Opera & Ballet – The Blu-ray Experience (2008)

by | Nov 26, 2008 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Opera & Ballet – The Blu-ray Experience (2008)

Blu-ray sampler
Studio: Opus Arte [Distr. by Naxos]
Video: 16:9 color 1080i HD
Audio: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1, DD TrueHD 5.1, PCM 2.0/48K
Length: 50 minutes
Rating: *****

This is a sampler intended to introduce the appeal of Blu-ray’s 1080p hi-res picture and lossless hi-res surround sound to viewers of opera and ballet on DVD.  The OpusArte producers have chosen some excellent examples, which are mostly complete in themselves – not just a quick fade in and fade out. Here is the program:

Verdi – Il trovatore: Gypsy chorus (Royal Opera House)
Tchaikovsky – Swan Lake: Entrance of Swans (Act 2) (Paris Opera Ballet)
Mozart – The Magic Flute: Aria – Queen of the Night (Act 2) (Royal Opera House)
Puccini – La Bohème: Che gelida manina! (Your tiny hand is frozen!) (Teatro Real)
Bizet – Carmen: Habanera (Glyndebourne)
Mendelssohn – A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Divertissement (Act 2) (Pacific Northwest Ballet)
Puccini – Gianni Schicchi: O mio babbino caro (Glyndebourne)
J. Strauss – Die Fledermaus: Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka (Glyndebourne)
Rameau – Zoroastre: Entr’ acte: Ouverture / À mes tristes regards (Act 2 / Scene I) (Drottningholm Theatre)
Rossini – La Cenerentola: Signora Altezza (Act 1) (Glyndebourne)
Bellini – Norma: Casta Diva (De Nederlandse Opera)
Balanchine – Jewels: Emeralds – Final (Paris Opera Ballet)
Cecilia & Bryn at Glyndebourne – Mozart – Die Zauberflöte: `Pa-pa-pa-pa’ (duet) (Glyndebourne)

Being able to see the fine details in the costumes and sets of the operas and all the many dancers on the stage in long shots makes such concert experiences much more exciting.  The effect is similar to the positive reactions of the audiences across the country who have been flocking to the hi-def theater presentations of the Met opera.  When accompanied by the excellent surround sound a truly immersive experience is provided that greatly heightens viewers’ interest in the programs.  I’ve never seen such a threatening as well as thrilling performance by the Queen of the Night as the excerpt from The Magic Flute in the program.  The duet between Cecilia Bartoli and Bryn Terfel of Pa-pa-pa-pa is another Magic Flute gem which closes the program. I found myself definitely intrigued to view the complete opera Carmen on OpusArte after seeing the Habanera performed by Anne Sofie von Otter – surely the sexiest Carmen ever portrayed, and a terrific voice too. The ballet segments chosen didn’t seem quite as exciting or interesting as the opera selections.

 – John Sunier

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