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Delius: A Village Romeo and Juliet / Mackerras, Hampson, Davies, Field, Mora (1992)

Thomas Hampson , Sir Charles Mackerras  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Thomas Hampson, Sir Charles Mackerras
  • Format: Color, Subtitled, Import, NTSC
  • Language: Hebrew
  • Subtitles: Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Decca Import
  • DVD Release Date: September 7, 2003
  • Run Time: 3 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009V3OC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #319,830 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Delius: A Village Romeo and Juliet / Mackerras, Hampson, Davies, Field, Mora" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars DELIUS MASTERPIECE FINALLY ON DVD . . . BUT October 8, 2003
I confess to having a magnificent obsession with Delius' elusive opera. I listened repeatedly to Meredith Davies' recording on Angel and dreamed what a staged presentation would look like. In 1972 a multi-media production was staged by both the Washington and New York City Operas and never offered again.
Advance to 1989. The European Mediascope company announces a filmed version using the digital recording on Argo conducted by Charles Mackerras as its soundtrack. The film is released on LaserDisc, NOT a format that I had the economic ability or desire to invest in. I take an interest in Mackerras recording, but still prefer the Davies reading which EMI finally unearths on CD. A few years pass and LaserDisc dissolves into oblivion as does the opportunity to see the film.
At long last, enter DVD and Decca's release of the opera on that format. I eagerly purchase the package and rush home to see it. You cannot imagine my disappointment.
Well, look at it this way - better a cracked cookie than no cookie at all. The visual images, sets, location shots and period costumes by director Petr Weigl and others are attractive and make sense. The direction takes things too literally and some of the staging is awkward (Sali's dispatching of Marti is totally unconvincing. No stunt doubles?) There are instances where abstract or symbolic imagery would have been welcome (Walk to the Paradise Garden, in particular). But what really ruins things is the lip-synching. Dana Maravkova and Michal Dlouhy are attractive in a chilly sort of way, but no one is going to believe the voices of Helen Field and Arthur Davies coming from the mouths of these babes. Thomas Hampson plays and sings the part of the Dark Fiddler here, but he is deprived of making a bigger impact of his role by the indifferent direction.
The Petr Weigl film fills a void, but not completely.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SLEEPING BEAUTY AWAKENED BY PETR WEIGL'S KISS March 28, 2004
By dvd3
I first bought this work on CD back in the eighties and I immediately had a profound longing for a visual experience to go along with Delius' gorgeous score. A few years later, my wish was granted with this film by Petr Weigl which I was able to buy on Laserdisc. It fulfilled my every expectation in spite of the fact that the actors were all lip-synching. (Many opera-goers would agree that the majority of "real" opera singers are bad actors anyway. At least in this visually gorgeous film, the characters all LOOK right for their parts, something that frequently is not the case on stage.) I think Gerald Fenech on says it best,

"Delius' beautiful opera takes on a new lease of life in this splendidly directed film by Petr Weigl. The music is provided by the highly recommended recording with Mackerras and the ORF Symphony whilst the acting by the doubles (who obviously don't sing) is adequate enough.

Whilst obviously relishing this gorgeous orchestral score, I was consistently moved by the exquisite scenery portrayed by the director, truly recreating a Swiss village lost in time with some stupendous nature scenes.

Weigl's direction allows for a certain amount of artistic liberty that culminates in a ravishing rendition of the 'Walk to the Paradise Garden', a touching moment of rare beauty that is also replicated in the equally moving Finale. I cannot imagine this drama being better enacted.

The late Christopher Palmer writes a lengthy and essential essay for the booklet notes which delve into great detail that is very much a must have for the seasoned Delian. One may lament the absence of a libretto but the CD version will probably be in most collectors' libraries anyway.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice June 8, 2006
It is a motion picture, but very, very nice. Lip-synch is not so good, but we manage. We (opera goers) have managed much worse things before - so why can't we manage this one with such a beautiful music? - Go ahead, buy it!!! - you won't regret. I would rate it 4,5 stars, but there's no such thing, so I decided to credit 5 starts - and I am not going to regret that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a gem of a production, a perfect choice to introduce opera to those who generally steer clear of it. Opera purists, of course, may object to the fact that it is a film. Actors play the parts of the lovers and the voices of the two lead singers, Helen Field and Arthur Davies, are dubbed to the excellent mime performances of Dana Morakova and Michael Dlouhy. Thomas Hampson, who plays the intriguing character of the Dark Fiddler, naturally does his own singing.

The story is based on a German-language classic of Gottfried Keller, a distinguished Swiss writer, and ultimately of course on Shakespeare. The libretto, written by Delius himself, is powerful and to the point. It tells the story of lovers, childhood sweethearts, doomed by their alienation from their community and driven towards death by their refusal to accept any compromise that might diminish their mutual passion. A 19th century rural teen Liebestod that might even catch the interest of younger viewers today! (Well, perhaps I'm dreaming . . .)

The film is visually compelling, combining idyllic mountain views with intimate indoor scenes, and capturing the little that Delius chose to show of the enclosing rural community in the intriguing fair scene. The scene with the "bohemian" mountain gypsies (including some nudity) gives a glimpse of the more free-wheeling kind of love that the young people refuse to let their attachment become. The four actors, two children and the two teenaged lovers, are a pleasure to watch; they are all very good-looking and act expertly. Hampson is excellent. The dubbing is near perfect. Sir Charles Mackerras conducts flawlessly and with total commitment. The music, played by the ORF, is presented in 5.1 digital, and is sumptuous, getting better as the opera goes on.
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