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Le Grand Macabre [Blu-ray] (2011)

Chris Merritt , Werner Van Mechelen , Alex Ollé , La Fura dels Baus  |  NR |  Blu-ray
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Chris Merritt, Werner Van Mechelen, Frode Olden, Brian Asawa, Michael Boder
  • Directors: Alex Ollé, La Fura dels Baus, Xavi Bové
  • Writers: Gyorgy Ligeti
  • Producers: Gran Teatre del Liceu
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Blu-ray, Classical, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (DTS-HD 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Italian
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Arthaus Musik
  • DVD Release Date: September 25, 2012
  • Run Time: 164 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008P76XCY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #224,255 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu presents Gyorgy Ligeti's sole opera "Le grand macabre" in a stunningly imaginative and highly theatrical production by La Fura dels Baus. The absurd-tragicomical masterpiece, which Ligeti called an "anti-anti-opera," blends popular theatre, comics, pop art, cabaret, caricature, and the Apocalypse with fascinating ease. Masterfully rendering the colorful score are the orchestra and chorus of the Liceu, under the baton of conductor Michael Boder. The stellar cast includes Werner Van Mechelen, Chris Merritt, Barbara Hannigan, and Brian Asawa.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A difficult work given an outstanding production September 10, 2012
Although it may be one of the most popular works of contemporary opera, you aren't going to see too many productions of György Ligeti's only opera, Le Grand Macabre due to its demanding nature and its limited appeal to a rather specialised opera audience. So when the Liceu in Barcelona (with La Monnaie in Brussels and the ENO in London) decide to put on a rare production of the work and go as far as to make a world premiere video recording of it, you can be thankful that the challenge of finding an appropriate look for the all-important visual representation of this work has been given to La Fura dels Baus, the experimental Catalan production team perhaps most in tune with such an unusual work and capable of relating to its status as an "anti-anti-opera", which is not quite the same thing, as you might imagine, as just an opera.

Le Grand Macabre most certainly isn't "just" an opera, but it is one that fully exploits the full range of dramatic, musical and singing opportunities for expression that the medium is capable of. Often dissonant and cacophonic, it's not however unmusical and indeed is made up of quite expressive musical passages and "quotations" that draw from a wide range of classical influences that demand a certain musical virtuosity, creating a complex soundscape of musical language and sonic textures. The singing in particular is extremely demanding, full of flourishes and vocal gymnastics in near-impossible tessitura.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well done - but not for everyone November 6, 2012
Gyorgy Ligeti wrote his opera "Le Grand Macabre" in 1977 and revised it in 1996. It is based on the play of the same name by Belgian playwright Michel de Ghelderode. Essentially the title is also the main character - a "grim reaper" whose real name is Nekrotzar ('czar of the dead') figure who enters the town of Breughelland during its apocalyptic last hours - or so his grim announcement goes. As the narrative progresses, we see figures from the town who represent various forms of human debauchery; almost a complete roster of the "Seven Deadly Sins" Various characters illustrate drunkenness, sexual excess, greed, abuse of power and so forth. The catch is we see - in what the playwright considered a satire - that the merchant of death may be deluding and fooling himself while mankind goes on (as is revealed very near the end.) In the opera, and in this performance, the roles that seem the most well sketched - nearly caricature - are a self absorbed but weak king, the town drunk and a lustful couple (in this case portrayed by two women....) Musically this is said to be a turning point for Ligeti whose music I do admire but it is still angular, mostly atonal and complex; although not "difficult" to listen to. This video production from the 2011 Liceu production is visually intriguing but I must offer a caution: This is certainly not going to please everyone. The first and second acts both begin with video of an uncredited female actress exhibiting some pretty slovenly behaviour and apparently getting violently ill. The actress submits herself and her body (dressed down to her underwear) in very unflattering fashion. Kudos to her for the courage to act degraded. Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Your Mother's Opera ! July 2, 2013
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Whew! I first heard this bizarre opera on the original 2 CD release. It is a stark and startling apocalyptic romp through an end-of-everything scenario. Now that I have seen this Blu-ray release, I am even more startled. The staging is just mind-boggling, with the main set including a giant naked woman from whose various orifices characters enter and exit. A warning...the language is frank and shocking, with some words I never heard used in an opera before! Jarring and a joy to watch, this is a worthy addition to anyone's modern opera collection. I highly recommend it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique and special December 16, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Unique and special in concept and talents, but probably, a production not to be seen again! --
fascinating -- but, it is a chunk of funds for an experience that probably won't be watched more than twice on DVD
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