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Meyerbeer - Les Huguenots / Bonynge, Sutherland, Thane, Australian Opera (1990)

Joan Sutherland , Anson Austin , Virginia Lumsden  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Meyerbeer - Les Huguenots / Bonynge, Sutherland, Thane, Australian Opera + Meyerbeer: L'Africaine + Meyerbeer: Robert le diable
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Product Details

  • Actors: Joan Sutherland, Anson Austin, Sergei Baigildin, Stephen Bennett, Jennifer Bermingham
  • Directors: Virginia Lumsden
  • Writers: Eugène Scribe
  • Producers: Virginia Lumsden, Peter Butler
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: 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: March 26, 2002
  • Run Time: 200 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000640T2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,508 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Meyerbeer - Les Huguenots / Bonynge, Sutherland, Thane, Australian Opera" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Joan Sutherland's farewell performance to the operatic stage offsets this story of the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre and the magnificence of 16th century France.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good enough September 23, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Come on, guys. This is just about as good as you're gonna get nowadays. Yes, the ol' girl is past her prime. Yes the tenor is squally. But when will you hear a better cast? Not in our lifetimes, I'll bet! (Though try the Opera D'Oro CD with Corelli and Sutherland.) The production values are pretty good. Orchestra is fine. Most of the cast hit most of the notes. Let's just admit that we don't have singers anymore who can perform "The Night of the Seven Stars." If you want to see this opera, this is it. Okay?
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Way to go, Dame Joan November 11, 2008
By Teacup
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Yes, previous reviewers are correct, the great lady is past her prime. IT DOESN'T MATTER. She is still the best singer on the stage and her acting as well as her stage manners are exemplary. She gives some of the best demonstrations of how to acknowledge audience applause without breaking character.

This was a brilliant choice for a farewell performance. It showed off her voice, and though the historic Marguerite de Valois was a bride of 18 at the time of the St. Bartholomew's massacre, Ms Sutherland playing her as an older woman doesn't spoil the opera story-line. The next best singer was the page Urbain, who has lovely arias, which she sang competently and acted well. None of the other singers were upto snuff.

The staging and sets are lovely. The third act ballet (gypsies) was well done, but not well sung. It is a pity that the Australian opera did not, at least for this occasion, import talent to match Ms. Sutherland's. I suppose it made her stand out. Bravissima, La Stupenda, bless you and thank you for sharing your great gift with us all.

I would love to hear the earlier audio version with Ms. Sutherland in the same role and with a cast that can truly be described as the seven stars. The only problem is that you have to pay almost $10 per star! Someday, I shall own it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely enjoyed it March 30, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this performance very much. I finally got to see what "Les Huguenots" is all about. Why this opera is not performed regularly is a mystery to me.

It seems to me that you have to listen to it on its own terms. Just like Wagner requires you to accept him on his terms. If you fight Wagner and expect him to be this or that, you will not enjoy him and he will bore you to death (I'm still not able to sit through "Parsifal"). The same is with this opera. If you accept the length and let it unfold, when Act 4 comes you will be gripped in the drama. The beauty of the scene with Raoul and Valentine will amaze you and hold you through the end of the opera.

Instead of another "Lucia di Lammermoor" let's have this performed. However you need a good tenor and the one on this performance is pretty good.

The video is a little dark at times and the homage to Joan Southerland is a bit long (over twenty minutes). I would have preferred more of the music and less homage. But I'm happy to have this video.

Get this video over the one with Richard Leach. That one is in German and the Nazi setting is distracting and gets in the way, especially if you are not familiar with Les Huguenots. If you want to get it as a second then OK as Leach is amazing.
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21 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful opera, passable production. September 27, 2003
I will tell you from the start, I know a good amount of things about the great masterpieces of opera: I have heard Wagner's Lohengrin, Tristan und Isolde, Der Ring des Nibelungen and Parsifal, Verdi's La Traviata and his four last works, Richard Strauss' Salome, Elektra and Rosenkavalier, Berg's Wozzek, as well as a bunch of other things. I can therefore say that I know what "Grand" opera is. And "Les Huguenots" is.
Meyerbeer has for long been disregarded as a great composer, and this because many other composers who now have a tremendous success (especially Schumann and Wagner) have made fun of him and ridiculised his musical skills. Today, peoples still find something bad to say of his music. Let me try to pop their balloons.
First, according to Meyerbeer bashers, his "melodic invention" is inferior to Bel-cantists, especially Verdi. His arias are, apparently, too short. I beg to differ. The only mistake Meyerbeer ever made in his arias was not to repeat himself. The arias in "Les huguenots" are, if you repeat their melodies like Verdi does in "Rigoletto", "La traviata" or "Il trovatore", are pretty much of similar length and expressivity. As an example, if you take, say, Raoul(the tenor)'s romance "Plus blanche que la blanche ermine" and make him repeat it completely, with other lyrics, we obtain an aria as long as "La donna e mobile", except with better orchestration. It is, however, comprehensible they may SEEM shorter, but their musical value is in no way inferior. If you want a longer aria, just play it's part of the dvd again; it'll do just like Verdi in his middle-period arias. And for those who say this composer couldn't create complex melodic episodes, just take the 16 minutes long love-duet that ends the fourth act of this opera!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A PERFORMANCE FOR THE AGES. June 13, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Well, I cried my heart out, a reaction no one has so far recorded.
Not because of the stupid martyr plot,but because Sutherland's voice has been stilled forever and yet opera bedbugs (others call them opera queens) harp about her being past her prime ON HER FAREWELL PERFORMANCE.
I had never seen this opera. Marguerite de Valois IS NOT THE MAIN CHARACTER. The principals are Valentine, Raoul, Marcel and, to a lesser extent, Urbain.
Amanda Thane peels the paint of the roof--absolutely amazing. Anston Austin looks like a matinee idol and sings much better than other reviewers have given him credit for. Clifford Grant is great as Marcel, and Suzanne Johnston shines as Urbain. An A+ production, a great conductor, and a most memorable moment in the history of opera.
I agree with Dame Joan: her Esclarmonde was her very best role. It should have been recorded on DVD (I saw it more than once at the Met). Meanwhile, we have this unique performance. A must for the SERIOUS opera collector, not the dilettante.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Dame Joan's farewell
dame Joan not at her best here but worth having as it features her farewell at the Sydney opera house
Published 18 months ago by K. M. Collyns
5.0 out of 5 stars Not perfect, but very good
I agree with other reviewers that Sutherland is past her prime, but even past her prime she was still excellent. Read more
Published on January 14, 2007 by A. BOSS
5.0 out of 5 stars glorious!
A grand farewell performance of Dame Joan Sutherland with

such very competent supporting cast. Read more
Published on November 19, 2006 by Romualdo A. Monteclar
5.0 out of 5 stars A blow for art
In act 1, I was hoping for Marcel and his priggish little puritanical protestantism to get their comeuppance. Read more
Published on October 11, 2004 by Joseph Hart
5.0 out of 5 stars The Grand Opera Masterpiece On DVD
Joan Sutherland is a popular soprano with a following of many admirers. She has appeared in various operas now available on DVD, among them Lucrezia Borgia and La Fille Du... Read more
Published on September 10, 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars In Response to Unfair Reviews
I'm getting pretty sick of all these people trashing Huguenots. I admit, Les Huguenots isn't Star Wars or even Tristan und Isolde but it is still truly a great undervalued opera. Read more
Published on April 23, 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars Save your money unless....
Ladies and Gentlemen -- Unless you want a memento of Dame Joan Sutherland's last performance, I agree with another reviewer who said DO NOT BUY THIS DVD. Read more
Published on August 2, 2002 by G. Stefan Lazar
4.0 out of 5 stars A event to be remembered
Dame Joan obviously could not be compared to her prime at her farewell performance. However, that was a very good decision to say farewell to all her fans in this glorious and very... Read more
Published on May 15, 2002 by Opera fan
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