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  • Lully: Armide
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Lully: Armide


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2-Disc Version

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Product Details

  • Actors: William Christie, Stéphanie d'Oustrac, Paul Agnew, Isabelle Druet, Laurent Naouri
  • Directors: Robert Carsen, François Roussillon
  • Writers: Jean-Baptiste Lully, Philippe Quinault
  • Producers: Les Arts Florissants, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées de Paris
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Classical, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: FRA MUSICA
  • DVD Release Date: June 14, 2011
  • Run Time: 188 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004T6ACSQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #312,671 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Twenty-four years ago, William Christie and Les Arts Florissants premièred Jean-Baptiste Lully s opera Atys at the Opéra Comique in Paris. It was a smashing success, and marked a pivotal moment in the history of period performance practice. Christie became a tireless champion of the music of Lully and helped rehabilitate the composer s once stodgy reputation. In Armide, the tragédie en musique (a genre that Lully and his librettist Quinault jointly invented) reaches its peak of emotional and musical expression. Robert Carsen s highly acclaimed 2008 production of Armide at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées rekindled interest in French Baroque music. On this new video from FRA Musica, filmed at the Château de Versailles, Carsen and stage director Jean-Claude Gallotta present an opulent and powerful vision of Lully s poignant masterpiece.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 9 customer reviews
The set is musically and visually wonderful.
GoldenAger
Rather, the costumes and stage objects set the story in a timeless semi-antiquity, which very likely would have been the ambience sought by Lully's own contemporaries.
Giordano Bruno
Note the entry of Armide's minions, whose movements are timed and spaced precisely to fit the music.
R. Gerard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 49 people found the following review helpful By R. Gerard on May 24, 2011
The first time I viewed this production on European television I was blown away. I have seen each of William Christie's renditions of Rameau's operas staged (well... on DVD) and each set has been a treasure, not simply for Christie's fresh, suave interpretations of oft-neglected gems of French opera, but for the visual treats the directors and designers provide to the viewer.

There is just something about French baroque opera that benefits from regietheater. I was eager to see Christie and his artistic team take on an opera from the father of French opera, Jean-Baptiste Lully. He presents in this DVD set Lully's last complete tragedie-lyrique, Armide. As an opera, the story of the sorceress Armida and the crusader Rinaldo has been done almost to death. Composers from Handel (Rinaldo), Salieri (Armida) and Glueck (who used the same libretto as did Lully) set it to music. To produce such a hackneyed story for modern audiences requires not only a fresh look at the music but also at the staging.

Robert Carsen is just the man for the job. The staging is modern with strong hints of the French Baroque, inspired by the rooms at Versailles, yet covered in a monochromatic reflecting silver, colored occasionally and elegantly by the stage lighting. All characters but a few are decked out in the same muted silver, but in petticoats that remind one of the costumes of the Baroque.

Stephanie D'Oustrac is stunning and regal in her red dresses that truly draws the eye amidst the muted surroundings. Her voice carries a smoky quality that is perfect for the part of a sorceress queen. Of special mention is the staging of the famous prelude, recitative and aria, "Enfin, il est en ma puissance.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Giordano Bruno on September 17, 2011
Productions of any opera by Wagner, Puccini, Strauss, even by Alban Berg necessarily take account of a living performance tradition, based on a continuum of interpretations stretching back to the premieres at which the composer himself would have been in attendance. There is no such living tradition pertinent to baroque opera. The thread was cut! "Baroque opera" as we know it is an invention of our own era, and an expression of our own aesthetics. The paradox, however, is that the majority of recent baroque opera stagings have been aesthetically bi-polar; the musicians have consistently and fervently striven for "historically informed performance practices", using original instruments and authentic baroque vocal technique. Meanwhile, the stage directors, dance choreographers, costumers and set designers have self-consciously striven to captivate audiences with a diametrically opposite modernism: witty anachronism, surreal stagecraft, jazzy dance, effects borrowed from Cirque du Soleil. Hey, is that reasonable? Does it work for you, or for the box office? Well, sometimes yes and sometimes no ... but what's surprising about that? The same could be said of the stodgiest staging of La Triviata or Madama Clothsmoth; some productions succeed and some don't.

Frankly, this staging of Lully's Armide is not at all extreme, not in comparison to many of the available DVDs of Rameau and Handel operas. There are two components of this opera and thus of this staging. The prologue is an extended bit of sycophancy addressed to King Louis XIV. Lully knew his audience! It consisted of two men, Le Roi et lui meme (the King and himself). Lully's fulsome tribute to his patron, in this production, is wittily reshaped as a modern tour of the Palace of Versailles.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dr. John W. Rippon VINE VOICE on August 19, 2011
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I am overwhelmed with enthusiasm for this production! It is sheer delight! I'm always leery of modern productions of the old masters (just look at the messes that have been made of Handel's beautiful operas). In the present case the director Robert Carsen has managed to produce a tasteful, fully artistic production that compliments the musical brilliance of William Christie's superb orchestra. Tasteful is the key; having Armide in brilliant scarlet and the rest of the cast in a silver grey was a stroke of genius. The ballets were fine and fit well with the action. Many of the same people were in the production of Rameau's Les Paladins where the music was superb but the action and dance were like Monty Python on steroids. Here the music was complimented by the actions on stage. The singing of all the many roles was well done. In particular the Armide of Stephanie d'Oustrac was particularly exciting. Her rendering of "Enfin, il est en ma puissance" was the high point of the opera; it is one of the most dramatic scenes in all opera. The only quibble I might have is the ending. This is a fantasy opera of magic and spells and such. It should have had a fantasy ending. Other composers have had the spurned Armide fly off on a dragon chariot. And here the librettist Quinault indicates something similar. However the director has Armide kill herself. This is a sudden Wozzeck realism injected into a pleasant fanasy world. Otherwise everything about this production is right on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marlyse S. Henchoz on November 5, 2011
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Love it. It is not easy to get Lully's operas on DVD. Terrific item, gorgeous production and performance, although I would have preferred period costumes (17th century) instead of 19th century. Easy to overlook though. I have ordered the DVD of Athys and can't wait to get it. Thanks much!!
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