton (Hungarian Princess); Yuhui Choe (Italian Princess); Beatriz Stix-Brunell (Polish Princess); Tierney Heap, Reece Clarke, Nicol Edmonds, Kevin Emerton, and Fernando Montaño (Spanish Dance); Romany Pajdak, Tristan Dyer, and Artists of The Royal Ballet (Czárdás); Meaghan Grace Hinkis and Marcelino Sambé (Neopolitan Dance), Nathalie Harrison, William Bracewell, and Artists of The Royal Ballet (Mazurka); Artists of The Royal Ballet (Guests, Ladies in Waiting); and Students of The Royal Ballet School (Servants, Heralds). Other dancers in Act IV are Isabella Gasparini, Elizabeth Harrod, Meaghan Grace Hinkis, and Romany Pajdak (Cygnets); Claire Calvert and Mayara Magri (Two Swans); and Artists of The Royal Ballet (Swans). Koen Kessels conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. (Concert Masters Peter Manning [Black Swan solo] and Ania Safonova [White Swan solo]). Designs by John Macfarlane; lighting design by David Finn. Directed for TV by Ross MacGibbon. Released 2019, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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Saul

Handel Saul opera to libretto by Charles Jennens. Directed 2015 by Barrie Kosky at the Glyndebourne Opera House. Stars Christopher Purves (Saul), Iestyn Davies (David), Lucy Crowe (Merab), Sophie Bevan (Michal), Paul Appleby (Jonathan), Benjamin Hulett (Abner/High Priest/Amalekite/Doeg), and John Graham-Hall (Witch of Endor). Ivor Bolton conducts the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (Leader Alison Bury) and The Glyndebourne Chorus (Chorus Master Jeremy Bines). Designs by Katrin Lea Tag; choreographed by Otto Pichler; lighting by Joachim Klein. Directed for TV by François Roussillon; produced by George Bruell. Released 2016, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: A+

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Manon Ballet

Manon ballet. Music consists of excerpts from the works Jules Massenet arranged and orchestrated by Martin Yates, based on an earlier compilation by Leighton Lucas with the collaboration of Hilda Gaunt. Choreographed by Kenneth MacMillan. Revival staging by Julie Lincoln and Christopher Saunders performed 2018 at the Royal Opera House. Stars Sarah Lamb (Manon), Vadim Muntagirov (Des Grieux), Ryoichi Hirano (Lescaut), Gary Avis (Monsieur G.M.), Itziar Mendizabal (Lescaut’s Mistress), Kristen McNally (Madame), Thomas Whitehead (The Gaoler), James Hay (Beggar Chief), Fumi Kaneko, Beatriz Stix-Brunell, Olivia Cowley, Mayara Magri (Courtesans), Matthew Ball, William Brackwell, Marcelino Sambé (Three Young Gentlemen), Nichol Edmonds, Benjamin Ella, Lukas Bjørneboe Brændsrød, Alastair Marriott, David Yudes (Clients), Jonathan Howells (Old Gentleman), and a multitude of extras played by Artists of the Royal Ballet. Martin Yates conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House (Concert Master Vasko Vassilev). Designs by Nicholas Georgiadis; revival lighting design by John B. Read after William Bundy. Directed for TV by Ross MacGibbon. Released 2019, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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Giselle

Giselle ballet. Modern musical composition and sound design by Vincenzo Lamagna after themes from Adolphe Adam. Directed and choreographed by Akram Khan. Performed 2017 at the Liverpool Empire Theatre. Stars are Tamara Rojo (Giselle); James Streeter (Albrecht); Jeffrey Cirio (Hilarion); Stina Quagebeur (Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis); Begoña Cao (Bathilde); Fabian Reimair (Landlord); and Jung ah Choi, Anjuli Hudson, Maria José Sales, and Adela Ramírez (Giselle’s Friends). Ensemble dancers (Outcasts): Precious Adams, Aitor Arrieta, William Beagley, Francisco Bosch, Georgia Bould, Barry Drummond, Shevelle Dynott, Giorgio Garrett, Jennie Harrington, Amber Hunt, Rina Kanehara, Daniel Kraus, Sarah Kundi, Van Le Ngoc, Laurent Liotardo, Adriana Lizardi, Guilherme Menezes, Ken Saruhashi, Emily Suzuki, Francesca Velicu, Vonnie Vowles, Angela Wood, Erik Woolhouse, and Jia Zhang. Ensemble dancers (Court Couples): Matthew Astley, Claire Bennett, Julia Conway, and William Simmons. Ensemble dancers (Wilis): Precious Adams, Jung ah Choi, Emilie Cadorin, Eireen Evrad, Jennie Harrington, Tiffany Hedman, Anjuli Hudson, Amber Hunt, Maria José Sales, Rina Kanehara, Sarah Kundi, Adriana Lizardi, Alison McWhinney, Francesca Velicu, Connie Vowles, and Angela Wood. Gavin Sutherland directs the English National Ballet Philharmonic (Leader Matthew Scrivener). Visual and costume design by Tim Yip; orchestration by Gavin Sutherland; lighting design by Mark Henderson; dramaturgy by Ruth Little; assistant choreography by Andrej Petrović; rehearsal direction by Mavin Khoo; sound design by Yvonne Gilbert. Directed for TV by Ross MacGibbon; produced by Janie Valentine and Nikki Weston. Released 2019, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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The Frederick Ashton Collection: Volume One

The Frederick Ashton Collection: Volume One Box Set released 2018. Below are the discs. Each of them has already been reported on this website, and you can get more details by using the links provided:

  1. Ashton Celebration (with ballets La Valse, Meditation from Thaïs, Voices of Spring, Monotones I and II, and Marguerite and Armand). Grade: A.

  2. Ashton Rhapsody and The Two Pigeons. Grade: B for Rhapsody, C+ for The Two Pigeons)

  3. Ashton Triple Bill (with ballets Symphonic Variations, Marguerite and Armand, and The Dream). Grade: A for Symphonic Variations; A- for Marguerite and Armand; C+ for Dream.

Total Grade: B+.

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Bernstein Celebration

Bernstein Celebration ballet collection. The Royal Ballet, for the centenary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth, performed a triple bill of ballets set to different pieces by Bernstein. Directed 2018 by Kevin O’Hare. The performances are as follows:

  1. Yugen. Set to Chichester Psalms. Choreographed by Wayne McGregor. Stars Federico Bonelli, William Bracewell, Harry Churches, Melissa Hamilton, Francesca Hayward, Chisato Katsura, Paul Kay, Sarah Lamb, Calvin Richardson, Joseph Sissens, and Akane Takada. Koen Kessels conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House (Co-Concert Master Sergey Levitin; Assistant Concert Master Melissa Carstairs) and Members of the Royal Opera Chorus and Extra Chorus (Chorus Director William Spaulding).

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Lessons in Love and Violence

George Benjamin Lessons in Love and Violence opera to a libretto by Martin Crimp. Directed 2018 by Katie Mitchell (with associate director Joseph Alford) at the Royal Opera House. Stars Stéphane Degout (King), Barbara Hannigan (Isabel), Gyula Orendt (Gaveston/Stranger), Peter Hoare (Mortimer), Samuel Boden (Boy/Young King), Ocean Barrington-Cook (Girl), Jennifer France (Witness 1/Singer 1/Woman 1), Krisztina Szabó (Witness 2/Singer 2/Woman 2), and Andri Björn Róbertsson (Witness 3/Madman). The composer himself conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House (Co-Concert Master Sergey Levitin). Designs by Vicki Mortimer; lighting by James Farncombe; movement direction by Joseph Alford. Directed for TV by Margaret Williams. Released 2019, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade NA

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Ashton Triple Bill

Triple bill of shorter ballets choreographed by Frederick Ashton---each work is quite different and unrelated to the others. All were recorded on the same day in June 2017 at a revival in honor of Ashton. Because the works are so different, we grade each separately:

  • Symphonic Variations. Music by César Franck. Features Marianela Nuñez, Vadim Muntagirov, Yasmine Haghdi, James Hay, Yuhui Choe, and Tristan Dyer. Solo piano by Paul Stobart. Designs by Sophie Fedorovitch; lighting by John B. Read, staging by Wendy Ellis Somes and Malin Thoors.

  • Marguerite and Armand. Music by Franz Liszt. Stars Zenaida Yanowsky (Marguerite), guest Roberto Bolle (Armand), Christopher Saunders (Armand’s father), Gary Avis (Duke), Mica Bradbury (Maid) and the following as admirers of Margarite:

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