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Handel - Giulio Cesare

13 customer reviews

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Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Andreas Scholl, Inger Dam-Jensen, Michael Maniaci, Christopher Robson, Randi Stene
  • Directors: Francisco Negrin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, NTSC, DTS Surround Sound, Widescreen, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: German, English, French, Italian
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Harmonia Mundi Fr.
  • DVD Release Date: October 9, 2007
  • Run Time: 216 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000S6EUAC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,042 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Niel Rishoi on January 13, 2008
Format: DVD
This Harmonia Mundi DVD release of GIULIO CESARE from Denmark, recorded in 2005 is, quite simply, magnificent. Everything about this release signifies a major event, starting with the packaging. A beautifully produced gatefold DVD case, attractively and conveniently laid out. The booklet gives all the relevant information, with the synopsis synchronized with the tracks (the only drawback is that there are only 9 tracks for the first DVD, 15 for the second; given that Universal Classics painstakingly separates the recits from the arias {the Ponnelle film of COSI for example has over 35 tracks per DVD}, this is inconvenient, because you have to do more searching if you want to). Best of all, though, the booklet has a concise, scholarly, passionate essay written by Winton Dean; I find it amazing that he can convey the virtues and cover the relevant issues in so economical a fashion.

The production is typical contemporary, with several token ancient Egypt symbols and props. There are some concepts that escape me, and I may summon up the means to assimilate it...then again, I might not. There are some very intriguing ideas, even of wonderful elegance, mixed up with some confusing ones, but mercifully, the gimmicks are kept at a minimum. There are even some terrific moments of sly humor, and the ideas work surprisingly well. The most important thing is, the artists interact with involvement, always at the service of the drama, and imparting it with "fanatical consecration (Lilli Lehmann's term)" This is a thoroughly worked-out, supremely dedicated production, of a type you rarely see.

What matters here is the performance, and it is just splendid. I think this is as near to a "correct" Handelian performance of an opera as we're going to get.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Wellington Pavior on March 16, 2008
Format: DVD
I have seen several Cesare's on DVD and live... and this production is one of my favourites. For me it comes the closest to the Australian Opera DVD with Graham Pushee and Yvonne Kenny which is my favourite for many reasons that I won't go into here.

The cast for this DVD is excellent (with one exception). Andreas Scholl is fantastic, his acting good and his voice clear and strong, it is just a little hard to watch him sometimes... he distorts his face every now and again (as 90% of counter-tenors do)but this does not diminish from the out standing performance he puts in. His Cleopatra, Inger Dam-Jensen is excellent... a beautiful woman with an incredible voice and technique. The rest of the cast is good with the exception of Tolomeo played by Christopher Robson, who when lacking the range or power required for this role uses his 'chest voice' a little to often and also resorts to vocal hysterics... in saying this he acts very well and good on his for being brave enough to everything the director asks of him in this production. The other interesting casting is Michael Maniaci as Nireno... a true male soprano; his voice suits this repertoire very well and it will be interesting to hear him as the voice matures and he comes into his own as an artist. Nireno is a small role (he actually turned down a larger role in the USA to work on this project) but the inclusion of the normally cut aria really shows what Michael can do.

The Orchestra are excellent and the direction (both musical and dramatic) is fine. This is a 'modern' production, but one that works and doesn't try to be too modern or abstract.

Giulio Cesare is a wonderful opera and you will not find a better Cesare than Scholl... this is one of the best DVDs of this opera on the market and worth every penny of the Harmonia Mundi price tag.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By figaretto on January 17, 2008
Format: DVD
This video is a bit maddening as there is some of the best Handelian singing I have ever heard and also some of the worst. Scholl, as Cesare, and the ladies singing Cornelia and Sesto are absolutely divine. Scholl's coloratura technique is nothing short of miraculous. The Cleopatra is also very good, but not quite as astounding as the other three. The Achilla was also quite enjoyable with a smooth voice and good fioratura. The Tolomeo, however, is truly one of the worst singers I have ever heard - the voice is tiny, unfocused, and terribly broken in the registers. It was not always so, for this same singer, Christopher Robson, can be heard on the much earlier videos of both Xerxes and Ariodante from the ENO, and his singing is quite decent in those videos, but his voice has deteriorated greatly between those earlier productions and this Cesare, and I was not able to sit through all of his arias but had to eventually fastforward through most of them. It was always an ugly voice, but he was able to control it and lead it in a very interesting way previously - here in this video, the voice is a ragged leftover. The slowest aria, which he sings to his harem was bordering on acceptable and I listened to that in it's entirety, but the others were putrid. The Nireno was not on the same par with the other professional singers, however was much better than the Tolomeo, and why on earth he didn't get the bigger role is beyond me.

I liked the modern setting. One other serious negative is the sound quality - the placement of the recording in the house seems not to be ideal. The orchestra sounded good but the singers sounded like they were in an echo chamber - it wasn't terrible, but could certainly be better.
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