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Shostakovich;Dimitri Lady Macb [Import]

Mireille Capelle , Graham Clark , Toni Bargalló    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First class in all respects March 8 2007
Here's a great example of why I pay far more attention to Amazon's readers' reviews these days than those of the self-styled experts in the British music press.

I've known, and loved, the Rostropovich recording of this work for years, but hesitated to buy this DVD after reading a dismissive review in the Gramophone. Then I read some favourable readers' reviews on the various Amazon websites and took the plunge.

Musically and visually, this is a superb performance. Acting, singing, staging is all spot on. Christopher Ventris and Nadine Secunde in the leading roles look exactly right and are completely inside their roles, Secunde the neglected, frustrated and bored wife of a rich man, Ventris the incurable skirt-chaser. Anatoli Kotcherga is brilliant as the coarse, boorish father-in-law of Katerina, a tour-de-force of a performance. Amongst the lesser roles Graham Clark as the Shabby Peasant and Juha Kotilainen as the Chief of Police deserve special mention for both their singing and acting, and of course there's Yevgeny Nesterenko in the cameo part of the Old Convict, thunderous of voice if somewhat underpowered in the acting department.

This ending, with Katerina staring into the auditorium stunned with misery, isn't quite what Shostakovich had in mind but it works beautifully and you're in no doubt as to what her next action will be as the curtain drops. Throughout the opera, Anissimov and the Orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu play magnificently, giving us that authentic, spectral, Shostakovich sound, ably abetted by a strong chorus. Staging is representative rather than realistic, and very thought-provoking. I love what's been done with the interludes, on-stage mimes highlighting and commenting on the action.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly decadent production; thoroughly decadent opera Nov. 11 2004
By Richard - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Keep the children away; this is definitely R rated. I had heard but not seen Lady Macbeth before and was impressed. Here I am overwhelmed. My flesh crawled the last ten minutes and I finished beyond tears. This is definitely one of the five great 20th century operas. That Stalin scared Shostakovich out of opera over this counts as one of his crimes against humanity. This production takes a couple liberties with the original including the ending but makes its case powerfully. Nadine Secunde embodies Katerina in all her boredom, longing, oppression and finally despair. Her final frozen paralysis will linger with me a long time. Christopher Ventris resembles a svelt Alec Baldwin. He oozes sex. How often can you say that of a tenor? No wonder Katerina falls for him. And his betrayal of her is numbing. There is not a weak link in singing or acting throughout the huge cast. Anissimov conducts a slow performance in comparison with Rostropovich and Myung on CD (almost half an hour longer), but it does not seem slow. Indeed the production has an inevitable undertow toward disaster from the start. If you do not see this performance you are missing a milestone in 20th century opera. True there seems to be something fishy about the sound at times, as was the case in the company's Hamlet, but that is a minor irritation.
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superlative Feb. 26 2005
By Archie (Ottawa Canada) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I have long been a great fan of Petr Weigl, and gave his production of Lady MacBeth of Mtsensk 5 stars. At the time I thought that no live production could surpass it as a dramatic musical performance. I was wrong.

I bought this production because I am also a fan of Nadine Secunde and would have been prepared to overlook a few weak performances just to see what she could do with this musically and dramatically demanding role. As it turned out, not only does she do a superlative job, but so does the rest of the cast and orchestra.

Although the theatrical set could never be as good as that of the Weigl cinema production, the versatility of it and the lighting were more than appropriate and enhanced the drama. In addition, this production as all the bits that Weigl edited out.

I found the sound and the vision of the DVD very good indeed.

What with multiple camera angles and close-ups, sensitive editing has the ability to enhance the theatrical experience. This production certainly does that.

I cannot recommend it highly enough.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Check second opinion Oct. 14 2004
By Ben Lin - Published on Amazon.com
Let me leave the performance of this live recording to a later time...

I have to say that I totally DISAGREE with the previous reviewer in terms of the audio and video quality of this DVD release. On my system, the audio quality is absolutely 1st rate. No matter I used LPCM or dts5.1 for the reproduction. The sound stage and sound clarity is beautifully captured, with adequate dynamic, especially in the climax in ACT2. The video quality is first rate for today's DVD standard. (Of course, it can not compare with 1080i resultion of satellite broadcast). The lighting on stage is a matter of taste, but for most part, I think the major roles on stage are more than adequately spot-lighted. And just as a refernce data, the transport stream quatity on this DVD is close to the upper bound (mostly beyond 9 mb/s)
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most moving opera productions ever made Aug. 14 2013
By Flavio Jose Morsch - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
In my opinion Lady Macbeth in Mtsensk is te best opera written after Wozzeck. We have here 20th century modernism without dodecafonism, nor other "heavy" maneirisms. Between Webern and present minimalist "light" composers, we are glad to have had Prokofiev and Shostakovitch, who may be the best legacy from Soviet Union.

This opera is a breathtaking drama, modern however tuneful, perfectly adequate by music-libretto means, as if it was composed by R. Strauss without his romanticism.

We cannot avoid to compare Liceu-Anissimov 2004 version with Amsterdam- Jansons 2006 one.
Both of them have Ventris, more beefy in 2006, when we see also more nudity, should we like to be helped to realize Stalin s statement about "musical pornography". Both of them , at "grand finale", disguise the two drowned women unto an asfixiating murder, due to easier scenography of course.
The last act has some 8 minutes more in Liceu version, with a contemplative, thrilling,tragic,terrific glaze by N Secunde. I've never seen such an emotional-cinematographic scene since Boehm-Goetz Friedrich-Astrid Varnay Elektra and Salome. Beside, we have here nobody less than legendary Nesterenko as the Old Convict.
Economic,metaphoric and ironic directions rule both versions. May be Janson s conducting is even better than excellent Anissimov's in Barcelona. May be Eva Westbroek is a bit more sexy than Nadine Secunde.

Nevertheless, as an amazing spectacle, as a "sense of occasion", we get here in Liceu an unforgettable night.
Yes, there are liberties, there is an over mordacity, may be intending to overcome Leskov towards Gogol or even Solzhenitsyn. We know nowadays Shosta has been a veiled "enfant terrible" to Soviet regime. Surely, Stalin's rebuke was not just due to eroticism, but because comparision of Tsarist regime with Soviet regime is inevitable.
Well, if you like the old Shosta, modern opera "ma non troppo", this is a must.
My congratulations to Catalunia, which declares an Iberic culture can give World such a gorgeous Slavonic opera.

Flavio Jose Morsch

Santa Cruz do Sul, BRAZIL
18 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing. Oct. 6 2004
By DPG - Published on Amazon.com
I was very excited to see a live production of this powerful opera available on DVD, and I immediately purchased a copy. My excitement quickly turned to disappointment, however, as I watched the DVD. The Liceu production here commited to disk is poorly conceived, darkly lit, and (often) ineptly staged. Anyone who has seen David Poutney's ENO production or Graham Vick's brilliant, over-the-top Met production knows just how thrilling a piece of music theatre "Lady Macbeth..." can be, but you wouldn't know it from this humorless and dull staging. There are many questionable touches, the biggest head-scratcher being the interpolation of music from Shostakovich's 6th symphony between Acts 3 and 4, underscoring some useless business from the Shabby Peasant. The cast is not a bad one (Kotcherga's Boris is particularly notable, and none other than Evgeny Nesterenko appears as the Old Convict) but they are undone by the production and, worse, by the disk's chief technical shortcoming, truly awful sound. The singers, regardless of where they are on stage, all sound as if they are at the far end of a long, echo-y tunnel, and the orchestral sound is mushy at best. All in all, a real disappointment. Let's hope that a better production of LMMOM makes it to DVD someday. Until then, stick with the Rostropovich CD, close your eyes, and imagine.
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