I first bought this work on CD back in the eighties and I immediately had a profound longing for a visual experience to go along with Delius' gorgeous score. A few years later, my wish was granted with this film by Petr Weigl which I was able to buy on Laserdisc. It fulfilled my every expectation in spite of the fact that the actors were all lip-synching. (Many opera-goers would agree that the majority of "real" opera singers are bad actors anyway. At least in this visually gorgeous film, the characters all LOOK right for their parts, something that frequently is not the case on stage.) I think Gerald Fenech on classical.net says it best,
"Delius' beautiful opera takes on a new lease of life in this splendidly directed film by Petr Weigl. The music is provided by the highly recommended recording with Mackerras and the ORF Symphony whilst the acting by the doubles (who obviously don't sing) is adequate enough.
Whilst obviously relishing this gorgeous orchestral score, I was consistently moved by the exquisite scenery portrayed by the director, truly recreating a Swiss village lost in time with some stupendous nature scenes.
Weigl's direction allows for a certain amount of artistic liberty that culminates in a ravishing rendition of the 'Walk to the Paradise Garden', a touching moment of rare beauty that is also replicated in the equally moving Finale. I cannot imagine this drama being better enacted.
The late Christopher Palmer writes a lengthy and essential essay for the booklet notes which delve into great detail that is very much a must have for the seasoned Delian. One may lament the absence of a libretto but the CD version will probably be in most collectors' libraries anyway.
Still, the real bonus on this DVD is the hour-long documentary entitled, 'Discovering Delius'. This is another moving historical document described in fastidious detail and very artistical, with some invaluable contributions by that great man, Eric Fenby. This alone is worth the price of the whole issue."
P.S. The CD release is the actual score that was used in the film and to which the actors lip-sync. The accompanying CD booklet is very comprehensive with the libretto and copious notes. Incidentally, what Gerald Fenech means by "a certain amount of artistic liberty" is that in the film "The Paradise Gardens" is an actual garden wheras in the original, it is the name of the inn where the lovers spend the night, etc.