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Rameau - Les Boreades / Bonney, Agnew, Spence, Naouri, Panzarella, Degout, Rivenq, Christie, Les Arts Florissants, Paris Opera (2003)

Barbara Bonney , Anna Maria Panzarella , Thomas Grimm  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Barbara Bonney, Anna Maria Panzarella, Jaël Azzaretti, Paul Agnew, Toby Spence
  • Directors: Thomas Grimm
  • Writers: Louis de Cahusac
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Alliance
  • DVD Release Date: August 17, 2004
  • Run Time: 150 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001Z65PI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #411,124 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Rameau - Les Boreades / Bonney, Agnew, Spence, Naouri, Panzarella, Degout, Rivenq, Christie, Les Arts Florissants, Paris Opera" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

This mythical tale of a young queen, Alphise, determined to abdicate rather than contemplate an enforced marriage to a descendant of Boreas, is nothing less than highly-charged. Director Robert Carsen and his creative team flood the stage with summer blossoms, drifts of autumn leaves, winter snows and thunderous spring storms. The cast of 140 are attired in elegant costumes inspired by late 1940s Dior. The all-star cast, led by Barbara Bonney and Paul Agnew, includes the ground-breaking modern dance ensemble La La La Human Steps, choreographed by Édouard Lock, who perform dance ‘divertissements’ in this strikingly beautiful staging. This 2-DVD set also includes ‘The Triumph of Love’ – 60 minute documentary on the background of the production, including interviews with Robert Carsen, William Christie, Barbara Bonney, Paul Agnew and Laurent Naouri and other members of the cast. Picture Format: 4:3 • Sound Format: Dolby Stereo, 5.1 Surround Sound • Subtitles: GB/D/F/ES • Sung in French

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant in Every Way June 14, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Rameau never saw Les Boreades staged. He was 80 years old when he wrote it. The planned production at Louis XV's theater in Choisy in 1763 was mysteriously abandoned, perhaps due to court intrigue, and the opera was forgotten until John Eliot Gardiner conducted a concert version of it in London in 1974. This DVD captures the first-ever full performance, by the Opera National de Paris in 2003, in such spectacular fashion that the ghost of Jean-Philippe Rameau might think it was worth waiting for. Every singer is superb, every dancer is lithe and beautiful to behold, every note from Bill Christie's period orchestra is perfect, and the staging is a wonder of creativity. Why anyone wouldn't drool over this production is inexplicable to me.

French Baroque opera was so different from Italian - including the works of that Italo-Saxon Handel - that it constitutes a separate genre. The first difference you'll notice is that it's half ballet, and thus it contains extended movements of purely instrumental music. But the singing is different also; most of it is orchestrally supported recitativo, rather than the Italian succession of dry recitativo and set-piece da capo arias. This though-composed singing, with almost no repetition of text, makes French opera oddly more similar to Puccini than to Handel, though the similarity stops far short of sounding alike. This is a long opera - 218 minutes - and it will take a neophyte a couple of scenes to adjust to the musical style. Stay with it! The musical steam builds up until the fourth and fifth acts, which integrate the orchestra with the cast of 140 singers and dancers!

The story concerns the Queen of the Boreades, who is required by the God of the North Wind to marry one of two suitors of His royal stock.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rameau with roulades July 16, 2004
By A Customer
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Musically crisp, tight and exciting, with extravagant and gorgeous singing. The DVD shows what is show-worthy in Paris these days: minimalist décor, but charming stage gimmicks (e.g., autumn leaves spun out of whirling, upside-down umbrellas); strong dancing (some en pointe) from both the forces of darkness (winds in trenchcoats) and of light (zephyrs in light cotton underwear). The footwork is fantastic and the movement (often against Rameau's metre) sets the music in relief, true to the commentary interviews; some will find the arm and finger movement repetitive and excessive, as this is a work with as much dancing as singing. Amazing that Boréades was written one year after Gluck's Orfeo.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Visually stunning! November 3, 2006
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A small group of friends meet regularly at my house to view opera DVDs. We all enjoyed this one very much. The staging worked beautifully, with the flowers, leaves and snow. The voices were quite good, and the baroque music wonderful. None of us was familiar with the music of Rameau, but will look forward to hearing more. Prospective viewers should be aware that there is as much, if not more, dance as singing. The dancing, like the staging, is very modern -- our one complaint was that the female dancers all looked anorexic! All in all, a first rate program. We heartily recommend it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Snow Job March 8, 2007
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The voices are all great; Bonney especialy. It takes some getting use too, as this is early and largely unfamiliar opera form, but I found intense drama and developement in the music and the story line gripping. The production is top rate with clever use of snow (it's the north wind afterall) umbrellas and choreographed movement. The latter reflects the French taste for ballet. Yes, it takes getting used to, but is worth the effort.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful opera in a stunning modern performance December 26, 2006
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If your idea of opera involves high drama (divas stabbing villains with knives, or coughing themselves to death in the last act), then maybe Rameau won't be your cup of tea (or goblet of poison). But if you actually like French Baroque music (as I do), then this is some of Rameau's most gorgeous music. Yes, the action is not fast-paced. Yes, the plot is constantly interrupted by dances. But when the stagecraft is as visually stunning as that devised by Robert Carson in this production, and the dancing is by the group La La La Human Steps, well, you really don't want things to happen too quickly: you want to linger on the beautiful stage pictures these artists create. Barbara Bonney and Paul Agnew both sing wonderfully, and Les Arts Florissants directed by Wiliam Christie get the score just right. The costumes, which suggest mid-century Dior (with a touch of S&M), make the work seem oddly contemporary. I also recommend the interviews with the artists: an engaging and informative bonus.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars These people know theatre! December 1, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Another great production by The Opera National de Paris, Les Arts Florissants and musical director, William Christie... the other being "Les Indes Gallantes". The two make a nice pair of offerings by Rameau: one being a light comedy and this one being a more serious work [with a deus ex machina happy ending]. These people understand theatre and can put together a great show with stunning visuals and moving, exciting, engaging drama.

The singing and dancing are top notch and the performers make everything seem effortless. No deliberate positioning and glancing at the conductor before standing there working hard to make that aria perfection. Though no doubt the hard work is definitely there, it's invisible. The singers and dancers just act and move and sing and dance their [difficult] music and choreography as if it were just...oh....what's supposed to go on now....just sorta spontaneous. Marvelous!

The stage design is beautiful, not horrible. There is defined two stiff and rigid, yet elegant, in structured and tailored grey wool; covered up in coats, gloves and turtle necks. Cold [well duh], icy...even to the point of mowing down a carpet of flowers upon their 1st appearance. The other camp is light, diaphanous, unbuttoned, free, in crinkled cottons with lots of skin showing....who literally bring back the flowers at the end.

Some of the best bits are the weather: all the seasons are represented realistically from a summer carpet of flowers at the beginning [its mowing down is a great bit] to a massive fall of autumn leaves, to a clear winter night that turns into a blizzard, ending with a rain soaked spring with flowers emerging again.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Rameau's magnificent finale.
Superb performances all round. Barbara Bonney gives us an intense portrayal of the Bactrian queen Alphise. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Kiwimezzo
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Fascinating !
This DVD is stunning ! The combination of ultra-modern hip-hop dancing with historically informed performances on original instruments and with authentic vocal styles, is simply... Read more
Published on July 28, 2009 by Robert Wolovitz
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous, only one complaint
Gorgeous music, gorgeous singing...a real discovery. I don't mind the modern dress and's such an artificial plot anyway it doesn't really matter how it's staged. Read more
Published on October 19, 2008 by BillBC
4.0 out of 5 stars Les Boreades
A must-have for Rameau freaks, Les Boreades is a fully staged production, with many incidental ballets and fabulous music by France's greatest Rococo composer. Read more
Published on September 7, 2008 by James M. Ward
5.0 out of 5 stars love and sunlight triumph!
We just watched this DVD for the second time after an interval of many months. The first time we loved it, now we love it even more. Read more
Published on July 18, 2008 by pohaku
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant in Every Way
Rameau never saw Les Boreades staged. He was 80 years old when he wrote it. The planned production at Louis XV's theater in Choisy in 1763 was mysteriously abandoned, perhaps due... Read more
Published on June 14, 2008
3.0 out of 5 stars Musically rushed
Great to see this staged, but the music is so terribly driven - fast, even rushed - to the extreme. So much of the beautiful detail is lost. Much prefer to listen to Bruggen.
Published on July 10, 2007 by R. G. W. Brown
1.0 out of 5 stars Make it stop...pleeease!
If you like ultra modern productions coupled with 270 year old music then you will love this DVD. Personally I'm not such a good reviewer on the music of this DVD. Read more
Published on February 9, 2007 by Steve E. Ulrich
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Exquisite.
I was lucky enough to see this performance in 2004 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and was then thorgouhly enchanted. Read more
Published on March 13, 2006 by Jonah L. Rosenberg
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