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Handel - Giulio Cesare / Kenny, Pushee, Dalton, Campbell, Gunn, Bennett, Hickox, Sydney Opera


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Editorial Reviews

Handel's moving opera features a top notch cast headed by Graham Pushee in the title role and Yvonne Kenny as Cleopatra.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Graham Pushee, Yvonne Kenny, Elizabeth Campbell, Richard Hickox
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Kultur Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 27, 2004
  • Run Time: 207 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000294T60
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #196,395 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

I love her velvety soprano.
T. C.
The best Tolomeo was James Bowman in the English National Opera DVD with Janet Baker.
Deal or No Deal
He could have eased a bit on the pedal and that would have sounded so much better.
Bjorn Viberg

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Ed Uyeshima HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 30, 2005
This is a completely respectable 1994 Australian Opera production of one of Handel's greatest works performed by a talented cast produced in a highly stylized manner befitting of a decade ago. Whereas Peter Sellars gave the 1996 Glyndebourne production of Handel's "Theodora" an even more out-there approach, this production simply does not transcend its modernized treatment and seems rather dated now, even with an unclothed Cleopatra sauntering into a milk bath during "Venere bella". Anthony Baker's designs are eye-catching with sets that appear more symbolic of ancient Egypt with the use of clean lines. The portrayal of Tolomeo seems particularly contemporary with the character's kabuki make-up meant to symbolize his evil totalitarian nature. Moreover, director Francisco Negrin often facilitates scene changes by having the singers come forward off the stage, beyond the orchestra, in a manner similar to a Broadway show.

In the title role, countertenor Graham Pushee cuts a heroic figure and sings with appropriate fire and clarity at Handel's alto pitch. While he does not have the resonant tone and vocal beauty of David Daniels (who essayed the role in a similar treatment in San Francisco in 2001), Pushee is credible as a Roman conqueror in the midst of the composer's most testing arias. He hits his expected high points without disappointment: Act I's "Va tacito e nascosto"; Act II's especially impressive "Se in fiorito ameno prato" competing with a virtuoso violin solo (which literally stopped the show); and Act III's "Aure, deh, per pietà" when he returns to Egypt after his escape from Tolomeo. Soprano Yvonne Kenny is equally adept as Cleopatra with her authoritative vocal command and rather mature presence, which makes her early scenes a bit of an acting stretch.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By T. C. on October 4, 2004
Verified Purchase
This piece was written as a typical opera seria. The director, Francisco Negrin does a great job in emphasizing the tragic moments, like Caesar lamenting aria Alma del gran Pompeo, or the sorrowful arias of Pompeo's widow - Cornelia. But Negrin is equally effective in finding the more amusing moments in this long opera, and is doing them with great fun and wittiness: Cleopatra taking milk bath or the way Caesar finds out that Lydia is really Cleopatra are two examples. Anthony Baker's designs are beautiful without being too loaded: they are very effective in portraying the ambiance of the various scenes. Gregory Nash's choreography is original and the dancers are great.

Richard Hickox conducts expertly the Australian opera orchestra, although I prefer period instruments in this piece. The title role is taken by the Australian countertenor Graham Pushee. David Daniels and Andreas Scholl have more beautiful voices, but Pushee is very impressive. He is an idiomatic Handel singer, with very good technique, and his coloratura is agile and smooth. The highlights of his performance are the hunting aria Va tacito e nascosto with horn obligato, the breathtaking second act aria Se in fiorito ameno prato with violin solo, and the third act big aria Aure, deh, per pieta.

Another Australian singer, Yvonne Kenny, does the role of Cleopatra. I love her velvety soprano. She is a skilled Baroque singer too and has great charm and captivating presence on stage. All the arias are done ravishingly, especially the second act aria V'adoro pupille (the decor here is wonderful, with the little orchestra on stage according to Handel's instructions). The famous third act aria Piangero is outstanding.

All other singers in the cast are good to very good, although Elizabeth Campbell in the role of Sextus has a "strange" accent.

I highly enjoyed watching this DVD. 3 and half hours went almost without notice. And what a great opera!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brent Peterson on July 19, 2014
Verified Purchase
If you are new to the world of Giulio Cesare on DVD, I will have to be blunt: there are no really outstanding traditional versions available yet. Most people (including myself) love and adore the Janet Baker video (Handel - Julius Caesar), which is the closest thing we have to a truly traditional version, and very well acted and sung. But be aware it is sung in English, and abridged.

The current darling of many collectors is the Glyndebourne production (Giulio Cesare). Musically, it is the best one out there, although again with a woman singing Caesar. The production is extremely problematic, set in circa 1900 with sailing ships, ironclads, and dirigibles. It also has the truly disturbing imagery of Sesto and Cornelia happily playing in the blood of Tolomeo, after Sesto shoots him in the head with a pistol. Very strange and weird :(

This Australian production does not have anything shocking in that manner, and hearing a male male performing the role of Caesar (even singing alto) is refreshing. Graham Pushee has a very pleasing voice and demeanor, and although no one would suspect for a moment he were really Caesar (actually Janet Baker is a more believable Caesar, my apologies to both her and Mr. Pushee :), yet it is a pleasant and non-threatening experience to watch and hear him.
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Handel - Giulio Cesare / Kenny, Pushee, Dalton, Campbell, Gunn, Bennett, Hickox, Sydney Opera
This item: Handel - Giulio Cesare / Kenny, Pushee, Dalton, Campbell, Gunn, Bennett, Hickox, Sydney Opera
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