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Rudy Avila "Saint Seiya" (Lennox, Ca United States)
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Die Fledermaus
Die Fledermaus
Offered by langton_distribution
Price: CDN$ 15.07
9 used & new from CDN$ 11.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Die Fledermaus Cheap Amd Excellent, Sept. 12 2002
This review is from: Die Fledermaus (Audio CD)
The greatest Die Fledermaus ? Perhaps not. The most acclaimed is the Vienna Symphony Orchestra conducted by Carlos Kleiber with performers Varady and Lucia Popp. There are other recordings, some of which I have searched without any success. Where is one with Beverly Sills in the role of Rosalinde or Adele ? And any of the festive performances given at the Vienna Opernball every New Years ? But this cheap but effective cd contains all the key moments, and will leave you laughing and smiling at the charm that was old 19th century operetta. Johan Strauss the Waltz King has created a comedy that sparkles with wit, irony and humor that can almost pass for something Mozart might have written. Rosalinde, the romantic lady of leisure, dreams of her lover Alfred, eventhough she is married to her husband Eisenstein. Alfred returns his love for Rosalinde and serenades her (Act I). Rosalinde's feisty Adele, a near parody of Susanna in Nozze Di Figaro) is excited she has been invited to a masked ball. Rosalinde will stay and have a dinner with Alfred her lover, but Eisenstein, disguised as a bat, will be involved in a prank pulled by his witty friend Dr. Falke. The ball scene is the most famous, full of rousing choruses and brindisis and waltzes, and lastly, the wrap-up of the whole thing: Eisenstien discovers he has been made a fool in a prank and his wife gets away with adultery, beautifully and creatively sung in the trios in the prison scene. Drink up!

Eugene Onegin: Comp
Eugene Onegin: Comp
4 used & new from CDN$ 11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Eugene Onegin At Its Best! The Most Romantic Russian Opera, Sept. 9 2002
This review is from: Eugene Onegin: Comp (Audio CD)
Petery Ilych Tchaikovsky, best known for his ballets, was a true romantic. Covering every aspect of late 19th century music, he took up all sorts of challenges, symphonies, religious music, tone poems, chamber music, piano concerti and opera. Eugene Onegin is not his only opera, as he composed at least four or six other lesser known operas, among them Queen of Spades. But Eugene Onegin stands out as his finest opera and it is, as a whole, the most romantic Russian opera. In the same tradition as Verdi's La Traviata and Puccini's La Boheme, this oh so tragic tale of unfulfillable love in the beautiful countryside and imperial ballrooms of Moscow, based on a Russian novel, takes us on an incredibly touching musical journey. This particular recording is the best, and all the reviews made so far about this is true. The conductor, a Russian (thank God), the performers (all Russian) and the Paris Orchestra, add the perfect Russian, but elegant
Western and European tastes that Tchaikovsky would have loved to see performed. Tatiana and Onegin have terrific chemistry in the last duet, the Letter Scene and the Waltz are all perfectly captured in its most intimate and essential manifestation. I highly recommend this opera to anyone who loves romantic tragedy, beautifully orchestrated music and Russian opera at its best.

Doctor Zhivago (Widescreen Special Edition, 2 Discs)
Doctor Zhivago (Widescreen Special Edition, 2 Discs)
DVD ~ Omar Sharif
Offered by tonypotenza
Price: CDN$ 42.73
15 used & new from CDN$ 6.93

5.0 out of 5 stars A Romantic Masterpiece, Sept. 8 2002
Romance. We are drawn to it with its profound beauty and we cannot escape its pull. When a good romance, tragic or happy, is played out on the screen, and when its score has beautiful music, and when there is much to see and discuss about the film's look and historic detail, that's when you know it's a classic. I like to think of romantic films as a trinity with other romantic films under its three deities. The first film in the trinity is Gone With The Wind, the second is Doctor Zhivago and the third is Titanic. Doctor Zhivago was filmed in the mid 60's, Pasternak had written the Russian novel years before. The story is set against the wake of the WWI Revolution in which the entire nation of the once Imperial Russia fell to Communism. Doctor Zhivago ( the sexy Omar Shariff) is a well-to-do doctor who lives with a Victorian, obedient and boring wife (played by Geraldine Chaplin) and has always secretly loved (or lusted) after Lara, who becomes his mistress and later the source of poetry and mystery in the film. As war breaks out, Zhivago joins the front as an surgeon, where he meets Lara working as a nurse. After the war and as Communists have seized Russia, Lara's, now with child, husband a lieutenant, is no where to be found and is possibly turned Communist himself. When Zhivago, his wife (who is expecting a child), Lara and her daughter move out into the countryside, the affair between Zhivago and Lara begins. This is the most romanticized adultery ever made. Why ? There has been others you say...Lancelot and Guenevere, Hester Prynne and Dimsdale in the Scarlet Letter. But the Doctor Zhivago/Lara romance is interesting because, although no one really knows it and perhaps it is merely my own interpretation, Zhivago loves Lara and his wife equally. OF course, the focus is the illicit affair, as is expected in all adultery-related films and novels, but Zhivago becomes a true romantic when we discover how deeply he feels for both women. During the snowstorm, he is nearly dying and he calls out for his wife and for Lara, just as any one would cry out for their loved ones when they die. He writes romantic poetry and letters to a mysterious someone, and we always conclude that it is Lara. Perhaps it is. Perhaps it is his wife. Perhaps both women. Perhaps its neither and he is writing to Love, universal, eternal, divine. The music is sweeping, lush and carries out the action and romance very effectively. The imagery is also very appealing, especially the scenes in which a contemplative Zhivago looks over a thick forest off the train and is intoxicated with a sort of Impressionist reverie, and the same applies to Zhivago looking at the field of yellow daffodils, which any Impressionist artist would have loved to depict in their art. The score by Maurice Jarre is impressive, brilliantly orchestrated and elegant, especially striking is the Russian and Romantic Era Tchaikovsky-esque flavor of Lara's Theme. The balalaika, a stringed Russian guitar, is heard often enough and becomes the gift that Zhivago's daughter by Lara takes with her at the end of the novel, and symbolically, the gift of love, sacrifice (which Zhivago does himself for BOTH his women) and creativity and romance that must be passed to every person now and forever.

The Lathe of Heaven
The Lathe of Heaven
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 174.27
6 used & new from CDN$ 74.96

5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Sci-Fi Movie Ever Made That Was Not As Popular, Sept. 8 2002
This review is from: The Lathe of Heaven (DVD)
What makes a great sci-fi movie ? Visual effects ? Good performances from the actors ? The answer is really simple. It takes its theme, its meaning and its content as well as its creativity. 2001: A Space Odyssey, also adapted from a classic sci-fi novel, comes first to people's minds when they think of the greatest sci-fi movie. I enjoyed the film as well and understand the fascination with audiences to the entire scientific, speculative, space-time themes, alien forces in obelisks and of course, the conniving computer HAL. But author Le Guin (Left Hand Of Darkness) wrote a book which, in my opinion, is the greatest science fiction tale ever made, yet to be surpassed. When, in 1980, it was released as a film, it was the first film broadcast on PBS, the greatest tv channel ever made. Ad a film, it is stunning, symbolic, allegorical, frightening in its intensity and beautiful in it theme of transcience and eternal struggles of good and evil. George Orr, played by an actor who talks and looks somewhat like Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), is a neurotic young man who undertakes involuntary therapy in the future, a world that has survived a great global destruction. His therapist hypnotizes him and uses a machine to tap into his mind as he discovers that his dreams affect present reality. We discover also, that it has been his dreams that has altered human history since the Stone Age all the way to the Armaggedon, nuclear Holocaust that destroyed the world "before April." The therapist, although well-meaning in his quest to vanquish racism, disease, world hunger and all the major problems in the world, only ends up destroying more than he creates. The therapist/doctor has been labeled as the film's villain, which is not what Leguin herself intended. The therapist is good, as all people are innately good. We remember the line when he tells George Orr, "we are going to make the world right." But the elemental forces of nature cannot be controlled by neither God or man, and regardless of our noble intentions, there are dark consequences every time we try do to something to better ourselves. Life, all life, in the past, now and in the future, can only be composed of creative and destructive forces, good and evil, in a yin-yang balance that is eternal and necessary for there to be existence. The interpretation I made the first time I viewed the film was this, although you may interpret any which way you'd like - the individual (George Orr), each of us, man or woman, is an instrument or sum of nature and we are as if part of a bigger dream or series of dreams that is our lifetime, the dreams ending completely when we die. In order to be truly happy, we must always do good, we must be ourselves and not sacrifice neither or individuality nor compassion and humanity- something the doctor seems to have done in a drunken pursuit of power. As for meaning in our life, yes, there is meaning, when we find a religion, belief, career, marriage, love, ANY relationship, and friendship and the meaning of every collective person makes up a beautiful dream, and the dream is over when we die. It was very obvious that the therapist doctor was a parody of religion, or God himself (He tells Orr when he abandons his clinic "You will be back! Without me there is no hope"something no person can do alone in his or her lifetime, and the patient is people altogether. The therapist/patient relationships becomes God/man relationship and the entire meaning of life. This is more profound than even the message in 2001: A Space Odyssey. This voyage into inner space, outer space and everywhere at once, is the most fascinating film ever made about science fiction and the mystery of the universe. I recommend everyone to see this film I urge teachers to read this book to college or high school level students. It's about nothing. It's about everything. It's about what is, what is not and what is to be. Like one of George Orr's dreams.

Gigi (Widescreen/Full Screen)
Gigi (Widescreen/Full Screen)
DVD ~ Leslie Caron
Offered by SURPLUSDVD NEW YORK
Price: CDN$ 6.44
12 used & new from CDN$ 2.84

5.0 out of 5 stars A Charming Romantic Musical Classic!, Sept. 6 2002
Vincente Minnelli, director responsible for such musicals as Meet Me In St. Louis (with Judy Garland who became his wife) and the father of current singer Liza Minnelli, really reached an apex in his career with the making of Gigi. Gigi is based on French female writer Gabrielle Colette's short novel about a Paris girl in the 19th century trained by her doting aunts to live the life of a courtesan. She is, nevertheless, the attraction to the story. Not only do we see Gigi grow and ultimately fall in love and marry a man no one expected- decadent playboy Gaston. Gigi is played by Leslie Caron, a ballerina turned actress who was the equal(and looks a lot like the more famous Audrey Hepburn). Leslie Caron's performance is charming, striking and very well made, her chemistry with Gaston (played by Louis Jordan), her interactions with her aunts and the fatherly presence of Maurice Chevalier is all part of a rich tapestry of the musical. The costumes are by Cecil Beaton, who was also the clothing designer for My Fair Lady. The music is riveting, waltz-like and as charming as any operetta, the songs, especially "Gigi", "Thank Heavens For Little Girls" "The Night They Invented Champagne " and "The Parisians" are all perfectly snug in this delightful story about a young woman, an older man, love, money, pleasure and growth. The entire film is as sugary and as tasty as a French dessert. Viva Gigi!

Red Shoes (Full Screen)
Red Shoes (Full Screen)
DVD ~ Anton Walbrook
Price: CDN$ 44.60
13 used & new from CDN$ 16.56

5.0 out of 5 stars A Must See For Ballet Fans, Sept. 4 2002
This review is from: Red Shoes (Full Screen) (DVD)
The 1948 classic film starring Moira Shearer (herself a professional ballerina) is no only an enjoyable semi-realistic fantasy film, in much the same lines as say The Wizard Of Oz, but a brilliant film technically to look at. It's drawn from the dark fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson (responsible for such stories as The Little Mermaid), in which a young girl is forced to wear red shoes with a will of their own. The poor girl dances until she dies. The concept is taken to a late 40's England, where the aspiring ballerina Victoria Page seeks to dance in the prestigious company headed by the eccentric, perfectionist and intensely driven impresario Lentmontov. The story provides the audience with a glimpse of dance rehearsals, theatrical life both pre-performance and during, the charm of the glamourosu life ballerinas are said to enjoy. But in reality, it is a study on obscession, the demand for virtuouso performance and the conflict between love of one's career and romantic love. Victoria Page is herself doomed to dance to her death when she is torn between her duty to Lentmontov and her love for his musical composer and choreographer. This movie is excellent for ballet fans, and for stage magic fans- the Ballet of the Red Shoes is the most striking moment in the film, an original ballet set against surreal, nightmarish backgrounds of carnivals, ballrooms and ghostly netherworlds where neon lights change colors in blinding and dizzying speed and danced to jazzy 40's music. The film is sure to impress adults (I disagree that it is for children due to the drama of the whole thing), and it is marvelously shot in Paris, London and Monte Carlo. A film like this does'nt come often.

The Top 100 Masterpieces of Classical Music, Vol. 6-10
The Top 100 Masterpieces of Classical Music, Vol. 6-10

5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Collection Of Romantic Era Music, Sept. 4 2002
The Top 100 Classical Music series is a must have for novices of classical music, or someone already into the classics but wishes to amassa an "essentials" collection. This particular cd's span the Romantic Era, and although the 19th century saw much more music than what is covered on these recordings, this is nevertheless a brilliant and essential body of works. The Wedding March of Mendelsshon's Midsummer Night's Dream (played in weddings all over the world I'm assuming), Franz Lizst Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 (The Looney Tunes Theme Music by the way) and other jewels of the era, such as the Blue Danube Waltz by Johann Strauss, the operetta overtures of Franz Von Suppe, Verdi's preludes to such operas as Nabucco and La Traviata, Wagner's intense, dramatic music for his Ring of the Nibelung operas, regarded as the epitome and the zenith of Romantic Era opera, and the music of other composers such as Tchaikovsky, Bizet, Sibelius, Rimsky Korsakov and many others. I highly recommend this cd to anyone wanting to sample and taste what Romantic Era music was all about. Five stars all the way.

The Great Brain Reforms
The Great Brain Reforms
by John Fitzgerald
Edition: Paperback
13 used & new from CDN$ 19.88

5.0 out of 5 stars An Unforgettable Classic: A Must Read, Sept. 3 2002
John D. Fitzgerald, in the tradition of Mark Twain, wrote a semi-fictitious account of his childhood as a Mormon in Utah. The milieu and time for "The Great Brain" series is a Victorian, early 1900's era, making the stories more in the lines of Tom Sawyer and Huck Fynn. But that does not belittle this timeless classic written in the 70's. The Great Brain is in fact an interesting character to follow. The stories are told from the point of view of his younger brother, as he follows him through many schemes (all of which are money scams) and escapades, which somehow wind down to moral lessons. The Great Brain is a humorous, brilliant and witty work of historic fiction that is sure to touch every reader in some way. I first read the series as a young child myself, growing up in much the same way The Great Brain does- a strict religious family that promotes hard work and academic education. These stories are hard to find nowadays, Victorian morales having slipped away somehow in our modern day. I am glad to know that Amazon.com still has these great books and I recommend them to everyone, young and old. For me, reading the novels was a form of escape, as well as an insightful glimpse of a time that was far more innocent than our own- the violent gangs of today and MTV, Britney Spears, Joy of Pepsi, Ossie Osbourne generation compare nothing to the rebelliousnes of the Great Brain. All of the books are enjoyable, and it is not until the last book in the series, "The Great Brain Reforms" (the name says it all) that we discover the startling growth and changes the punky, swindling, intelligent adult-trapped in the body of a child Great Brain undergoes. A Must Read.

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