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Birtwistle: The Minotaur [Blu-ray]

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Editorial Reviews

This world premiere of a gripping new work by composer Harrison Birtwistle and librettist David Harsent, commissioned by The Royal Opera, brings the monstrous, Greek mythological character to the stage. The Minotaur, part man, part beat, trapped in his la

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: John Tomlinson, Christine Rice, Andrew Watts, Philip Langridge, Antonio Pappano
  • Directors: Stephen Langridge, Jonathan Haswell
  • Writers: Harrison Birtwistle, David Harsent
  • Producers: Royal Opera House, Ferenc van Damm
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Classical, Color, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.0)
  • Subtitles: Dutch, English, French, Italian, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Opus Arte
  • DVD Release Date: February 23, 2010
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B0030BK8YE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #157,600 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on February 5, 2011
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
The 16th Century Florentine humanists who first conceived the genre of music-theater we call opera had a 'model' for what they wanted to create. They aspired to combine drama-in-words, music to affectively enhance those words, dance/pantomime and staging, with the goal of public 'catharsis' such as they supposed was the function of the Athenian tragedies of Euripedes and Sophocles. Many of their speculations about the staging of Greek theater have been contradicted by latter scholarship, but their bold concept of music-theater took on its own evolution in the operas of the 17th and 18th Centuries - from Monteverdi to Cherubini - the vast majority of which feature librettos based on Greek mythology or Roman history. Composer Harrison Birtwistle and librettist David Harsent return to Greek mythology for the story of the Minotaur, the half-man half-bull monster imprisoned in the Labyrinth; they also return, to my mind, to the foundational concept of the Renaissance humanists, of opera as a cathartic ritual achieved through the synthesis of the arts.

In other words, this is an opera that aims high, that wants to affect its audience intellectually and emotionally rather than merely to entertain. And it's a fearsome spectacle on stage, with the vulture-women Keres ripping hearts from the Minotaur's victims and smearing themselves with blood. Their shrieks are a far cry from the bourgeois comforts of Puccini, as are the howls and groans of the Minotaur and the agonized wails of the Athenian children sent as tribute victims to be slain by the Minotaur. Combined with an orchestral score of strident saxophones and thunderous percussion, the vocal violence of the non-humans ratchet the sensory impact of this opera far higher than anything polite opera audiences ordinarily expect.
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Birtwistle: The Minotaur [Blu-ray]
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