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Shostakovich: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk


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Product Details

  • Actors: Jeanne Michèle Charbonnet, Vladimir Vaneev, Vsevolod Grivnov, James Conlon, Sergej Kunaev
  • Directors: Lev Dodin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Classical, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Russian (Dolby Digital 5.1), Russian (DTS 5.1), Russian (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: German, English, Russian, Italian, French, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Arthaus
  • DVD Release Date: October 27, 2009
  • Run Time: 170 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002N5KDX4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,442 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Jeanne-Michele Charbonnet, Vladimir Vaneev, Vsevolod Grivnov, Sergei Kunaev, and Nana Miriani star in this 2008 Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino production of the Shostakovich opera conducted by James Conlon.

Review

It's been nearly three years since the Canadian Opera Company's gut-wrenchingly satisfying production of Dmitri Shostakovich's 1934 opera, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. Since the work isn't produced often, any opportunity to see it on DVD is worth checking out. This 2008 production from the Teatro del Maggio Musicale in Florence doesn't disappoint.

American conductor James Conlon brings out every nuance in Shostakovich's score, which beautifully underlines the drama unleashed by a solid cast led by dramatic-voiced Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet as Katerina, a bourgeois woman who takes up with another man while her husband is away.

Think of this long, four-act opera as Desperate Housewives set in a late-19th-century Russian backwater: Bored housewife meets handsome drifter, she kills her husband, the adulterers are sent to a prison camp, Katerina sees her new husband eyeing another woman and pushes the woman into the Volga river before throwing herself in, too.

It's not light entertainment, but there's a lot to savour in a fine production. Director Lev Dodin and designer David Borovsky have kept it simple, if exceedingly drab, focusing everything on the main characters. If there is one flaw, it's a lack of electricity between Charbonnet and tenor Sergei Kunaev, who plays her lover. There are no extras in this two-DVD set. -- Thestar.com, John Terauds, January 12, 2010

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By G. Stefan Lazar on November 7, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is an opera of high drama and this recording simply doesn't even come close to meeting its dramatic requirements time after time. I'm sure someone will write a more length review so this is my short take. The singers are adequate or maybe a little better at best and there is something in the quality of Jeanne Michèle Charbonnet's voice that I find unpleasant to listen to. The orchestra plays well but doesn't have the sarcastic bite (most of the time) that Shostakovich's music often requires. The same set for all four acts severely limits what the director can do, i.e. keeping the singers at a distance from one another at moments when they should be close. However, the director fails even when this restriction could be overcome. Neither the killing of Boris or his son have any tension, characters are offstage when they should be seen, the sex scenes are nothing more than music, and the drunken party scene of act 3 was rather tame. Act 4 fared somewhat better but not by much. One odd thing -- the orchestra pit was raised and lowered during the interludes on at least 2 occasions that I could see on the video.

Of the two available commercial DVDs, I would definitely choose the one from Amsterdam but the Barcelona (Liceu) performance is good also. However, the best performance possible was done at London's Royal Opera House in 2006. The cast, conducting and setting (Stalinist era) are riveting. It was televised on the BBC. If you know anyone (as I do) that may have recorded it, try and get a copy. It is opera at it's absolute best. Hopefully, it may be released on DVD some day. You can find a few clips on YouTube by using these three search terms -- mtsensk royal opera.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael Malloy on June 23, 2011
Format: DVD
It seems either I was seeing double when I first wrote my review or the image has been changed. Buy the opera for the content. Be aware that there is a revision made by Shostakovich in which he changed the title and added some material. The 1962 title is "Katerina Izmailova", the original dates from 1934. The original, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk of course has nothing to do with Shakespeare. The opera was sharply criticized by the Communist party and was banned for 30 years.
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