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  • Marc-Antoine Charpentier: David & Jonathas
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Marc-Antoine Charpentier: David & Jonathas

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Product Details

  • Actors: William Christie, Pascal Charbonneau, Ana Quintans, Frédéric Caton, Kresimir Spicer
  • Directors: Andreas Homoki, Stéphane Metge
  • Writers: Marc-Antoine Charpentier
  • Producers: Les Arts Florissants, Festival d'Aix-en-Provence
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English, French, German
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Bel Air Classiques
  • DVD Release Date: April 30, 2013
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00BK6HS5I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #252,733 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Keris Nine TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 15, 2013
Format: DVD
Marc-Antoine Charpentier worked for many years in the shadow of the officially appointed court composer Jean-Baptiste Lully and it seems he has remained in his shadow ever since, largely overlooked even as French Baroque music is being rediscovered in modern times with Lully and his successor Rameau being favoured over Charpentier, Campra and the underrated Gossec. There may be genuine musicological reasons for this choice but judging by this rare performance of Charpentier's David et Jonathas for the 2012 Aix-en-Provence Festival - the first staged performance of the work in over 300 years - the problem seems to lie with the difficulty of adapting this kind of work for a modern stage, since musically it really is something of a delight.

First performed in 1688, a year after the death of Lully, David et Jonathas, a "Biblical tragedy in five acts with a prologue" is based on the friendship between David - slayer of Goliath - and Jonathas, son of King Saul. The difficulty with adapting this work to a stage production is similar to the nature of attempting to stage Handel's religious oratorios, the libretto by Père François de Paule Bretonneau in this case making it somewhat difficult to grasp a clear dramatic or narrative thread. Another reason why the work may be difficult to follow was that it was originally written to be performed as musical interludes inserted into a performance of the theatrical drama Saul. The Aix production does its best to create some dramatic situations out of this Biblical story by adding flashback scenes during what would have been musical ballet sequences to fill out the background of the characters as well as the historical conflicts that have shaped them.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 25, 2013
Format: DVD
I'm going to recommend this DVD solely on the grounds that it's apparently the only existing recording of an amazing and engaging production, beautifully sung and presented.

Sadly, however, you don't get a genuine idea of how amazing the production really is from this DVD, which is horribly shot and edited. Two of the most powerful scenes between David and Jonathas are all but ruined by inexplicable editing gaffes (in the first) and cheesy and unnecessary slow-motion (in the second). The scene where Saul consults the Witch of Endor, the highlight of the opera in the live production, is filmed and edited in such a way that it's difficult to get a sense of how the scene is arranged and the disturbing effectiveness is largely lost.

The DVD I have is a pre-release version sold at BAM during the production's run in New York. I suppose I can always hold out hope that the commercial release was re-edited and the worst of the damage mitigated, but I'm not holding my breath. Buy it anyway, because it will at least give you a vague idea of what this remarkable production looked like, but be prepared to cringe a lot. And watch the final scene on YouTube, where it's presented without the clumsy special-effects distractions.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By D. Lopez on July 3, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I saw this production at BAM, and cried my eyes out. It really is a beautiful & heart-breaking story, both for the two young lovers, and also for the aged paranoid conqueror. It's not simple, by any means, and the minimal production just helps me to focus on the gorgeous orchestration plus the fantastic singing. However, the camera moves around too damn much, there are way too many zoom-ins and far too many zoom-outs, it's really not necessary since the stage is itself a living thing, adjusting to every bit of drama -- so with all the unnecessary camera movements it really becomes distracting & disorienting. Also, there are some distasteful "special effects" that should have never been allowed, since this is not a science fiction movie, it should have just been a simple & faithful filming of what was pretty much the most memorable experience I've had in years.
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