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Alfano: Cyrano de Bergerac [Blu-ray] [Import]

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Product Details

  • Format: Classical, NTSC, Import
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: French, English, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Naxos
  • Release Date: May 31 2011
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
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Product Description

Cyrano De Bergerac

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x98d1ab28) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98bb5c9c) out of 5 stars Appealing Non-Masterpiece With One Great Scene April 7 2010
By James S. Eisenberg - Published on
Format: DVD
Franco Alfano, was the last of the true Verismo composers. He died in 1954.
Best known as the man who completed Puccini's TURANDOT, he in fact wrote several operas of his own, and had a larger output of concert works than most of the Italians of his generation.
CYRANO DE BERGERAC written to a French libretto by Henri Cain is a more than passable example of the opera of its period. Originally written in French, the first performance used an Italian translation.It was premiered in 1936.
The current performance reverts to the French text.
The score has the greatest virtues of the Verismo school, gorgeous orchestration and harmonic richness. It also suffers from the principal defect of the style, a tendency to overly sentimental melody and overly emotional climaxes.
That said, there is one scene which is a true emotional knockout. This is the second scene of Act II when Cyrano first pretends to be the voice of Christian, reciting verses to woo Roxane. Alfano (and the stage production) perfectly capture Cyrano's and Roxane's growing love and Christian's perplexity as he realizes that things are not quite going as planned. The scene well deserves the ovation it gets at its climax, and it is not just the really magnificent work of Placido Domingo, Sondra Radvanovsky and Arturo Chacon Cruz, but the ovation is also a tribute to Alfano's precise emotional judgment. Sadly, the rest of the score doesn't attain to this level.
The three above mentioned soloists are superb throughout, and the supporting cast is very fine.
The sound recording is excellent, and the slightly abstract stage production works very well.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98bbfa50) out of 5 stars High praise for Sondra Radvanovsky Nov. 30 2010
By Sergio Court - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A long overdue video tribute to the Alfano masterpiece and a great complement to the Roberto Alagna performance.Domingo is admirable as usual,showing us than even at age 66 (in 2007),he had preserved his tonal effects.I saw his performance of this opera on Oct.2010 in San Francisco,and the voice sounded as beautiful.Another great contribution of this video is to familiarize the average viewer with the formidable voice and stage presence of american soprano Sondra Radvanovsky,whom I also had the privilege of watching in San Francisco (2009) in Verdi's Il Trovatore (she almost stole the show away from superstar russian bariton Dmitri Hvorostovsky).
Like many other masterworks,this score greatly benefits from repeated auditions,so this release is the perfect vehicle.Also it
may help to expand the already high reputation of The Liceu Theater,already made legendary by the recent complete Wagner's Ring
cycle under Zubin Mehta (available also on Blu Ray)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98bbf1bc) out of 5 stars An opera with panache May 25 2011
By Keris Nine - Published on
Format: Blu-ray
The story of Edmond Rostand's epic romantic drama Cyrano de Bergerac (1897) should be known to most audiences from the various film versions that have been made - some of them even predating Alfano's 1937 opera - the most notable being Gérard Depardieu's performance as the long-nosed poet in Jean-Paul Rappeneau's popular French film from 1990, but it may also be known to more through Steve Martin's modern updating of the role in Roxane. The story however is essentially the same, that of a man with an exceedingly large nose that disfigures his face, who believes that he is ugly and unworthy of the love of his beautiful cousin Roxane. Working closely to Rostand's original text, Rappeneau's film captured all the comedy, wit, romance and tragedy of the situation, retaining the verse format of the original, and did it so well that it's impossible for anyone who knows and loves the film version not to measure up Franco Alfano's opera against it. It has to be said that the opera compares very favourably, working so naturally that one wonders why it isn't better known and more frequently performed.

Alfano, who is now only really known for the rarely performed Cyrano and for completing Puccini's final opera Turandot after the composer's death, only succeeds intermittently in finding the right tone and melody to engage the audience in the drama, but he is wholly convincing in the areas where it counts most - in the romantic expressions of love between Cyrano (acting on behalf of a more handsome rival) and Roxane. The arias and duets that consolidate the nature of their love ("Sens tu mon âme un peu dans cette ombre qui monte?" and "Je lisais, je relisais. J'étais à toi") achieve a perfect expression of the highly florid nature of the romantic declarations and the underlying depth and sincerity of the sentiments with all the mastery of a student of Puccini. If it were just for these two arias alone, Alfano's Cyrano de Bergerac does complete justice to the work, but there is great skill in how the essence of the story fits around it. The dramatic action is somewhat condensed in the opera but it retains all the essential qualities that make the work so charming and doesn't lose a fraction of the emotional depth or spirit of the original.

It does so of course, because that is the great strength of opera, allowing expression of such elements through the music and the singing, and Alfano plays to these strengths. In the film version, I find Roxane comes across as somewhat bland, insipid and superficial, and you need to will a sense of disbelief to understand what inspires such passion in Cyrano apart from her beauty, but here she has a much more active role and is much better characterised, principally through the musical arrangements, and, of course through the singing. Here we have Sondra Radvanovsky, who conveys the full force of her character's nature and passion through her singing, if not so well in her acting or facial expressions. Rod Gilfry is marvellous as De Guiche, actually almost making his character sympathetic and less of a moustache-twirling villain. Arturo Chacón Cruz is fine as Christian, but it's a thankless role that has no real arias and is always upstaged by Cyrano. As Cyrano, you couldn't have anyone more charismatic than Plácido Domingo. His French diction isn't the strongest, but he has all the passion and charm that the swashbuckling hero demands and is in fine voice in his 121st role.

The staging at the Palau des Arts in Valencia is fine, striking a good balance between the period and a modern approach to staging it, without introducing any incongruous elements. The stage however is a little dark and the recording, even in High Definition on the Blu-ray, doesn't enable you to see the detail and the overall impact of it all. The audio, even in lossless LPCM stereo and DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1, is also lacking, but mainly due to how it was recorded. The microphones are clearly far from the singers, as there is a lot of ambient noise and stage clatter, the singing sounding rather echoing, occasionally drowning out the rather thin orchestration but at other times being overwhelmed by it. For the most part however, the qualities of the singing, the music and the opera itself are no less evident. Overall, it's a slightly imperfect live recording, but an otherwise fine presentation and performance of an opera that really deserves to be better known.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Alfredo R. Villanueva - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I was lucky to catch the Met's production with Domingo, which was transmitted live on TV but not recorded. The production from the Palau Reina Sofia in Valencia more than matches it in utter sumptiousness. Domingo has no competition whatsoever in this role. I have everything he has ever recorded on DVD. He is aptly partnered by Sondra Radvanovsky, in radiant voice, as Roxane. Arturo Chacón Cruz and Rod Gilfry both contribute to the drama with their voices and their acting. I happen to be a devoted fan of verismo, though most of its operas remain unperformed II own Alfano's only other available recording: "Risurrezione", which I also recommend highly
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98bb5b64) out of 5 stars Domingo for the Ages! Dec 11 2013
By Mastercard - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I collect all or as many Domingo's work as possible. I love his voice. This is also a good Opera. I highly recommend it.