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Rameau: Zoroastre [Blu-ray]

8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Anders J. Dahlin, Evgueniy Alexiev, Sine Bundgaard, and Anna Maria Panzarella star in this Drottningholm production of the Rameau opera conducted by Christophe Rousset.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Christophe Rousset, Anders J. Dahlin, Sine Bundgaad, Anna Maria Panzarella, Les Talens Lyriques
  • Directors: Pierre Audi, Olivier Simonnet
  • Writers: Louis de Cahusac, Jean-Philippe Rameau
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Classical, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French (Dolby TrueHD 2.0), French (Dolby TrueHD 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Dutch, English, French, Italian, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Opus Arte
  • DVD Release Date: October 28, 2008
  • Run Time: 227 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001D068XY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #215,085 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By T. C. on May 26, 2007
Format: DVD
Zoroastre was the fourth of Rameau's tragédies en musique that was staged, but the 1749 audiences were not especially enthusiastic about the opera, so Rameau and his librettist Louis de Cahusac reworked it completely, and in this revised version it was stages successfully in Paris on 19 January 1756. The revised 1756 version is the one heard today.

The opera takes place in the ancient kingdom of Bactria (old Persia) and is about the struggle between good and evil. The good are led by Zoroastre (Zarathustra), the "founder of the Magi", which is a devotee of Ahura Mazda (the Supreme Being) and the evil, led by the sorcerer Abramane, a servant of Ahriman (the Spirit of Evil).

The opera opens, with Bactria in chaos after the death of the king. The King had two daughters: Amélite, which is the rightful heir, and the evil Erinice. They are both in love with Zoroastre, who loves Amélite. After a lot of singing and dancing (5 acts) the Good is triumphant: Zoroastre and Amélite are the new King and Queen. Erinice is now repentant and Abramane defeated.

The new Opus Arte DVD offers an excellent performance of the opera, both visually and musically. Christophe Rousset, who also plays the harpsichord, leads expertly the HIP forces. The singers are very good.

Lis, the title role is Zoroastre, which was written for an haute-contre (a high French tenor). Mark Padmore was scheduled to sing the part, but it is sung here by the young Swedish tenor Anders J Dahlin. He has a very beautiful and flexible voice, which enables him to cope very well with several elaborated coloratura passages. The Evil main character, the sorcerer Abramane, is sung by baritone Evgueniy Alexiev. What a voice. He is outstanding.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mr. John A. Coulson on October 5, 2009
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Basically the story of the opera centres around the tussle between good and evil, the good being personified in Zoroastre with his love for Amelite and the evil in the sorceror Abramante allied to Erinice, the sister of Amelite who also desires Zorostrate but is vengeful because of rejection.
Rameau was 66 when he composed this piece and it reflects his maturity with its sensuous and cleverly designed music. There are layers of interpretation which are easy to miss but the excellent one hour documentary gives a great introduction and should be viewed first, something I failed to do and so became somewhat perplexed about what was going on. Unfortunately the accompanying booklet gives no written synopsis, an silly omission as the 4 minute verbal description is next to useless. I extracted one from the net and it helped to explain what was going on.
The singing is uniformly excellent and very well recorded with appropriate costuming and excellent lighting to make the production very attractive. No it is NOT Eurotrash!!!
Rameau was a contemporary of Bach and Handel so if you like their music then this is a must for your collection
Video and Audio first class.
Unreservably recommended. This is a Blu Ray I will return to many times again. I'm purchasing the CD set featuring William Christie, Les Arts and one whi Florissants, et al. and this will add to further enjoyment of this delightful work.
Unreservably recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on October 25, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
... and before the 'magic flute' there was the 'magic book' that the beneficent magus Oromases presents to the hero Zoroastre in Jean-Philippe Rameau's boldly "Masonic" opera of 1749, composed decades before Mozart's Zauberflute. There's no clear evidence whether Rameau himself was a Freemason or not, but his librettist Louis de Cahusac unquestionably was, and a highly placed one. His libretto for this innovative 'tragedie lyrique' is an eloquent declaration of Enlightenment/Masonic humanism -- anti-clerical, optimistic about the potentials of humanity and society, a paean to Universal Harmony and the triumph of Light/Wisdom over Darkness/Superstition. There's not a speck of Christianity in the libretto, a fact that must have outraged more than a few people in the ancien regime. The humanistic philosophy expounded in Rameau's opera is far more explicit and radical than that of Mozart's glorious goofiness.

But the comparison extends beyond literary themes. It's a matter of musical genius, also. Let me place my cards on the table: this is a great opera, one of the greatest of the 18th C, and of course the 18th C was the greatest century of musical history. (Go ahead, call my bluff if you dare!) If you're distracted for the briefest moment while watching/hearing this performance, it can only be because you fail to`grok' the music fully ...

... but I'm realistic enough to know that French baroque is a cultivated taste, just as much as an appreciation of ripe cheeses or goose-liver patés. France took its own route through the baroque. French opera is ineluctably different from the conventions of Italian opera that prevailed eveywhere else, from Monteverdi to Mozart.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Steven Guy on August 29, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Considering how few Rameau operas are available on DVD, it is good to see this one come out. I've had it for about a year now and I've returned to it many times. The staging is dark, but effective. My only complaint it the occasional overhead camera angle - however, this may please some viewers. The main quartet of singers are generally very good. The women are, perhaps, a little stronger than the men, but that is a minor quibble for me.

The orchestra uses the earlier version of the opera, without clarinets. However, the orchestral sound is excellent and Rousset brings out the inner rhetoric of even the most apparently prosaic musical phrase.

Lovers of Rameau need not hesitate. I only wish that William Christie's Les Arts Florissants production of the work, available on CD, had also been committed to film.

I look forward to Christophe Rousset's DVD recording of Rameau's "Castor et Pollux", also on the Opus Arte label, due in October this year.
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Rameau: Zoroastre [Blu-ray]
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