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Stephen Smoliar, January 2013

LIGETI, G.: Grand Macabre (Le) (Liceu, 2011) (NTSC) 101643
LIGETI, G.: Grand Macabre (Le) (Liceu, 2011) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) 108058

The production was the shared effort of the Barcelona opera company with the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, the Opera di Roma, and the English National Opera of London.

Musically one could not hope for a better approach to the score Ligeti conceived to match the absurdity of this opera’s plot. The real value of the video, however, comes from the impact of the staging. This was the product of the Catalan theatrical group La Fura dels Baus…and its Artistic Director Àlex Ollé. La Fura…usually take a highly technology-rich approach to staging. As a result the imagery of the staging of this production of La Grand Macabre is as outrageously imaginative as both the plot and the music. © 2013 Read complete review

Leslie Wright
MusicWeb International, December 2012

A Blu-ray first for a controversial production of a weird and wonderful opera. Some may be appalled by the near pornography, while other viewers may find it enthralling. In any case, the performance could hardly be bettered and the sound and picture are stunning. The disc has a substantial bonus by way of a lengthy documentary on the staging and costumes. © 2012 MusicWeb International

Lawrence Devoe, October 2012

With an extremely clever use of projections, we get a visually arresting presentation of a work that is a classical in-your-face opera. Video and audio recording are at the top of the heap and represent the best effort to get unfamiliar viewers exposed to this avant-garde opera.

With brilliant sets that complement the rather circuitous plot, projections that are “outta sight,” and detail that gives each of the singers a Facebook moment, viewers get the full visual impact that such an opera requires.

Ligeti’s only opera is no longer a novelty and yet, thirty five years later, Le Grand Macabre will still raise the hackles of the opera traditionalists. All of that aside, this was a fascinating watch and a testimonial to the genius of the Barcelona production team. Vocal recognition goes to all involved, particularly tenor Chris Merritt as the alcoholic Piet the Pot, the homosexual couple, Amando and Amanda (Ines Moraleda and Ana Puche), and, countertenor Brian Asawa as Prince Go-Go. Most importantly, the lead role of Nekrotzar is authoritatively managed by Werner Van Mechelen. The musical affairs benefit from the knowing baton of Michael Boder, principal conductor of the Gran Teatre del Liceu. Le Grand Macabre is a fascinating watch and most unlike the standard operatic repertory. The musical idiom is challenging and unfamiliar but with a production this good, it might do you some good to venture outside of your opera comfort zone and go for this BD. © 2012 Read complete review

Leslie Wright
MusicWeb International, October 2012

I cannot imagine this particular staging of Le Grand Macabre being done any better than the production mounted here. As for the singing and orchestral playing, both are also top-notch. The singers, without exception, are superb in their roles, with special mention to Barbara Hannigan as Gepopo and Brian Asawa as Prince Go-Go. The orchestra features its percussion section with all kinds of unusual “instruments,” including pots and pans and crockery in addition to the car horns and doorbells that depict the sounds of the outside world. All of these sound effects are produced mechanically rather than electronically. The brass and strings also require real virtuosity, and the Barcelona orchestra does not disappoint…

For me this is one of the most important discs yet issued this year. It is certainly one of the best that I have had the pleasure to review. As it is the only option for this opera on DVD or Blu-ray, it is self-recommending. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

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