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Aleksis Kivi (2011)

 NR |  DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: Finnish (Dolby Digital 5.1), Finnish (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: Finnish, English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Ondine
  • DVD Release Date: April 26, 2011
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004P96WEU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #362,987 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Aleksis Kivi, who died in 1872 at the age of only 38, is Finland's national writer, the first notable author of plays, poetry and novels in the Finnihs language. The libretto for the opera draws on Kivi's own texts and poems, along with the writings of hi

Customer Reviews

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superlative performance and staging May 3, 2011
Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of this opera since the CDs hopped the ocean in 2002. Here, with Hynninen (who created the role in 1997) in the title role and an excellent supporting cast, we get this great DVD treatment.

It's been a long time since I've been so impressed with a piece of music/drama. The opera follows the tragic life story of Aleksis Kivi, Finland's national writer, as he progresses (first) through an idyllic period of early success, a period of harsh criticism by August Ahlqvist (played brilliantly and sinisterly here), and a final drunken, depressed, schizophrenic breakdown.

Hynninen's performance is the main draw, but Rusanen as young Kivi acquits himself more than well (and looks suspiciously like that Kivi statue in Helsinki), and the other players, particularly the chorus, all seem perfectly cast for both physicality and voice. Everyone acts well, too, making Kivi's final moments as he sings his heart's song that much more moving. Although there is the modern proclivity for a cluttered stage in this production (Kivi never seems to be alone!), for the most part it works, and the early scenes with moving woodland scenery as well as the final scene with Kivi in the DTs lend the proceedings a sense of mystical realism of which Kivi himself would have approved.

This is one of the best-done and best-made opera DVDs I have seen. The subtitles (in English and Finnish) are nearly perfect and free of grammatical errors; the sound quality is superb and the camerawork is subtle and effective (no ugly closeups here). The added featurette with Rautavaara, Hynninen and Planck (the conductor) is a pleasant bonus. Recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tragic literary figure becomes fascinating opera June 2, 2011
Einojuhani Rautavaara has written hundreds of excellent works in all genres, from chamber music to opera. His compositional voice over the past thirty plus years has moved him from the realm of atonality to a sound world wherein orchestral color, tonality, tonal center and a sense of imagery has taken over. He has also become quite renowned and well known outside his native Finland, thanks to some brilliant recordings of his music receiving world wide distribution, such as those put out by Ondine. This new DVD performance of his opera, "Aleksis Kivi", is from its premiere performance run at the Savonlinna Opera Festival, Finland in 1997. The conductor is Mikko Franck, who is well acquainted with Rautavaara's music and has conducted some of his other operas before. In this case, the music is once again the star of the experience, featuring moments of rustic folk elements such as the third act "drinking song" and its sardonic allusion to Kivi's own descent into alcoholism as well as some practically atmospheric beauty. The opening quotations from Aleksis Kivi's own poem "Melancholy" and certainly the closing "Song of my Heart" are beautiful, slowly chromatic in their pacing and - ultimately - sad. The title character was one of Finland's earliest post-Russian authors, writing highly symbolic poetry and novels reflecting the not always pleasant life of the Finnish people and in native Finnish; at a time when many of the country's authorities were trying to redefine the culture; to make it more like Sweden, even if the language and culture of the rural Finns could get lost in the process. Read more ›
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