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  • Purcell - King Arthur / Bonney, Schade, Rey, Widmer, Remmert, Maertens, Konig, Henkel, Bantzer, Renner, Rohrer, Harnoncourt, Salzburg Opera
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Purcell - King Arthur / Bonney, Schade, Rey, Widmer, Remmert, Maertens, Konig, Henkel, Bantzer, Renner, Rohrer, Harnoncourt, Salzburg Opera

13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Barbara Bonney, Birgit Remmert, Michael Schade, Oliver Widmer, and Isabel Rey star in Purcell opera filmed at the Felsenreitschule in Salzburg, with the Konzervereingung Wiener Staatsoperchor and Concentus Musicus Wien conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt.


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Barbara Bonney, Isabel Rey, Birgit Remmert, Michael Schade, Nikolaus Harnoncourt
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English, French, German
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: EuroArts
  • DVD Release Date: September 20, 2005
  • Run Time: 169 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000AMMSFI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,113 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Brian J Hay on August 3, 2010
Verified Purchase
After reading all the bad reviews of this production I can only wonder if most of the people who savaged it really sat down and gave it their full attention.

The set is a marvel. It's a huge multi-tiered piece that appears to be modelled along the lines of an ancient coliseum. There's a large backdrop overhead which depicts a sky and also serves as a projection screen. The effects are a combination of conventional stage devices (trap doors) and modern multi-media. The stage is a large oval with the orchestra pit is squarely in the middle. That served the production really well. But more on that later ...

The wardrobe is a multi-coloured array of styles and designs that looks like a what's what of fashions that survived a cataclysm. It looks bizarre but it acts as a contemporary image of how the peasantry would have dressed in Arthur's time; they were as poor as dirt and would have worn anything they could find. The costumes and makeup are excellent. The outfit worn by the spirit 'Philadel' combined baroque fashions with hair from '80's glam-rock. It was hilarious. 'Grimbald' is so hideously ugly he really looks as if he smells like rotten fish (something that 'Philadel' pointed out several times). Michael Schade's wardrobe ran the gamut from formal wear to alpine guide missing his St. Bernard. Barbara Bonney went from sprite to rag doll and finished up formally dressed. Isabel Rey wore an array of outfits as did Birgit Remmert and baritone Oliver Widmer. Widmer even ended up dressed as a penguin at one point. This was a feast of images that flooded the senses. But it all works in the service of the piece.

The narrative is updated but still reasonably faithful to (John) Dryden's original intentions.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Steven Guy on February 10, 2007
This was made for a German audience and, as such, it works well. I am not against updated production values. Purcell only wrote music, admittedly extensive music, for a play. Purcell's music is beautiful, sublime, fun, powerful, joyful, expressive and funny - he does all these things in the music in King Arthur. Herr Harnoncourt does not mess around with the music at all - you hear, and see, 100% Henry Purcell when the music is performed.

However, the language of the drama is German and the staging is creative and modern. Shoot me, but I quite liked it. I am tolerant of such things, and, until a really H.I.P. DVD version of King Arthur is available, I think that this is the only party in town.

Yes, there is an element of Euro-trash here and I think that that is quite knowingly presented, perhaps it was intentional?

I love this work, I sang in a production two years ago. If you really want a serious recording of King Arthur, buy the William Christie / Les Arts Florissants recording on CD. That is probably one of the best recordings of any Baroque opera, or, indeed, ANY opera on CD.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. F. S. Mui on February 5, 2012
Yes - there is a 'music only' icon in the Main Menu!
I don't understand why people did not consider the music, but simply rant out on the more controversial production.
Harnoncourt and his singers did a wonderful job here - you can see him standing at the centre of the 'ring', singing the arias himself, enjoying immensely with the performaners.
And I absolutely agree with one other reviewer who commended on the performances of the non-singing cast as well as the singing cast. The ballet dancers are marvellous; the actor and actresses top rate.
If there IS any thing to complain of, it is the 'format' of the composition itself rather than the performance.
In nearly all of Henry Purcell's 'semi-operas', the protagonists are non-singing. Actually, it would not be accurate to call this genre of composition 'opera's - they are melodramas, to be exact.
Given the innate constraint, one would be much easier to come to terms with this production, which is never sloppy.
Back to the music - I absolutely love Michael Schade's singing here. He has the charisma, the timbre, the technique, the musical sense that connects the past with the present. Purcell's music is given a direct linkage to the Beatles!
Barbara Bonney's 'Fairest Isle' is nothing short of being tear-wrenchinglhy beautiful.
Unless you are a die-hard traditionalist, you'd enjoy this!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Abert on January 31, 2012
This is an apparently disastrous production. I almost fell asleep on the cold weekend afternoon watching it.
Alas, I am no German listener, and the dialogues are really tortuous.
THEN I discovered that there is a shortened 'music only' version in the Main Menu, of which I immediately resorted to.
Wow! What a world of difference! My ignorance in language was fully overcomed by the beautiful music and spectacular performances!
The soloists are brilliant - none other than Barbara Bonney and Michael Schade in their respect prime! Brilliant singing, beautiful costumes in many scenes (if not all), and even the acrobatic performance by the 'angel' who strides in the air wired from above was later on 'borrowed' by Zhang Yimou in the 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening!
The problem, if at all, is that this work is not an opera - like many of Purcell's works that are 'semi-operas', the main characters are NOT the major singers. Hence Schade and Bonney, even if they got to sing the main pieces, never appeared as any major 'character' in the story plot.
I agree and sympthesize with the conventional opera watchers/goers - this may NOT be their cup of tea, but even so, the performance is terrific (Bonney and Schade sung immaculately, Rey is effective and the baritone also sung beautifully. The chorus is strong in all respects. Harnoncourt's conducting is alert and highly energised). The production may be problematic, but again, as I said, the 'music only' button saved it all!
Enjoy!
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Purcell - King Arthur / Bonney, Schade, Rey, Widmer, Remmert, Maertens, Konig, Henkel, Bantzer, Renner, Rohrer, Harnoncourt, Salzburg Opera
This item: Purcell - King Arthur / Bonney, Schade, Rey, Widmer, Remmert, Maertens, Konig, Henkel, Bantzer, Renner, Rohrer, Harnoncourt, Salzburg Opera
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