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Glass: Kepler

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Editorial Reviews

Review

I sense, on the American opera scene, a ho-hum attitude to Glass, based on the assumption that he always does the same thing. Most important companies have by now done one or maybe two (though, L.A., none) of his operas. The older works are favored over the new. Nothing is planned anywhere in the U.S. at the moment. Critics don t go out of their way to keep up. Europe pays more attention. Linz is a town of 200,000, and its performances of Kepler (which runs through early January) serve as a tourist attraction and sell out. Linz knows what we do not that Glass, following Kepler's lead, understands that there really may be a music of the spheres. Kepler is a wise, major opera. -- Mark Swed --Los Angeles Times 11-19-2009

And there is no sense that Mr. Glass has a problem with this or thinks that we in the 21st century have some better handle on the truth of the matter. There s something refreshing about the composer s willingness to depict a belief in God as meaningful and not a belief that s potentially hip like Taoism or Buddhism, but good, old-fashioned Lutheranism. Something that does not get said about Mr. Glass enough, but that may in the end be one of the real distinctions between him and other composers popular with a contemporary, liberal audience, is that he always gives religious belief its due, without condescension. It is one of the many pleasures of his surprisingly moving new opera, which will hopefully return to New York soon, perhaps alongside Galileo. -Zachary Woolfe --New York Observer 11-24-2010


Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Dennis Russell Davies, Martin Achrainer - Kepler, Cassandra McConnell - Soprano 1, Karen Robertson - Soprano 2, Katerina Hebelkova - Mezzo
  • Directors: Peter Missotten (production), Felix Breisach (video)
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC
  • Language: German, Latin
  • Subtitles: English, German
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: ORANGE MOUNTAIN
  • DVD Release Date: April 12, 2011
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004JX8UB0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,081 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Doug Urquhart on July 9, 2011
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This opera is about the life of the astronomer Johannes Kepler, who spent some time as a teacher in Linz. It was commissioned by the Landestheater Linz, where it was performed for this DVD. I think they got their money's worth.

Kepler was a deeply religious man, and spent his life attempting to discover the laws governing the order behind the movements of the planets. He ventured down some blind alleys along the way, and this opera explores them all.

In the very first scene, we see the body of Johannes Kepler, surrounded by the six planets known at his time, orbiting in perfect circles, bathed in that reddish light used by astronomers to avoid upsetting night vision. (For the non-astronomers amongst you, that would be the five visible planets - Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn - plus Earth). The planets are portrayed by six singers, wearing white clothing. The rest of the action is, presumably, a flashback.

As the action progresses, we see Kepler trying to explain the six-fold symmetry of the solar system in terms of the shapes of geometrical solids, plus the combination of "numbers, quantities and circular motion" as sung by the chorus. This reflects his early work, where he couldn't abandon the idea that planets should move in a perfect circle.

The chorus, dressed in black and looking ever upward, represents Religion (I think) looking towards the heavens for divine inspiration, while Kepler looks at the skies for knowledge. In answer to their refusal to listen to his findings ("when we close our eyes, we see more"), Kepler retorts "the Bible is not a textbook on Optics".

At one point, Kepler brings in the Sun (on a chain as it happens) to symbolize the transition from geocentric to a heliocentric view of the solar system.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alfredo R. Villanueva on June 16, 2013
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WHAT CAN I SAY? GLASS DOES IT AGAIN. IS THERE ANYONE IN THE OPERATIC WORLD WHO HAS EVER WRITTEN ABOUT THE ECSTATIC EXPERIENCE OF SCIENCE? WELL, THIS IS IT. IT REMINDS ME OF BERLIOZ (BENVENUTO CELLINI) OR HINDEMITH (MATHIS DER MAHLER), BOTH OF WHICH ARE ABOUT THE EXTATIC DIMENSION OF ART. AND YET, NONE OF HIS WORKS HAS EVER GRACED THE METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE, AND THIS IS THE ONE EXTANT VIDEO OF A PRODUCTION OF HIS OPERAS. WITHOUT HIM, MAYBE THERE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN A GOLIJOV AND CERTAINLY NO ADAMS (HIS CLOSEST PEER IN MUSICAL AND THEMATIC TERMS). AS USUAL, EXPECT NOTHING BEYOND BARE BONES FROM A KULTUR DVD. BUT WHAT MUSIC, WHAT SINGING, WHAT PRODUCTION, WHAT CONDUCTOR! I AM ASHAMED THIS PREMIERE HAD TO OCCUR IN GERMANY. IF YOU ARE A LONG-TERM GLASS FAN, LIKE I AM, YOU SIMPLY MUST ADD THIS DVD TO YOUR COLLECTION. WILL WE EVER SEE AN AKHNATON ON DVD?
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By R. Larson on April 14, 2011
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I have seen and enjoyed several Glass operas. This one is well done: good acting, excellent music (admittedly Glass isn't to every one's taste: when I play a CD of Glass's Einstein on the Beach my wife's son says "it sounds like a squirrel being tortured"), imaginative staging.
My only (non relevant) regret is that I can't get Glass's Akhnaten on DVD; I tremendously enjoyed seeing it at Chicago Opera Theater 10 years ago.
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