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La Rondine-DVD Live From The Met [Import]

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Product Details

  • Actors: Angela Gheorghiu, Roberto Alagna, Marius Brenciu, Lisette Oropesa
  • Writers: Puccini
  • Format: Classical, NTSC, Import
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: EMI
  • Release Date: Sept. 28 2010
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • ASIN: B003Y58CLC
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa54a4cfc) out of 5 stars 38 reviews
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa53d1570) out of 5 stars Puccini's lovely lyrical opera in a performance of elegance and taste Oct. 8 2010
By Michael Birman - Published on
Format: DVD
Puccini composed his lovely lyrical opera La Rondine (The Swallow) between autumn 1913 and spring 1916. Completed during the height of the first world war, its premiere was moved to neutral territory in Monte-Carlo in 1917. The trauma of the war was an inevitable mood deflator and early audiences found it difficult to warm-up to a work fashioned after that quintessential pre-war opera: Der Rosenkavalier. A second version of La Rondine followed after the war in 1920 at Teatro Massimo, Palermo and a third version premiered many years later in Turin in 1994. La Rondine has remained at the periphery of Puccini's output until recently. Championed by Alagna and Gheorghiu, it has begun to gather momentum and the work is slowly entering the repertory.

I managed to acquire a copy of this DVD in Europe so eager was I to see this production again. Originally broadcast January 10, 2009 in theaters in high definition, this standard definition DVD still looks good with beautifully crisp, densely saturated colors and superb DTS 5.1 and PCM 2,0 sound. This production is gorgeous with a generous sampling of Art Deco furniture and 1920s period costumes that are vibrant and beautiful. The staging is energetic with that sense of life that is so important for a successful realization of a Puccini opera. All performances are exemplary with those of bass Samuel Ramey and the two leads especially good. Alagna is in fine voice and his acting is stoic and solid but it is Gheorghiu who is riveting in her touching portrayal of the newly freed 'swallow' from a lifetime of caged confinement. Her acting has rarely if ever been better. She is as vulnerable as Mimi, as resolute as Tosca but always herself. Gheorghiu owns this role at the moment and she is creating a template for future performances. Her voice is beautifully lyrical with a lilting purity that matches her characterization perfectly. It is a hard heart indeed that will fail to be moved by her flame-like performance.

Puccini's music has never been more elegant or beautiful. It is amazing that this lovely opera remains so little heard. With performances as brilliant as this one I doubt that will continue for much longer. If you are a devotee of Puccini you will probably love this staging of his still rarely performed but nearly perfect creation: La Rondine. It is a performance of rare elegance and taste, suffused with the autumnal musical beauty of an artist at twilight.

Mike Birman
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa53d16c0) out of 5 stars A Wonderful Performance with a Few Caveats Jan. 23 2011
By Marc Musnick - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have been a champion of this opera for many years. I always wince when someone calls it a minor effort on Puccini's part. This is one of his most plush and romantic scores, at least I think so. And the story is believable and bittersweet as the two leads end their love affair, wiser but sadder.

The DVD's audio and visual quality is superb. I do not have an HD TV set or a Blue Ray player but my Sony Vega Trinitron bursts into color and clarity from the first moment.

Life seems to imitate art here. When I first saw this performance as an HD simulcast, there were rumors about Gheorghiu and Alagna's marriage falling apart which makes the ending sadder. And there is that little exchange the couple has with hostess Fleming that was embarrassing then as it is now.

Never-the-less, she's in wonderful voice here and sings with the same attention to the text and music she displays on the EMI recording made almost a decade before this performance. When I saw the simulcast, an announcement was made that she was ill but agreed to sing that afternoon. The first aria which is a punishing one at that to sing almost immediately after the first act begins, is a little on the rough side without the ease she usually displays in her upper register. But she does warm up fairly quickly with her voice at full volume over the huge ensemble in the second act. Alagna is showing signs of vocal decline. High notes are challenging here and his tone has lost much of its lovely luster, probably from singing too many heavy roles and never really learning how to sing. He cuts a handsome figure on stage, as always, and is convincing as a naïve young man from the provinces who finds love his first night in Paris. The least said about veteran bass-baritone Samuel Ramey, the better. Although cast in a small role, one could even say a comprimario role, this wonderful artist's time has come to leave the stage.

I love the production although I would have preferred it stage during opera's real period.

The conducting and the choral work are first rate Met. This is an excellent performance despite my reservations about Alagna's vocal problems and the fact that Ramey's voice is extremely well past it's shelf life.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa53d1630) out of 5 stars Great music, great singing, great acting! Dec 3 2010
By Stuart Atkinson - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
My wife and I saw this on an HD Live broadcast as well as at the Met in Lincoln Center.
I apologize for my non-musical adjectives but this opera is cute, enjoyable, fun, beautiful and full of smiles.
For anyone who thinks opera is for old starched shirts, check this one out and you will be hooked on this art form!!
We have seen scores of operas, most are enjoyable, some are wonderful. This La Rondine is by far one of my favorites!!
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa53d178c) out of 5 stars Absolutely Delightful Performance Feb. 18 2011
By Colston - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The music is beautiful. The performance is so delightful that one wants to play it over and over again, and I did. Then, why is it that this opera is so seldom performed? There was a gap of 73 years between two MET performances (1936 and 2009). Angela Gheorghiu's response was "This is a difficult opera to perform", without saying why. My translation: it is difficult to put together four main characters like the present four. Angela is becoming one of my all-time favorite sopranos. Lisette Oropesa as Lisette is so cute and feminine. She adds so much charm. Even Roberto Alagna, the weakest of the four, delivers an emotion-packed performance.

The Amazon reviews are helpful. Thanks to Ivy Lin's comments, coupled with the abominable reviews of Marta Domingo in the Washington National Opera (WNO) version, the decision on which DVD to buy was easy. The ending could not be better. It is simultaneously serene and passionate. As a result, the final love scene comes across powerful, something that stabbing and violence cannot deliver. It helps to have Samuel Ramey slip in quietly in the dark background at the very end.....subtle and imaginative, accompanied by beautiful melodies. It is Puccini to the very end.

I saw the ending of the WNO version on Utube, and detested it. Having said that, WNO is still my favorite opera company, just as the Washington Redskins is my favorite sports team - in spite of Marta Domingo and Dan Snyder. Marta Domingo disrespects Puccini, and thinks she can do better. She is destroying this beautiful opera. She did not earn her position as a director at WNO. There is corruption in opera, just as in politics.

This La Rondine version will pass the test of time in memorable fashion.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa53d17bc) out of 5 stars an amazing DVD March 19 2011
By David Smith - Published on
Format: DVD
Of the four DVD versions of La Rondine that I own this is the most satisfying. The video director, Brian Large, has taken the stage production and crafted an intimate, visual treat. His use of close ups creates an intimacy not available to the audience present in a 3600 seat opera house. The experience was breathtaking and emotionally riveting. I was not able to get tickets to the MET for any of the performances. I did however see the HD broadcast at a local theater -- in the theater I thought that the images were washed out and the color pallette pale, not so with this DVD. The use of earth colors for the set and virtually every other costume except for those worn by Ms Gheorghiu provides a striking contrast. The images are good. The vocal performances are very satisfying. My only complaint is that while recording in high definition the MET is only putting out standard DVDs of its programs. This program would be worth the price of blu ray for the enhanced image resolution and the better quality sound; I would love to hear this performance in DTS master HD audio. If you have never seen La Rondine or think that this is a "light weight" minor opera you must watch this version. I think you will change your mind and grow to love this work.