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Five new audiovisual releases this month spotlight opera, drama and dance in superlative performances.

We have Rossini’s comic opera masterpiece Il barbiere di Siviglia, one of the composer's wittiest and most brilliant scores, while Verdi's opera Le Trouvère comes in its world premiere video recording; Tchaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker is presented in Peter Wright’s timeless and enchanting interpretation for the Royal Ballet, while Sylvia, La fille mal gardée and Tales of Beatrix Potter are included in the second volume of the company's Frederick Ashton Collection; finally, we have Romeo and Juliet in an intensely passionate, contemporary production of Shakespeare's most famous story of love at first sight by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

ROSSINI, G.: Barbiere di Siviglia (Il) [Opera] (Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, 2017) (NTSC)
2.110592 [DVD]
Gioachino ROSSINI (1792–1868)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia
Libretto by Cesare Sterbini
after Le Barbier de Séville by Pierre-Augustin
Caron de Beaumarchais

Catherine Trottmann and Annunziata Vestri, Mezzo-sopranos
Michele Angelini, Tenor • Florian Sempey and Peter Kálmán, Baritones
Robert Gleadow, Bass-baritone
Unikanti • Le Cercle de l’Harmonie • Jérémie Rhorer, Conductor
Laurent Pelly, Stage Director • François Roussillon, Video Director

Rossini’s comic masterpiece was based on Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais’s French play Le Barbier de Séville and is the ultimate opera buffa. The score is a compendium of the composer’s wittiest and most brilliant writing, and includes the famous entrance aria Largo al factotum and a raft of superbly dynamic ensembles. This vibrant and youthful production features Florian Sempey, one of the world’s best Figaros, the ‘Rossini tenor’ Michele Angelini, vivacious and critically admired Catherine Trottmann, and the award-winning team of acclaimed director Laurent Pelly and conductor Jérémie Rhorer who directs his spirited period ensemble Le Cercle de l’Harmonie.

Also available in Blu-ray Video (NBD0065V)

VERDI, G.: Trovatore (Il) [Opera] (Sung in French) (Teatro Regio di Parma, 2018) (NTSC)
DYN-37835 [DVD]
Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901)
Le Trouvère
Opera in four acts
Libretto by Salvadore Cammarano

Giuseppe Gipali • Franco Vassallo • Marco Spotti • Luca Casalin
Roberta Mantegna • Nino Surguladze • Tonia Langella • Nicolò Donini
Orchestra e Coro del Teatro Comunale di Bologna
Roberto Abbado, Conductor • Andrea Faidutti, Chorus Master
Robert Wilson, Director

After the great success that Il Trovatore enjoyed in Paris, Verdi was approached to compose a French version of the opera to suit the tastes of the local public. The original work, based on the Spanish play El trovador by Antonio García Gutiérrez, had a libretto by Cammarano, which was for this purpose translated into French by Émilien Pacini.

Le Trouvère was first staged in Brussels in 1856 and premiered at the Paris Opera in 1857. In this new version the composer added some music in Act 3 for the gypsy ballet scene, extended the finale of Act 4, and made several other revisions.

The plot is highly dramatic and captivating: Verdi portrays strong characters who deal with war, obsession and revenge. In the words of director Robert Wilson: ‘This is a family tragedy, and in many ways, it is a very contemporary story.’

This production was staged in the splendid Teatro Farnese of Parma, which was built in 1628 and belongs to the Complesso Monumentale della Pilotta, one of the oldest museums in Italy.

Also available in Blu-ray Video (DYN-57835) and CD (CDS7835.02)

TCHAIKOVSKY, P.I.: Nutcracker (The) [Ballet] (Royal Ballet, 2018) (NTSC)
OA1290D [DVD]
Pytor Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840–1893)
The Nutcracker

Marianela Nuñez • Vadim Muntagirov
Anna Rose O’Sullivan • Marcelino Sambé • Gary Avis
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House • The Royal Ballet
Peter Wright, Choreography after Lev Ivanov
Barry Wordsworth, Conductor • Kevin O’Hare, Director

Peter Wright’s timeless and enchanting interpretation of The Nutcracker has been in The Royal Ballet’s repertory for over thirty years. Presented in a festive period setting, this charming and magical production features Marianela Nuñez as the exquisite Sugar Plum Fairy and Vadim Muntagirov as her charming Prince. Vivid designs and spellbinding stage effects which include authentic Christmas tree decorations that magically come to life, and Tchaikovsky’s sumptuous, iconic score combine to create the quintessential Christmas ballet – an opulent treat for the senses for audiences of all ages. Filmed in High Definition and recorded in true Surround Sound.

Also available in Blu-ray Video (OABD7259D)

SHAKESPEARE, W.: Romeo and Juliet (Royal Shakespeare Company, 2018) (NTSC)
OA1291D [DVD]
William SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616)
Romeo and Juliet

Karen Fishwick • Bally Gill
Royal Shakespeare Company
Erica Whyman, Stage Director

‘My only love sprung from my only hate!’

What if your first true love was someone you’d been told to hate? Ripped apart by the bitter divisions of their parents, two young people will risk everything to be together.

The most famous story of love at first sight explodes with intense passion and an irresistible desire for change. Will this spark a revolution, or will division continue to tear through the generations?

FREDERICK ASHTON COLLECTION (THE), Vol. 2 (Royal Ballet, 2005-2007) (3-DVD Box Set) (NTSC)
OA1281BD [3 DVDs]
The Frederick Ashton Collection, Vol. 2

La Fille mal gardée
Victoria Hewitt • Ricardo Cervera • Jonathan Howells
Gemma Sykes • Gary Avis • Bennet Gartside • Laura Morera
Iohna Loots • Joshua Tuiua • Steven McRae
Royal Ballet Sinfonia
Paul Murphy, Conductor • Robert Gibbs, Leader


The Tales of Beatrix Potter
Marianela Nuñez • Carlos Acosta
William Tuckett • Jonathan Howells
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Anthony Twiner, Conductor • Sergey Levitin, Associate Concert Master


Sylvia
Darcey Bussell • Roberto Bolle • Thiago Soares
Martin Harvey • Mara Galeazzi
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Graham Bond, Conductor • Melissa Forshaw, Assistant Concert Master

Darcey Bussell and Roberto Bolle star in Frederick Ashton’s Sylvia, restored to the splendour of its elegant, opulent three-act form and featuring the choreographer’s darkly comic characterisations. By contrast La Fille mal gardée, starring Marianela Nuñez and Carlos Acosta, has been treasured as one of Ashton’s happiest creations – his artistic tribute to nature and his beloved Suffolk countryside. Tales of Beatrix Potter brings the famous stories of the English writer and illustrator to life in a warm and witty work for all ages. Swept up in the ballet’s childlike exuberance, the entire cast delivers outstanding portrayals of such colourful figures as Jemima Puddle-Duck, Mr Jeremy Fisher, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle and the irrepressible Peter Rabbit. Recorded in true Surround Sound.

Also available in Blu-ray Video (OABD7212BD)


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