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  • Prokofiev - War and Peace / Bertini, Gunn, Kit, Mamsirova, Gouriakova, Brubaker, Paris Opera
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Prokofiev - War and Peace / Bertini, Gunn, Kit, Mamsirova, Gouriakova, Brubaker, Paris Opera

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Product Details

  • Actors: Nathan Gunn, Olga Gouriakova, Margarita Mamsirova, Leonid Bomstein, Vsevolod Grivnov
  • Directors: François Roussillon
  • Writers: Leo Tolstoy, Mira Mendelson-Prokofieva, Sergei Prokofiev
  • Format: Classical, Color, NTSC
  • Language: Russian
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Alliance
  • DVD Release Date: November 18, 2003
  • Run Time: 289 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000TWMSE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #284,717 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Prokofiev - War and Peace / Bertini, Gunn, Kit, Mamsirova, Gouriakova, Brubaker, Paris Opera" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

When Sergei Prokofiev started work on a new opera, having just finished his opera Betrothal in a Monastery, he could not have envisaged that the theme, borrowed from Tolstoy’s novel War and Peace, would very soon become dreadful reality. It was just two months later that the German invasion of the Soviet Union began. By way of the conscious parallel to Napoleon’s historic invasion of Russia, Prokofiev’s opera became an attempt to strengthen the defense morale of his fellow countrymen in this "patriotic war," as Soviet historians of the Second World War call it. Prokofiev’s opera is divided into two separate parts. The first seven scenes depict the carefree, splendid life amongst the Russian aristocracy and put the love story, which ends through Natasha’s deception, into the centre. The seventh scene ends with the announcement that war has begun. The following six scenes of part two are dedicated to events during the war, beginning with the battle of Borodino and! ending with the escape of the Grande Armee and the liberation of Moscow. Although the first draft of the opera was meant to have been performed in two parts, on two seperate evenings, the opera was eventually trimmed down to fit into a single performance. However, Prokofiev would not live to see his opera performed in its entirety. SPECIAL FEATURES: The Making Of… (79 minutes)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 16 customer reviews
One of my desert island items...
During Act II, Kutuzov is sung very well by bass Nikolai Anatoli Kotcherga, and he gives a strong reading of the Field Marshal's big number.
Ed Uyeshima
It is very different sounding from the orchestra version.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Ed Uyeshima HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 11, 2004
Format: DVD
Very much in the vein of the original Tolstoy novel upon which it is based, as well as the two extravagant movie versions, this production of "War and Peace" is epic in every sense of the word. It is a magnificent staging of Prokofiev's massive opera, directed with great emotional sweep by an American, Francesca Zambello. There are 43 listed roles, though there are dozens more that make up the chorus and background scenes. The scenic design, as you would expect, is impressive. It is no wonder this is rarely staged and consequently ideal for DVD, especially for the four-language optional subtitles (it is sung completely in Russian) and digital sound.

So big is the thirteen-scene, 3 1/2-hour production that it's split into two discs - the seven scenes of Act I, "Peace", are on the first and the remaining six on the second, Act II, "War". Among tastefully opulent sets, "Peace" depicts the carefree, luxurious life of Russian aristocracy focusing on the love story of Natacha Rostova and Prince Andrei Bolkonski, including a lovely and rather complicated ballroom sequence. The disc ends with a stunning choral epilogue that builds from Pierre's response to the news that the French have entered Moscow. It's an effective juxtaposition of the original production where this piece actually began Act II when war is declared between France and Russia. With impressive battlefield details laid out in dark shadows, the second part depicts various events of the war highlighting the two opposing commanders, Kutuzov and Napoleon, and including the battle of Borodino, the climactic scene between Natacha and the dying Andrei, and finally the triumphant liberation of Moscow.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Richard on June 12, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
What an incredible production of this masterpiece. I know it's going against the grain to think this is a masterpiece, but I call it so. What Prokofiev has done is write the ultimate music drama grand opera summing up of the Russian tradition. Don't think it's a grand opera? Check out the burning of Moscow which functions as the great 2nd or 3rd act finale. It is also filled with arias and duets. And it pays homage to the Russian tradition with all those choruses and songs.

Prokofiev has always grabbed me in his later years with his melodies. Romeo, Cinderella and War is filled with them. He may be the foremost melodist of the 20th century - an astounding claim considering how he began his career. When he reveals one of the great melodies of the 20th century in Kutozov's aria the spirit lifts mightily.

This performance is wonderful. The singers look their parts, they sing beaufifully and act well. The production makes do with a minimum of scenery so that the show moves quickly. The war is well done - nearly an impossible task. And the burning of Moscow becomes a great coup de theatre. The performance is cut - and in the excellent 90 minute documentary the creators explain that since this is the first French performance it might be better to cut in the hope of converting people than forcing them to sit through almost 50 more minutes and risk alienating them. I am in favor of the full version - there are some great choruses which although patriotic in the soviet way are still good music. The only cut in Part 1 is the overture. All the rest is in the War half. Whatever - do not miss this unique overwhelming theatrical experience - you are unlikely to find another like it.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By bunburina on July 30, 2004
Format: DVD
It took a visionary American lady to bring this monumental Russian work to the stage, ironically in Paris of all places. The result was glorious. Francesca Zambello pulled off the very difficult task of staging an opera like this spectacularly. Yes, all the special effects were there: battle scene, cannons, burning of Moscow and over 200 people on the stage. Most importantly she managed to tell the story clearly. This is "War and Peace" after all.

The singers were mainly Russians, with two American male lead soloists. Nathan Gunn and Robert Brubaker gave a well sung and well acted performance. The Siberian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky owns the role of Prince Andrei. Mr. Gunn came very close. His handsome voice handled the high notes very well. He certainly worked hard on his Russian dictions and it showed. The phrasing was very nice and natural. Mr. Gunn also had the presence and the nobility of a prince. It is very clear that Mr.Gunn is on his way to a distinguished career.

Mr. Brubaker sang Pierre with different emotional ranges. But his Pierre sounded more like a good-natured country squire. It lacked the intensity of a very complicated man. (By the way, a pre-superstar Franco Corelli sang Pierre at the first complete staging of War and Peace in Italy in 1953)

The Russian mezzo Elena Zaremba is always a delight to see and hear. Here, as Helene, she was sophisticated, beautiful, flirtatious and very corrupted. She let us know how to use just the voice to portray a glamorous woman.

As the heroine, Natasha, Ms. Olga Guryakova got high mark for her performance. Slim, beautiful and with beautiful voice to match, she is an ideal Natasha. Her acting ability is as good as her singing. You will fall in love with Nahasha after you have heard Ms.
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