This month’s new audiovisual releases include a superb production of Puccini’s opera Tosca, the first in Dutch National Opera’s short Puccini cycle featuring renowned director Barrie Kosky, with Turandot to follow next season and Il trittico in 2024. Also from the world of opera we have an acclaimed production of Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos under the musical direction of award-winning conductor Daniele Gatti.
From the world of drama there’s the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of The Bard’s Richard III, a tyrannical tale full of jealousy, manipulation and deceit, together with a magnificent collection 26 Globe Theatre productions featuring the finest actors and leading directors in an array of Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories and Tragedies, plus Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus.
Tosca is a melodrama of love, betrayal and death set in the revolutionary unrest of 1800. The story concerns the opera singer Floria Tosca who tries to save her lover, the painter Mario Cavaradossi, from the brutal chief of police, Scarpia. Through-composed and expertly orchestrated it contains some of Puccini’s best-known lyrical arias and remains one of his most performed operas. In this 2022 production, an eminent cast is directed by the acclaimed Australian director Barrie Kosky – ‘the Amsterdam audience was completely swept off its feet by Kosky’s stunning production’ (Opera News).
Also available in Blu-ray Video (NBD0166V)
Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos is one of the early 20th century’s most peculiar operatic works. Its narrative derives from the famous myth of Ariadne, who is abandoned by Theseus on the island of Naxos and eventually falls in love with the god Bacchus. This opera is, however, preceded by an extensive modern prologue in which a young composer finds himself tortured by egotistical artists complicating preparations for the opera’s production in an eternal struggle between comedy and high art. Set in the beautiful Teatro della Pergola in Florence, Matthias Hartmann’s 2022 production was a triumphant success both for its soloists and conductor Daniele Gatti in his first season as musical director at the Maggio Musicale Foundation.
‘Conscience is but a word that cowards use.’
Young Richard of Gloucester uses the chaos of the Wars of the Roses to begin his unscrupulous climb to power. Despite being manifestly unfit to govern, he seizes the crown as King Richard III. But how does he do it?
How do we let tyrants get away with it? How do they find their way to power? Why do we buy into it? And how can it be stopped? Richard III is a savagely comic analysis of the exercise of power. It reminds us both of the dangers of tyranny and of our duty not to let it go unchecked.
Directed by Gregory Doran and featuring Arthur Hughes as Richard, this is the thrilling climax to Shakespeare’s first great history cycle.
An invitation to stand with kings in battle, to fall in love, to witness the brutal machinations of politics, and to laugh with rogues in this 27-disc collection.
Shakespeare’s Globe, the reconstruction of his most famous London theatre, is at the centre of the astonishing global fascination with Britain’s greatest playwright. Completed in 1997, it is a living theatrical experiment that has allowed audiences to experience the impact of Shakespeare’s stories in the architecture for which he wrote; the result has been a rediscovery of the plays in all their human richness.
This collection brings together 26 Globe Theatre productions from 2009 to 2018, featuring the finest actors and leading directors in a project committed to creating ever wider access to this rich cultural heritage. Shakespeare’s comedies, histories and tragedies contain dazzling poetry, romance, epic power struggles, human suffering and ingenious, raucous humour.
These films capture the unique atmosphere and theatrical space of the Globe Theatre, with the exhilarating sense of interaction in live performances between the audience and the actors on stage exquisitely maintained on screen.