This month’s set of new audiovisual releases from Naxos and its affiliated labels features French, German and Italian opera in four outstanding productions from leading opera houses around Europe. Additionally, there's a box set from The Royal Ballet that couples a full-length documentary with a brilliant programme of pas de deux, reflecting the choreographic diversity and show-stopping artistry for which the company is acclaimed world-wide.
L’Italiana in Londra was Domenico Cimarosa’s first international triumph, thrilling audiences all over Europe after its premiere in 1778. It later became eclipsed by the even bigger success of Il matrimonio segreto however, and has become a rarity on stage today. Set in a London hotel, this cheerful ‘Intermezzo in musica’ has cleverly crafted arias, duets and ensembles that drive the plot along, the story being one of thwarted love, quarrels and misunderstandings. L’Italiana in Londra has been summed up by director R.B. Schlather as ‘incredibly charming and sophisticated ... demanding, dark, dirty and very funny ... an impeccable rom-com.’
Also available on Blu-ray Video (NBD0155V)
Comédie lyrique (ballet bouffon) in a prologue and three acts (1745)
Libretto Adrien-Joseph Le Valois d’Orville after Jacques Autreau
Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Platée is a masterpiece of the French operatic repertoire and was highly regarded by critics during the composer’s lifetime. Composed for the marriage of the Dauphin Louis, son of Louis XV, to the Infanta Maria Teresa of Spain, it was first performed at Versailles in 1745 and became an instant hit. The plot concerns the ugly and conceited frog Platée, the victim of a machination of the gods who make her believe that she is loved by Jupiter. Is this Rameau mocking Princess Maria Teresa of Spain – reputedly a woman of little beauty? Or the French court, which saw itself as a new Olympus? This classic production from the Opéra de Paris by Marc Minkowski and Laurent Pelly returns to the stage with an entirely new cast, featuring Julie Fuchs, Mathias Vidal, Jean Teitgen and Lawrence Brownlee.
Also available on Blu-ray Video (BAC524)
Der fliegende Holländer was one of the operas that allowed Wagner to assert his place as the foremost German operatic composer of the time and to develop the foundations of his visionary mature works. Premiered in Dresden in 1843 its story is of the Flying Dutchman – the ghostly sea captain doomed to wander the seas eternally unless redeemed by love. This new staging was praised by seenandheard-international.com for being ‘a triumph in faithfully presenting Wagner’s opera with an innovative production which was both exciting and created special effects’.
Also available on Blu-ray Video (DYN-57991)
Pious restraint comes face to face with sensuous hedonism in Camille Saint-Saëns’s grand-opera retelling of the Bible story of Samson and Delilah.
Multi-Olivier Award winning director Richard Jones returns to The Royal Opera to stage this spectacular fin-de-siècle masterpiece, not performed at Covent Garden since 2004. Elīna Garanča stars as the Philistine Dalila, SeokJong Baek as the inspiring Jewish hero Samson and Antonio Pappano conducts the full forces of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. With superb singing in solos and duets of great intimacy and fervour, gorgeous music with thrilling orchestral interludes, and splendid choral numbers for the Royal Opera Chorus – this is a performance to remember.
Also available on Blu-ray Video (OABD7315D)
This box set includes a special collection of classic performances from The Royal Ballet. In the feature-length documentary Essential Royal Ballet, Katie Derham introduces carefully curated excerpts from productions that span the history of ballet and goes behind the scenes to see what it takes to be a dancer in The Royal Ballet as they prepare to take to the stage.
With stunning solos, passionate pas de deux and jaw-dropping numbers for the corps de ballet, Essential Royal Ballet is a chance to see the Company’s much-loved dancers past and present up close. Including many favourites from the likes of Carlos Acosta, Marianela Nuñez, Natalia Osipova, Steven McRae, Francesca Hayward and Matthew Ball, the artists share stories of their life on the stage and thoughts on what these celebrated ballets mean to them.
In Pas de Deux: the ‘steps for two’ so central to the form of ballet are celebrated further in 16 exceptional examples from The Royal Ballet’s repertory. A collection from across the Company’s heritage and contemporary classics, Pas de Deux demonstrates the choreographic diversity, technical brilliance, show-stopping spectacle and artistry for which The Royal Ballet is acclaimed around the world.
Also available on Blu-ray Video (OABD7317BD)