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Prokofiev;Sergei War and Peace

Nathan Gunn , Olga Gouriakova , François Roussillon    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 137.59
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good try but ............................. Jan. 29 2007
Format:DVD
I know this work very well from CDs, but this is the first performance I have actually seen. Perhaps some disappointment is inevitable, particularly if you know the book as well or the absolutely stunning Bondarchuk movie. Shoe-horning the vast scope of Tolstoy's vision into less than four hours of music and onto the stage of the Opera National de Paris is a near impossible task and as brave an attempt as this performance represents, I believe it falls short in a couple of key areas.

The good first. Nathan Gunn and Olga Guryakova perform creditably in the key roles of Prince Andre and Natasha Rostova, even if Gunn just fails to fully capture that heady mélange of sensitivity, self discipline and unshakeable belief in the importance of honour that should manifest itself in the brittle aloofness that Tolstoy described. He comes across more as an agrieved poet than a soldier with artistic sensibilities. But at least he looks the part and sings convincingly. Anatoli Kotcherga gives us a suitably monumental Kutusov and Vladimir Matorine brings to all three of his cameo roles, Tikhon, Matvelev and Balaga, that larger than life Russian peasant earthiness. Amongst the supporting cast special mention must also go to Margerita Mamasirova as Sonia, doubling as Murat's aide de camp, and Mikhail Kit as Count Rostov (doubling as General Bennigsen).

The bad. Helene is absolutely not the part Tolstoy wrote. She is openly, rather than subtly, sluttish, a man-eater instead of the emotionally-atrophied dumb blonde the writer gave us. Kuryagin is a non-starter for me as the womanizer who steals Natasha's heart. Go to the Bondarchuk movie for the real thing.

And the ugly. Robert Brubaker has a decent voice but in the central role of Pierre Bezoukov he is laughably miscast.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Spendid and Stunning! March 10 2004
By A Customer
Format:DVD
Do not miss this amazing production. Even if you already have another DVD or videotape recording of Prokofiev's monumental opera, get this one as well. I had the good fortune to attend Maestro Menotti's powerful interpretation of this work in Spoleto, Italy a few years ago--it was an extraordinary experience, but this one surpasses it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Musical & visual splendor Feb. 3 2004
By A Customer
Format:DVD
I wish I had experienced this thrilling production in person, but this DVD recording comes closer to the live experience than any other opera DVD I have watched. The sheer energy of the singers, who are also very good actors, the dynamics of the stage direction, the abstract yet absolutely informative beauty of the kinetic scenery all contribute to a truly stunning performance. Recordings like this one justify the money I've spent on good speakers and a DTS amplifier.
More people should know Prokofiev's operas and DVDs like this one just may spread his reputation. Don't miss it!!!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Heart warming Beauty Jan. 14 2004
Format:DVD
This is the first Opera I've listened to
from start to finish. The work is so beautiful
you can read a book while playing it in the
background.
If you relish beauty as a food for your soul,
dig in!!!! ; )-
Matt
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