, November 2009
Emily Magee is vocally credible, and basically carries the show with a remarkably shaded interpretation…Christoph von Dohnányi may be close to the ideal conductor for Ariadne, and the Zürich orchestra plays with admirable style and precision. The standard DVD was technically outstanding, with gorgeous colors and razor sharp visual images, so it was questionable whether Blu-ray would add anything significant. The answer to that question is a resounding yes. The colors are, if anything, more deeply saturated, and the visual images are even sharper. Most important, there is a remarkable, almost three-dimensional depth that is missing in the standard DVD version. The frequent close-ups of Magee (as Ariadne) sitting at a Zürich restaurant table in the opera within an opera present her makeup and every fine strand of her red hair in such exquisite detail that it may be unsettling for some viewers, but Magee’s acting is so good that the total effect is quite stunning. I wasn’t convinced over the merits of this production on standard DVD, but the technical perfection of this Blu-ray Disc succeeds in bringing the performance’s considerable musical merits and the production itself together to great dramatic effect. The improved sound is also crucial for Strauss’s finely nuanced orchestration. By all means, go for the Blu-ray.