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The Enchanted Island (The Metropolitan Opera HD Live 2011)

60 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

"A Showcase for and a love letter to a century of amazing music" is how the creator of The Enchanted Island, Jeremy Sams, described this spectacular operatic pasticcio of music by Handel, Vivaldi, Rameau, Purcell and others. Premiered at the Metropolitan in New York on New Year's Eve 2011, it stars Joyce DiDonato, David Daniels, Danielle de Niese and Placido Domingo, and is conducted by William Christie.
With a story based on Shakespear's The Tempest and a Midsummer Night's Dream, it was not the work of a contemporary composer, but instead, drew on works by figures of the Baroque era Handel, Vivaldi, Rameau, Purcell, Campra, Ferrandini, Leclair and Rebel. Devised by the British writer, librettist and translator, Jeremy Sams, the piece revived the 18th century tradition of the plasticcio, taking arias from a variety of different sources and setting them to a new libretto.

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Product Details

  • Actors: David Daniels, Joyce DiDonato, Danielle de Niese, Placido Domingo, William Christie
  • Directors: Phelilm McDermott, Barbara Willis Sweete
  • Writers: Jeremy Sams
  • Producers: The Metropolitan Opera
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, NTSC
  • Language: English (DTS 5.1 Surround), English (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: German, English, French, Italian, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Erato Disques
  • DVD Release Date: November 19, 2012
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008ROGZUK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,219 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By E. DeArdo on December 13, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This baroque pastiche opera, premiered at the Met last New Year's Eve, is a delightful treat for any opera lover, and would serve as a great introduction to opera, since it's in English and features a top-notch cast and design!
The opera takes the plots of Shakespeare's Tempest and the lovers of A Midsummer Night's Dream and conflates them into a rollicking story of shipwreck, mistaken identities, revenge, longing, and finally reconciliation and love. DiDonato's Sycorax is a tour de force, ripping off revenge arias and playing them to the hilt, but with impeccable musciality. If you're a fan of DiDonato, this is a must have. Danielle Di Niesse was a discovery for me in the role of Ariel--her beautiful soprano fills the stage with electricity, and she plays both the serious and comic sides of the magical sprite perfectly. Placido Domingo plays Neptune, the sea God, in a great small role. The rest of the cast is pitch-perfect and strongly cast. It IS a bit long, but with a cast this great, that hardly registers. The role of Prospero is also sung by a countertenor, which is a rarity (since Baroque operas, which use them the most, are rarely seen), but last year's Met season gave us two big countertenor showpieces (here and in Rodelinda, with Renee Fleming, also on DVD).
This is a magical production that is definitely worth its space on your Opera Shelf. I didn't notice any problems with picture or sound with it being on DVD; it was very clear in both respects. (I guess, OK, Blu-Ray would have made it EVEN BETTER...but I really wanted to have this. And I have patience problems. :) )
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Lady Fancifull on April 7, 2013
Format: DVD
I am pretty shocked to see that so many of the reviews on both Amazon UK and Amazon USA are from people who found 1 or both of the DVDs were faulty. Somewhere along the route of pressing there has clearly been a major problem, and I feel very sorry for those affected. An error rate of nearly 40% (in the UK)is alarming and I guess will leave people reluctant to buy this, which is a shame, as the opera itself is delightful.

I was lucky enough to catch this 'Live At The Met in HD' showing, early in 2012, and it was one of the highlights of that season for me, so i was delighted when a fellow reviewer alerted me to the release of the DVD.

And I'm pretty well as delighted as I was, on seeing it 'live' last year. It is a brilliantly showy, inventive production, using works from Handel, Vivaldi, Rameau, Purcell, and other less-well known composers, and an outrageously playful mash-up libretto from Jeremy Sams. The story combines Prospero, Miranda, Ferdinand, Caliban, Ariel and the island from The Tempest together with the four lovers from Midsummer Night's Dream. And then some - enter a missing character - Neptune, given the imaginative buildup of a stage full of flying mermaids, the only accompaniment possible really, given the casting of Placido Domingo as Neptune

Full of wonderful comedy and oozily saccharine Broadway moments the lovers from Midsummer Night's dream enact all the delicious comedy brought in by Ariel-as-Puck getting it wrong with who falls in love with whom, but there is also room for deep pain, transformation, betrayal, and true forgiveness. And the various musical pieces accommodate all this.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Vajra on January 10, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Of the reviews already here, every one that is less than five stars is so because the reviewer is miffed that there isn't yet a Blu-Ray version. So unless you absolutely CANNOT enjoy a splendid production of an extraordinary work in plain old DVD, please realize that the opera presented here is earning a straight five-star rating. Highly recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence K. on January 13, 2014
Format: DVD
As is the case with many others, I am using my home-burned DVD of the PBS broadcast until a blu-ray disk comes out. I second anything positive said in these reviews. The production is just delightful. I first heard The Enchanted Island on radio and immediately began searching for a recording. I've watched it several times and played the music in the background on even more occasions.

There's only one problem: Placido Domingo. Yes, I know he's a God and all of that, and I suppose his "star" quality was thought to add to the general delight of the production. But his poor command of the rhythms of the English language damage the performance. It's not the thick accent or the voice; Domingo's arias are just clumsy and distracting. Caliban managed to get it right - do we have to forgive Neptune?

Sorry, I fully realize that I am unworthy to offer such criticism, but I don't enjoy being shocked out of deep immersion in fantasy. This doesn't mean I won't buy the blu-ray. Until then, I'll just change to my really nice costume, pick up my lunchbox, and wander off.

Note to whomever produces the disk: enlarge the subtitles. They were scaled for showing in a theater; we don't all have 80-inch HDTVs.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By GoldenAger on January 29, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
After seeing this production, live, last year, I was pleased to see it released in DVD. Not only did I want to see it again, but I was able to give it as a gift to my friend, who could not make the performance due to an upstate snowstorm.

The DVD almost fully captures the experience of being there. The video framing is first-rate. For those who have not seen this wonderful "pastiche", be ready for a treat. The singing is superb, the conducting by the great baroque specialist, William Christie, is spot-on. The old-style, cut-out sets, enhanced by lighting make a far, far better impact than the recent Met Ring. The choice of music is excellent. There is plenty of melody and a lot of fun (both for cast and audience).
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The Enchanted Island (The Metropolitan Opera HD Live 2011)
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