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Doctor Atomic (2011)

Gerald Finley , Sasha Cooke , Gary Halvorson , Peter Sellars  |  NR |  DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Doctor Atomic + Adams - Death of Klinghoffer / Randle, Sylvan, Howard, Maltman, Boutros, Melrose, Bickley, LSO + John Adams: Nixon in China (The Metropolitan Opera HD Live) (DVD+Blu-Ray)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Gerald Finley, Sasha Cooke, Eric Owens, Graham Clark, Alan Gilbert
  • Directors: Gary Halvorson, Peter Sellars
  • Writers: Peter Sellars, John Adams
  • Producers: Peter Gelb, The Metropolitan Opera
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC, Digital Sound
  • Language: Portuguese (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sony Classics
  • DVD Release Date: January 25, 2011
  • Run Time: 171.00 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004EU7W5S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,603 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

John Adams’s mesmerizing score, in the powerful production of Penny Woolcock, tells the story of one of the pivotal moments in human history—the creation of the atomic bomb. Baritone Gerald Finley gives a powerful star turn in the title role as the brilliant J. Robert Oppenheimer, with Alan Gilbert conducting the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus in his Met debut. Originally broadcast November 8, 2008 as part of the Peabody and Emmy Award®-winning Live in HD transmissions to movie theaters.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Two thirds a great opera January 29, 2011
Format:DVD
A re-working of an earlier review, poorly considered and conceived by me, which gave a wrong impression of my ideas. I love the stage works of John Adams and much of Doctor Atomic works beautifully. Certainly, the subject matter--the making and testing of the atomic bomb and its effects on those involved--is a strong foundation for an opera. The singing is top-notch throughout: it is, in turns, dramatic, luxurious, accomplished, moving, characterful, beautiful. But no one is quite as wonderful as Gerald Finley, one of the great singing actors in the world. The heart of the score is the music of Oppenheimer and his painful confrontation of the moral ambiguities involved in making and testing a nuclear weapon. The musical setting of John Donne's text, "Batter My Heart Three-Person'd God" is some of the best music Adams has written. Finley sings it incomparably. Heart-wrenching and marvelous. On the whole, Act One, though a bit long, is always interesting, beautiful, moving, emotional, thought provoking and well-composed. And happily, on video, the large cast of men is more easily distinguished than when just listening. (I've heard it on the radio.)

Alas, for me, Act Two does not continue this excellence. The first hour or so is taken up with well-meaning ideas about the effect the work of these men has on those who have no say in the matter but will be effected all the same. The first scene is a long soliloquy sung by Kitty Oppenheimer, expressing her feelings of futility, fear, loneliness, etc. LONG is the operative word. The point is made within ten minutes or so (maybe even less) but is over-extended by much more than that. And we have heard her in a strong duet with her husband in Act One.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An American Masterpiece January 26, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Doctor Atomic appears to be one of those operas one either loves or hates: there is (apparently) no middle ground. I'm strongly in the camp of those who love it - every minute, every note. A fan of the original production by Peter Sellars, I was concerned with what I heard what director Penny Woolcock was doing with it I had misgivings. They flew out the window as soon as I took my seat at the Metropolitan Opera, then again several weeks later at the cinema and now from the comfort of my sofa. The production is unconventional, but then so is Adams' opera.

Julian Crouch's twin walls of boxes represent the periodic chart of the elements, but also let one's imagination morph them into scientific workplace cubicles, symbols of government intrusion and solitary confinement - individuals trapped or lost in a metaphysical maze - and more. The "special effects" used to operate them are minimal but dramatically effective, particularly toward the opera's bone chilling finale.

Adams score - his richest to this point is filled with arias, duets, ensembles, choruses moving fluidly between stylized and realistic dramas, contemplative reminisces on man's plight, governmental responsibility, , actual drama and prayer, most notably in the Act I closing aria for Oppenheimer, "Batter my heart, three person'd God" - a remarkable setting of John Donne's sonnet, sung with an almost unbearable intensity and purity of sound by the remarkable Gerald Finley in what may well be the role of his career.

Richard Paul Fink, Eric Owens, Sasha Cooke, Earle Patriarco, Roger Honeywell, Thomas Glenn and Meredith Arwady all make their characters believable, with Miss Cooke making a frightfully vulnerable Kitty Oppenheimer.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sellars Did It Better February 13, 2011
Format:DVD
After being very impressed with the Peter Sellars production of "Doctor Atomic" in Chicago, I was mildly disappointed with what Penny Woolcock did to it at the Met. I guess that interpretation was supposed to be postmodern or something but I found it unnescessarily static and stodgy by comparison. So my recommendation for a DVD would be the OPUS ARTE recording of the lively Sellars-directed production at the Het Muziektheater in Amsterdam.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular Opera January 11, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I never thought that the events surrounding the first ever, detonation of an atomic bomb(known as the "Trinity" test), in world history, on July 16, 1945, in Los Alamos, New Mexico, could be made into an opera, but Peter Sellars and John Adams, have composed the story, based on the diaries, archives, and government documents of J. Robert Oppenheimer, and the major players in his inner circle, with dazzling imagery and musical score.

This theatrical drama, performed through harmonious choruses and powerful solos, gives the audience greater insight into the scientists' conscience, personal conflicts and fears, and their lively discussions and debates, during this very pivotal moment in human history.
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