A film by Jan Schmidt-Garre, Home Music Berlin, leads our selection of new audiovisual releases this month. An inspired project born of the recent pandemic, it resulted in six hours of chamber performances and documentary footage featuring some of the world's leading artists resident in Berlin at the time.
In contrast, there's a spectacular open-air performance of Elisabeth, the most successful German-language musical of all time, and two splendid opera productions: the world premiere audiovisual recording of Porpora's L'Angelica, and a new take on Handel's Baroque masterpiece Semele by New Zealand Opera.
Finally, a virtuosic score by composer Thomas Adès partners ground-breaking choreography by Wayne McGregor in The Dante Project, a production of The Royal Ballet.
INCLUDES A ONE-HOUR DOCUMENTARY AND SIX HOURS OF CONCERTS
When lockdown was imposed in 2020 many artists began streaming performances from their own homes. In response, pianist Francesco Piemontesi and director Jan Schmidt-Garre launched a concert series to showcase artists living in Berlin, given in the renowned Schinkel Pavillon with an expert technical team assembled at short notice. Fourteen concerts were held, without audiences, under the name Home Music Berlin featuring some of the world’s leading instrumentalists and singers. In addition, a documentary film captured rehearsals and private backstage scenes. This collection of performances is a testament to the resilience and solidarity of these artists during the pandemic.
Also available in Blu-ray Video (NBD0124-25V)
Treading a tightrope between death, life and intense romance in the opulent world of 19th-century Habsburg royalty, Elisabeth tells the story of the beautiful Empress of Austria, from her wedding, to her tragic assassination by the hand of the Italian anarchist Luigi Lucheni. Ongoing dark obsessions and inner turmoil are undercurrents as family schisms flare up amidst a crumbling empire. These powerful themes and a potent score brimming with fabulous music have combined to establish Elisabeth as the most successful German-language musical of all time. This spectacular open-air event presents Elisabeth at the fabled empress’s real-life home – Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna.
Also available in Blu-ray Video (NBD0164V)
Nicola Porpora was a composer who helped to turn Italian opera into the most successful and spectacular genre in Europe. One of the few luminaries of the ‘Neapolitan School’ to actually be born in Naples, Porpora wrote L’Angelica, a serenade for six voices and instruments, to a libretto by the young Pietro Metastasio in 1720. The work was composed for the birthday of Empress Elizabeth Christine, wife of Charles VI, and its plot is comedic, focusing on the travails of a couple in love. The opera’s success was immediate, resulting in the commissioning of further works that would lead to ever more glamorous successes for Porpora in Venice, London, Dresden and Vienna.
Originally presented as part of the 700th anniversary celebrations of the poet’s death, Dante’s epic journey through the afterlife in The Divine Comedy is realised in a major artistic collaboration between trailblazing forces of the contemporary arts scene. Wayne McGregor’s groundbreaking choreography comes together with a virtuosic new score by one of the most influential musicians of the 21st century, composer-conductor Thomas Adès, and designs by the renowned artist Tacita Dean, celebrated for her pioneering and poetic work across film and other mediums. Together they illuminate the extraordinary vision of Dante in this three-part work for the full Company. This world premiere recording also marks the final production starring acclaimed dancer Edward Watson as Royal Ballet Principal, after 27 years with the Company.
Also available in Blu-ray Video (OABD7278D)
Witness The Wedding of the Year, filmed at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Auckland, New Zealand. Handel’s Baroque masterpiece Semele is an exciting mix of opera and oratorio. Unlike his much more famous Messiah, this work scandalised audiences when first performed at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, London in 1774.
Drawn from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the sensual story explores a love triangle between Jupiter, King of the Gods, his wife, the goddess Juno, and his lover, the mortal princess Semele…
Winner of the Best Entertainment Programme at the NZTV Awards 2023.
Also available in Blu-ray Video (OABD7309D)