If you're interested in opera, in Prokofiev, in theatre, you must have these DVDs. I bought them for a friend this Christmas, to whom I sent the following message, which is not a detailed review I admit, but sums up my opinion:
"I swear to you these are absolutely the best opera DVDs I've ever seen. You watch them like a movie. You're hooked. The singers are good-looking. The lighting is superb. The costumes are outstanding. The scenes are shot like paintings. You're proud of the Opéra National [author's note: we both live in Paris] and glad to pay income tax. I saw the same opera at the Met - not at all the same result: dime-store sets, badly-cut costumes, ridiculous extras..."
This, I believe, is one of those rare productions in which nearly everything is right and what's more, any shortcomings it may have had in the theatre (Nathan Gunn was a little under-powered for a theatre the size of the Bastille, for example) disappear in the DVDs, while things such as costume detail (pretty amazing) come to life.
The reasons to have these DVDs are therefore several. They're a record of a great modern production (this is really one of Francesca Zambello's most successful); the performance is at a high level; they offer an example of what the Paris opera, with the generously unstinting support of the happy taxpayer, can achieve at its very best; they're as gripping as any movie...
For all these reasons, jump at them. By the way, I have no financial stake in this venture whatsoever!