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Purcell: The Fairy Queen (2010)

Lucy Crowe , Carolyn Sampson , Jonathan Kent  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

List Price: $39.99
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Product Details

  • Actors: Lucy Crowe, Carolyn Sampson, Ed Lyon, Andrew Foster-Williams, Sally Dexter
  • Directors: Jonathan Kent
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (DTS 5.1), English (Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Bbc / Opus
  • DVD Release Date: June 29, 2010
  • Run Time: 221 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003H0ZGWC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,431 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews


This year-old Glyndebourne production of Henry Purcell's loose adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream offers as much fun as you could ever have in an opera house. It's a perfect entertainment for your very own enchanted midsummer's eve.

Restoration England's mega-musicals groaned with lavish sets, special effects, dancers, singers, actors and orchestra. The premiere of The Fairy Queen in 1692 nearly bankrupted its producer. Despite some of the richest and most beautiful music to come out of 17th-century England, few producers have dared to tackle this ramshackle, five-act extravaganza, so it's very rare to see a full staging, much less a big-budget operatic party like this one.

Everything about this show is a pleasure, from the period-busting setting, lavish sets and costumes, and excellent actors and singers, to the gorgeous modern dance choreography, comic silliness and impeccable leadership of music director William Christie.

Director Jonathan Kent has created a masterpiece that offers something to savour in each ingeniously conceived scene. Somehow, the patchwork eventually comes together into something far richer and more entertaining than we can find in conventional grand opera.

There are two short interviews with Kent and Christie, who share the insights that made this glorious spectacle possible. -- The, John Terauds

Product Description

Jonathan Kent's spectacular production of Purcell's huge semi-opera is joyous, imaginative and witty. Glyndebourne, with its intimate auditorium, provides the perfect setting for a drama which is partly spoken and partly sung. Based on an adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, the story is lavished with a brilliance that justifies this production's acclaim. Paul Brown's inventive designs, Kim Brandstrup's exquisite choreography, an excellent cast of actors and singers and outstanding playing by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under William Christie combine to make a seamless theatrical experience, here recorded in High Definition and true surround sound.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning August 22, 2010
Verified Purchase
Oh, this one is just too much fun.

The moment that really establishes the nature of this production occurs when the tradesmen are introduced. The music that plays through it is an absolutely delectable rondeau. Musical Director William Christie shapes the dynamics of the musical score around the movements of the men beautifully. Choreographer Kim Brandstrup has all of them moving as one with that shape. Director Jonathan Kent shows the men as the clowns of the piece but uses the lyricism of the music to reveal the grace in their hearts. It's hilarious and deeply moving all at once. And it's typical of the joys this production holds.

The sets Paul Brown designed for the production are exceptional. The main one resembles an elegant hall of the sort found in Victorian England. The woodwork is ornate, the draperies are lavish and the furnishings are stylish. The piece is comprised of three false walls which can be moved according to the demands of the action. The other major set piece is a backdrop which resembles a burning sky. There's a lift in the centre of the stage that allows actors to be introduced to or removed from the action. The central area of the stage itself is raised above a few steps which surround it. Whenever the walls of the room aren't in use this also allows performers to enter, exit or function as an audience. Mark Henderson's lighting designs keep the eyes moving to wherever the focal point of the action is. They also do an excellent job of keeping the subordinate aspects in view.

The actors are all good but there's a few who stand above the rest. Joseph Millson gives great performance as the imperious 'Oberon'. His enunciation is the best of all the performers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fairy Queen is superb January 14, 2012
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I saw an excerpt ('Thus the rising sun') on Youtube, and was taken in by Adam and Eve. I've always loved Purcell, and this is an imaginative and strong production. Very visually intriging and the incorporation of Shakespeare is great. I loved this DVD.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am short of superlatives August 27, 2011
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As another reviewer had put it best: "it is just too much fun"

If you love the music, and not afraid of some non-traditional winks you are in for a real treat... what else can I say ... I truly wish I could watch it live...
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