I Puritani / The Opera Gala / The Berlin Concert)

BELLINI: I Puritani
Anna Netrebko (Elvira); Eduardo Valdes (Bruno); Franco Vassallo (Riccardo);John Relyea (Giorgio); Eric Cutler (Arturo); Valerian Ruyminski (Gualtiero); Ballet, Chorus and Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera/Patrick Summers, cond.
DGG DVD BLU-RAY VIDEO 0734489 TT: 149 min + 22 min bonus
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"THE OPERA GALA"
BELLINI: Overture, "Mira, O Norma" and "Casta Diva" from Norma. Recitative and aria "Or dove fuggo io mai? - Ah! per sempre io ti perdei - Bel sogno beato"from I Puritani. DONIZETTI: "Una furtiva lagrima" from L'elisir d'amore. ROSSINI: "Nacqui all'affanno e al pianto" from La Cenerentola. "La Danza." VERDI: "E lui...Desso!...L'infante! - Dio, che nell'alma infondere." "Felice ancor io son - Per me giunto è il di supremo - lo morrò, ma lieto in core" from Don Carlo. "Un di, se ben rammentomi - Bella figlia dell'amore" from Rigoletto." "Oh! fede negar potessi - Quando le sere al placido" from Luisa Miller. "Libiamo ne' lieti calici" from La traviata. SAINT-SAËNS: Bacchanale. "Mon couvre à ta voiz" from Samson et Dalila. DELIBES: "Viens, Mallika - Dome épais, le jasmin" from Lakmé. PUCCINI: O soave fanciulla from La Bohème. BIZET: "Au fond du temple saint" from Les Pecheurs de perles. "Votre toast, je peux vous le rendre - Toréador, en garde!" from Carmen. LEHÁR: "Mine Lippen, sie küssen so heiss" from Giuditta.
Anna Netrebko, soprano; Elina Garanca, mezzo-soprano; Ramón Vargas, tenor; Ludovic Tézier, baritone; SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden und Freiberg/Marco Armiliato, cond.
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHOHN DVD TT: 138 min.
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"THE BERLIN CONCERT"
Music from Nabucco, Otello, La traviata, L'Arlesiana, Cavalleria rusticana, Gianni Schicchi, La Bohème, Le Mage, Carmen, Les Pecheurs de perles, Semiramide, Giuditta, West Side Story, Das Land des Lächens; music of Grever, De Curtis, Rendine and Sorozabál
Plácido Domingo and Rolando Villazón, tenors; Anna Netrebko, soprano; Berlin Opera Orch/Marco Armilato, cond.
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON DVD TT: 110 min
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I Puritani is a Live From the Met telecast of January 6, 2007. The cast is uniformly strong, with Anna Netrebko in fine form, not as perfect as she would be under studio conditions, but always a pleasure to watch. She takes chances, and sings part of the second act Mad Scene on her back with her head hanging over the orchestra pit. Between acts, there are two short interviews with Renée Fleming, unfortunately not placed at the end of the DVD. This production has been around for three decades and looks it—nothing extreme here, with luxurious costumes. I found video and audio quality to be lower than what usually is seen and heard from Met productions. A Blu-Ray issue really wasn't necessary.

"The Opera Gala" and "The Berlin Concert" were reviewed previously on this site (Gala REVIEW), Berlin REVIEW). Both are of extreme interest for vocal collectors, and highly enjoyable. Now we have them on Blu-Ray, at a higher price. Original DVD issues were of extraordinary quality; there's little, if any, difference between those and the Blu-Rays. Save your money—but get both.

R.E.B. (December 2008)

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