Naxos Audiovisual Division February 2024

This month’s audiovisual releases from the world of opera comprise three works from very different wellsprings. The world premiere video recording of Donizetti's Chiara e Serafina, an entertaining tale of pirates, lovers, disguises, deceit and peril in 17th-century Majorca, contrasts with the epic mythical setting for Wagner’s Das Rheingold in an innovative new production by Stefan Herheim, while director Christoph Loy has produced a chamber opera of striking beauty and intensity built on songs and chamber music by Tchaikovsky. Finally, from the Royal Ballet we have a 3-disc box set showcasing award-winning contemporary productions by choreographer Christopher Wheeldon.

2.110740 [DVD]

Richard WAGNER (1813–1883)
Das Rheingold

Annika Schlicht, Mezzo-soprano • Thomas Blondelle, Tenor
Markus Brück, Baritone • Derek Welton, Bass-baritone
Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin
Sir Donald Runnicles, Conductor
Stefan Herheim, Stage director

As early as 1851, Wagner wrote, ‘I propose to produce my myth in three complete dramas, preceded by a lengthy Prelude.’ The Prelude was Das Rheingold (The Rhine Gold) the preliminary evening of Wagner’s epic tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung), which received its first complete performance in 1876. The unfolding events of Das Rheingold depict the theft of the Ring forged from the Rhinemaidens’ gold by the Nibelung dwarf Alberich, and his subsequent surrender of it to Wotan, ruler of the Gods, to pay his debt to the giants who constructed Valhalla. Alberich’s curse foreshadows the catastrophe to come. Sir Donald Runnicles conducts an internationally acclaimed cast in this innovative new production of Der Ring by Norwegian director Stefan Herheim.

Also available on Blu-ray Video (NBD0157V)

2.110770 [DVD]

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840–1893)
None but the Lonely Heart
Tchaikovsky songs staged by Christof Loy

Olesya Golovneva, Soprano • Kelsey Lauritano, Mezzo-soprano
Andrea Carè, Tenor • Vladislav Sulimsky, Mikołaj Trąbka, Baritones
Mariusz Kłubczuk, Nikolai Petersen, Pianos
Members of the Frankfurter Opern- und Museumsorchester
Christof Loy, Stage director

Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt (‘None but the lonely heart’), probably the best known of Tchaikovsky’s songs, lends its name to an intimate theatrical evening in which Christof Loy has combined songs or ‘romances’ and instrumental music to create a chamber opera of striking beauty and intensity. Tchaikovsky’s songs cover a stylistic diversity unsurpassed by other Russian composers, often setting enigmatic texts in which the unsaid and unsayable create expressive tensions and encapsulate true human emotions. Given a sumptuous period setting, these qualities create a unique drama in which suppressed love is confronted with longed for moments of passion, and sadness over broken relationships leads to withdrawal and loneliness.

Also available on Blu-ray Video (NBD0181V)

DYN-37987 [DVD]

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797–1848)
Chiara e Serafina
Melodramma semiserio in two acts
Libretto by Felice Romani

Pietro Spagnoli, Baritone • Fan Zhou, Soprano • Greta Doveri, Soprano
Orchestra Gli Originali • Coro dell’Accademia Teatro alla Scala
Sesto Quatrini, Conductor • Gianluca Falaschi, Director

Despite the triumphant reception of his first opera, Gaetano Donizetti was young and inexperienced when he was commissioned to write Chiara e Serafina in 1822 for La Scala. Composed in haste, it was met with disapproval at its premiere and subsequently disappeared without a trace. Thanks to this revival at the Bergamo Donizetti Festival after exactly 200 years, Chiara e Serafina has returned to the stage with a fine production that brings to life an entertaining tale of pirates, lovers, disguises, deceit and peril in 17th-century Majorca.

Also available on Blu-ray Video (DYN-57987)

OA1381BD [3-DVD Boxed Set]
[Opus Arte]

The Christopher Wheeldon Collection is a dazzling showcase of the theatrical imagination of The Royal Ballet’s Artistic Associate, Christopher Wheeldon. With a stellar creative team, including designer Bob Crowley and composer Joby Talbot, he brings to life three celebrated works of fiction that pop as vividly on the screen in this collection as they did on stage for audiences watching live in the theatre.

Lewis Carroll’s ever-popular story provides the basis for Wheeldon’s spectacular production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that has delighted audiences all around the world since the ballet’s premiere in 2011. In The Winter’s Tale, created in 2013, Wheeldon reimagines Shakespeare’s enduring story of jealousy, compassion and forgiveness, effortlessly capturing the work’s profound emotional trajectory. For his most recent ballet in 2022, Wheeldon took inspiration from Laura Esquivel’s Mexican classic Like Water for Chocolate, where the protagonist Tita’s emotions spill out through cooking to influence everyone around her in startling and dramatic ways. These three compelling ballets, conjuring up worlds by turns whimsical and dramatic, are not to be missed.

Also available on Blu-ray Video (OABD7319BD)

To stream a collection of selected audiovisual releases on Amazon Prime Video, follow this link or click on the Amazon Prime video logo.

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