There’s a delicious mix of audiovisual releases this month, including the Royal Ballet’s Like Water for Chocolate, a production that cooks up a veritable feast of love, passion, food and magic; violinist superstar Anne-Sophie Mutter takes centre stage in an unprecedented documentary that delves behind her public persona; Cavalli’s mid-seventeenth-century opera Il Xerse comes in its first production in modern times; and finally, we have Glyndebourne’s landmark 1994 production of Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin, described by Gramophone as ‘riveting’.
Francesco Cavalli succeeded Monteverdi as the most influential composer of the new genre of opera that emerged in mid-17th-century Venice. Il Xerse is a fictitious dramma per musica that tells of Persian King Xerxes’ love for Romilda, who in turn is in love with his brother Arsamene. The plot is an entertaining and extremely intricate human comedy of crossed loves, court intrigues and disguises – the work’s popularity saw it staged in Paris at the wedding of Louis XIV and Maria Theresa of Spain. Since overshadowed by Handel’s later Xerxes, this Martina Franca production is the first in modern times.
Also available in Blu-ray Video (DYN-57983)
Graham Vick’s acclaimed production of Eugene Onegin sets Pushkin’s tale of doomed love, tragedy and rejection against an acutely observed backdrop of Russian society, with spectacular choruses and dances. Tchaikovsky’s powerful music vividly conveys the passion and despair of the young Tatyana as she declares her love for Onegin. This special, archive recording took place in the first season of Glyndebourne’s new opera house in 1994.
‘Onegin received precisely the kind of staging and performance that makes Glyndebourne’s worldwide reputation.’ – The New York Times
A modern Mexican classic provides the basis for a theatrical tale of love, jealousy, repression, and revolution.
The Royal Ballet’s 2022 production reunited Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon with the stellar creative team who transformed Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Winter’s Tale into dance, composer Joby Talbot and designer Bob Crowley.
Inspired by Laura Esquivel’s novel, the central character’s emotions spill out through cooking to influence everyone around her in startling and dramatic ways. The full Company, led by Francesca Hayward as Tita and Marcelino Sambé as Pedro, reshape this captivating family saga into a richly layered and engrossing new ballet where passion, mystery and magic combine.
Also available in Blu-ray Video (OABD7312D)
Anne-Sophie Mutter is one of the greatest musicians of our age and for the last five decades has appeared at the world’s leading concert venues. In addition to premiering 31 new works from leading composers, she is an inspiring mentor, has promoted top young musicians and fostered numerous charitable projects. In this documentary, she meets figures she admires, such as tennis star Roger Federer, as well as Daniel Barenboim, legendary film composer John Williams and others. Anne-Sophie Mutter talks candidly about her personal life and the demands of her international career. This unprecedented portrait of a socially active artist is supplemented by archive material from her stellar career.
Also available in Blu-ray Video (SWR19133BD)