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Gluck;Christoph Willibald Alce [Import]

Catherine Naglestad , Donald Kaasch , Jossi Wieler    NR (Not Rated)   DVD

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Product Description

GLUCK:ALCESTE - DVD Movie

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I found it a captivating production Oct. 8 2007
By Madbeppo - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I cannot speak about the sound quality of this dvd, and the video quality is perhaps so-so, but I found the staging concept and realization to be wonderful, ingenious. How better, visually, to present or accompany music that is stately and, no doubt, for many people, at least some of the time, a bit tedious, than by showing people who are manifestly bored, or, if not bored, making an obvious and failing effort to stay alert...exactly as people do at concerts! This is how we see the subjects of Admetus behaving, during the long temple service, and during a symphonic interlude...Delightful! It actually makes the stateliness of the music easier to...enjoy.
Meanwhile, the intentionally dull, functional set, and even more the dull costumes, somehow (for me at any rate) made the human drama much more affecting. This queen was a very proper, but unexciting, middle-aged modern monarch; in other words, a real person. This is by far the most moving production of a Gluck opera I have seen on video.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moving ant ridiculous at the same time July 20 2008
By Vladimiro Rivas Iturralde - Published on Amazon.com
In spite of its "happy ending", Gluck's Alceste is one of the saddest operas of all time. Its subject is death, and the defenselessness of the human being before death. The music has a great nobility and serene beauty.
This Stuttgart production brings for the first time to life the entire Paris version from 1776 score as authorised by Gluck.
The production is very moving, but very ridiculous as well. Catherine Naglestad (Alceste) is an atractive woman, a very good singer and a superb actress, so, our eyes and ears are always focused on her. Donald Kaash (Admete) doesn't have a nice tenor voice, but he manages to make his character credible. Johan Rydh is fearful as the high priest and as the Death.
Wieler and Morabito have adapted the story to the sixties, but the gods and heroes are unpleasant and ridiculous, particularly Apollo and Hercules. The two children look like little monsters, reminding us the twins in the Kubrick's The Shining. The ending, when Alceste and Admete listen to the orchestral suite, is very ambigous. They don't touch each other any more, and they look at each other as saying: "And now, what? We have defeated the death, and now the boring daily life is waiting for us".
The Stuttgart Opera Orchestra performs with period instruments, so the strings are very warm. Constantinos Carydis' conducting is good enough.
I recommend it any way. It's worth because the beautiful music and the superb Naglestad.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Few decent video productions of Gluck operas available June 26 2014
By Brent Peterson - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Only since Gluck's 300th birthday is right around the corner (July 2, 2014), if you were planning on having a Gluck-fest and enjoying some of his operas on video as a way of saying happy birthday to the old boy ... I can warn you right now, the pickins are mighty slim, on video at least. Without getting into specifics, it should be enough to know this particular production of Alceste is updated to the 21st century. Neither is Gardiner's video of Alceste on EMI worth your time or cash. (Gardiner's consists of people standing around like statues, and while I suppose it could have technically been staged as such during Gluck's lifetime, I rather don't think it was.) In short I'm afraid we'll have to continue enjoying Alceste only on records and CD's for the time being.

Let's take a quick run-thru the other Gluck operas. Of all the Gluck operas currently on video, only the Orfeo with Janet Baker bears a decent resemblance to something Gluck might recognize as his own. The dual Blu-Ray set of Iphigenia in Aulide and/or Tauride (but alas, not Brooklyn, haha :) ... cannot be referred to as traditional productions, and similarly the other Tauride production you will find where the players are wearing huge masks, 3 times the size of their head ... that is also not something Gluck envisioned, sorry to say, but rather a hardworking and imaginative modern director.

I suppose I could mention there are videos not currently available on Amazon. For example, there is an Iphigenia in Aulide from La Scala, conducted by Muti, available from House of Opera dot com. It uses the Richard Wagner version, not that that should be a detractor, as all the staging and costuming is in 100% traditional, grand old manner.

I will gladly qualify this review by saying that as audio recordings, any of the above "updated" versions are wonderful and would provide a very satisfying listening experience if only they were on CD.

Humbly submitted to fellow music lovers who are interested in traditional productions, and don't have enough money to throw away trying out each one .....
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth it despite modern production April 15 2008
By Gayla McDowell - Published on Amazon.com
It is the only recording currently available of this opera which is complete, including ballet music at end. (I'm not sure it's absolutely complete, as I did not follow with a score.) The singing is very good to acceptable, and the production is in good taste. A valuable addition to the recorded repertory.

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