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Four opera productions and a feast of Shakespearean drama comprise the line-up of our latest audovisual releases.

They include the original 1841 version of Der fliegender Holländer, considered the first 'true' Wagner opera; Gluck's Orphée et Eurydice, in the 1859 version prepared by Berlioz for the Théâtre Lyrique in Paris; the world premiere video production of Lo Schiavo by the 19th-century Brazilian composer Antônio Carlos Gomes; and a box set of nine Donizetti operas that feature some of his most iconic female roles.

Additionally, The Globe Theatre presents its blockbuster 23-DVD collection of Shakespeare's stage works; and finally we have The Royal Shakespeare Company's production of The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Bard's hilarious comedy of suburbia, wives and over-inflated egos.

WAGNER, R.: Fliegende Holländer (Der) [Opera] (Theater an der Wien, 2015) (NTSC)
2.110637 [DVD]
Richard WAGNER (1813–1883)
Der fliegende Holländer
(‘The Flying Dutchman’)

Ingela Brimberg, Soprano • Ann-Beth Solvang, Mezzo-soprano
Bernard Richter, Tenor • Samuel Youn and Lars Woldt, Basses
Arnold Schoenberg Chor • Les Musiciens du Louvre
Marc Minkowski, Conductor
Olivier Py, Stage Director

Der fliegende Holländer is considered to be the first ‘true’ Wagner opera. The story of the phantom ship and its haunted master becomes a sensually charged drama with love and tragic sacrifice at its heart, and this original 1841 version leaves the ultimate redemption of its central characters unresolved. Wagner originally conceived the opera for Paris, so it is fitting that this production from the Theater an der Wien is driven by French director Olivier Py’s unique vision, with a staging that dispels many of the misconceptions surrounding Wagner’s art.

Also available in Blu-ray Video (NBD0099V)

GLUCK, C.W.: Orphée et Eurydice (version edited by H. Berlioz) [Opera] (Opéra Comique, 2018) (NTSC)
2.110638 [DVD]
Christoph Willibald GLUCK (1714–1787)
Orphée et Eurydice
(1859 version by Hector Berlioz)
Libretto by Pierre-Louis Moline

Hélène Guilmette, Soprano • Marianne Crebassa, Mezzo-soprano
Lea Desandre, Mezzo-soprano • Ensemble Pygmalion
Raphaël Pichon, Conductor • Aurélien Bory, Stage Director

Gluck’s influential Orphée et Eurydice tells the story of Orphée’s descent into the Underworld to retrieve his wife Eurydice. His singing has the power to overcome the guardian Furies, but the path of true love is shadowed by sorrow and tragedy. As a true ‘drama of the soul’ with intense psychological and emotive power, Orphée et Eurydice shook Enlightenment Europe to its core. Berlioz, in his 1859 version prepared for the Théâtre Lyrique, exploited the score’s full potential through a synthesis of the versions Gluck prepared for Parma, Paris and Vienna. Aurélien Bory’s Paris production was described as ‘just breathtaking’ by OperaJournal.

Also available in Blu-ray Video (NBD0100V)

GOMES, C.: Schiavo (Lo) [Opera] (Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, 2019) (NTSC)
DYN-37845 [DVD]
Antônio Carlos GOMES (1836–1896)
Lo Schiavo
Dramma lirico in four acts
Libretto by Rodolfo Paravicini,
from the draft by Alfredo d’Escragnolle Taunay

Svetla Vassileva • Massimiliano Pisapia • Andrea Borghini
Elisa Balbo • Daniele Terenzi • Dongho Kim
Marco Puggioni • Michelangelo Romero
Orchestra e Coro del Teatro Lirico di Cagliari
John Neschling, Conductor • Donato Sivo, Chorus Master
Davide Garattini Raimondi, Director

Brazilian composer Antônio Carlos Gomes was among the many musicians who travelled to Italy to master the language and the rules of operatic works. He studied in Milan and succeeded in having a few operas staged at Italian venues, before returning to Brazil where he was hailed as the most famous living national composer. Gomes felt compelled to commit his work to the country’s anti-slave cause, which was still legal practice then. Lo schiavo was therefore conceived as a politically engaged work. However, the issue was rather volatile and the composer had to change the contemporary time setting to a more distant one. In Brazil the opera was a triumph, but elsewhere it failed to gain popularity and soon fell into oblivion.

This recording of the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari’s production documents the opera’s first performance in modern times and reveals Gomes’ flamboyant richness of melodic creativity, his sound grasp of construction, and a technical mastery of the theatrical mechanisms that are always of the highest level.

‘The most popular title of the entire Brazilian repertoire. The most represented and, perhaps, the most loved one.’
John Neschling, Conductor

Also available in Blu-ray Video (DYN-57845) and CD (CDS7845.02)

DONIZETTI, G.: Heroines (13-DVD Box Set) (NTSC)
DYN-37859 [13 DVDs]
Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797–1848)
The Collector’s Box-set
Anna Bolena • Pia de’Tolomei • Lucia di Lammermoor
Il Castello di Kenilworth • Maria Stuarda • La Favorite
Pigmalione • Roberto Devereux • Rosmonda D’Inghilterra

Various Artists

This DVD box-set is entitled Donizetti Heroines because many of the composer’s operas are named after their female protagonists. Even in the few cases where they aren’t, they give musical portrayals of unforgettable female characters, tragic and passionate figures, often innocent victims of the infernal gears of power and therefore destined to a hapless fate.

Between 1818 and 1843 Gaetano Donizetti composed some seventy operas, many of which became very popular in his day. His first success came in 1830 with Anna Bolena and from that moment he rivalled Bellini as the ‘leading operatic composer in Italy’, churning out works with the constant rhythm of a typical 18th-century composer. Some of Donizetti’s best works rank among the masterpieces of 19th-century opera. A few of them have remained in the repertoire worldwide since their debut, while others were to be revived only from the second half of the 1900s, in the wake of what has rightly been called the ‘Donizetti Renaissance’. Today operatic audiences are radically different from those of two hundred years ago and during the 2018/19 season Donizetti was placed fifth in the list of the world’s most represented composers. We believe that the credit for this goes to his splendid heroines and their great interpreters who, yesterday and today, brought them alive on stage and continue to do so. This collectors’ release offers a selection of nine operas featuring some of the most iconic and unforgettable Donizetti characters, performed by outstanding singers such as Mariella Devia, Jessica Pratt, Carmela Remigio, Patrizia Ciofi and Sonia Ganassi.

	SHAKESPEARE, W.: Merry Wives of Windsor (The) (Royal Shakespeare Company, 2018) (NTSC)
OA1293D [DVD]
William SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616)
The Merry Wives of Windsor

Rebecca Lacey • Paul Dodds • Karen Fishwick • Beth Cordingly
Vince Leigh • David Acton • David Acton • Ishia Bennison
Stevie Basaula • Luke Newberry • Tim Samuels
Tom Padley • John Macaulay • Sakuntala Ramanee
Fiona Laird, Director/Composer

Shakespeare’s hilarious comedy of suburbia, wives and over-inflated egos.

John Falstaff plans to hustle his way to a comfortable retirement by seducing the wives of two wealthy men. Unknown to him, it’s the women of Windsor who really pull the strings, orchestrating Falstaff’s comeuppance amidst a theatrical smorgasbord of petty rivalriesm jealousies and over-inflated egos. For a fat Englishman, a Welshman and a Frenchman, the only way is Windsor...

SHAKESPEARE, W.: Globe Collection (The) (Shakespeare's Globe, 2009-2015) (23-DVD Box Set) (NTSC)
OA1301BD [23 DVDs]
William SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616)
The Globe Collection

Various Artists

Shakespeare’s Globe, the reconstruction of his most famous London theatre, is at the centre of the astonishing global fascination with Britain’s greatest playwright. Completed in 1997, it is a living theatrical experiment that has allowed audiences to experience the impact of Shakespeare’s stories in the architecture for which he wrote; the result has been a rediscovery of the plays in all their human richness.

This collection brings together 22 Globe Theatre productions from 2009 to 2015 — during the artistic directorship of Dominic Dromgoole — featuring the finest actors and leading directors in a project committed to creating ever wider access to this rich cultural heritage. Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories and Tragedies contain dazzling poetry, romance, epic power struggles, human suffering and ingenious, raucous humour.

These films capture the unique atmosphere and theatrical space of the Globe Theatre, with an exhilarating sense of interaction in live performances between the audience and the actors on stage exquisitely maintained on screen.

Here is an invitation to stand with kings in battle, to fall in love, to witness the brutal machinations of politics, and to laugh with rogues.

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