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Profile for Chris Reich > Reviews


Chris Reich's Profile

Customer Reviews: 261
Top Reviewer Ranking: 4,490
Helpful Votes: 1674

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Reviews Written by
Chris Reich "Business Physicist and Astronomer" RSS Feed (Northern, CA)

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Gounod - St. Cecilia Mass / Hendricks, Dale, Lafont, Pretre
Gounod - St. Cecilia Mass / Hendricks, Dale, Lafont, Pretre
Price: $16.27
73 used & new from $0.57

4.0 out of 5 stars A Misse NOT to Miss, September 27, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I originally posted a negative review. Somehow, when setting this up on my MP3 player it got crossed with Mahler's 8th Symphony---also a choral work.

I really don't much like the Mahler piece and mistakenly branded this piece in the confusion.

So, to revise, I added a star and do highly recommend this stately and dignified piece. Peace? It might be ideal for a walk in the woods or a rest in the hammock.

Highly recommend...

Natural Tangerine Flavor
Natural Tangerine Flavor
Offered by All Star Extracts
Price: $5.59
2 used & new from $4.88

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's Good But Try the Grapefruit, September 16, 2014
This review is from: Natural Tangerine Flavor (Misc.)
I prefer the grapefruit to this. The grapefruit is wonderful. This is close to tangerine but not as strong as it needs to be. Still, it's good and does not taste synthetic.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 20, 2014 1:30 PM PST

Joyce Chen 21-9972, Classic Series 4-Piece Carbon-Steel Wok Set
Joyce Chen 21-9972, Classic Series 4-Piece Carbon-Steel Wok Set
Price: $34.08
14 used & new from $21.45

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ... a decent wok and will give you years of great service if you don't take care of it, September 12, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a decent wok and will give you years of great service if you don't take care of it. Yes, you read that correctly. The biggest mistake people make is over cleaning carbon steel.

First, make sure you season it correctly. Get the varnish off by boiling it. Then heat the pan and add oil. Rub the oil around with a paper towel and then heat the pan until the oil smokes---very important. Just oiling the pan will not work. Let it cool, oil it up, heat again. Do that 5 times.

After preparing a meal, rinse the wok with hot water---never use soap. You can scour with a plastic pad if needed. Rinse. Wipe dry. Put it immediately on the stove and heat it up. Add oil and wipe the entire inside with oil using paper towel. When it starts to smoke, remove from heat.

Sounds like a lot to do? I can clean and oil my wok faster than I can clean the large stainless pan I used to use. Truly.

The other benefits? Because it's very thin metal, it gets quite hot. That's the whole secret to great Chinese cooking. You'll taste the difference. The steel imparts a little flavor because of the pan's seasoning. This too is hard to duplicate in a typical frying pan.

So, rinse, scour, heat and oil. This will give you years of service.

Great product. I only gave 4 stars because it costs about 500% more than the exact same item in China Town.

Bizet: Carmen [Blu-ray]
Bizet: Carmen [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Anna Caterina Antonacci
Price: $32.98
41 used & new from $15.05

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Adequate Though It Cannot Be the Best Carmen Because..., August 31, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Bizet: Carmen [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
The great reviews are a bit of a surprise to me. This production is acceptably well done but the singing, particularly of Antonacci, comes nowhere near the deep erotic sensuousness of Maria Callas. I would surmise from seeing and hearing several Carmens that Callas is the gold standard.

The acting is acceptable. At times, the acting seems a little out of sync with the action. As much as I love Kaufmann, I saw no moment where he went from Momma's boy to madly in love with Carmen. This is common with Kaufmann---he is no doubt the world's best tenor (currently) but his love scenes lack credibility. I had this same feeling in Lohengrin when he declares his love for Elsa. Really? And he never seemed that interested in Marguerite (Faust)---though the Faust production is more recent and his acting is much better now that it was 5 years ago. This opera is a bit like Carmen meets Siegfried.

No points deducted for Kaufmann's singing. Excellent.

The staging is very good. It all works.

This is worth adding to your collection. I am collecting operas in which Kaufmann appears without shoes. Add this one.

Your comments are welcome and I will reply as time permits.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 1, 2015 2:48 PM PST

Natural Pink Grapefruit Flavor
Natural Pink Grapefruit Flavor
Offered by All Star Extracts
Price: $6.99
2 used & new from $6.38

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Flavor, No Junk Added, July 29, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a fantastic item. I love the taste of grapefruit. Add a few drops to a jug of water and you've got a wonderful grapefruit flavored water that is true to the fruit, subtle and in no need of sweetening. It's very, very good. There are no artificial ingredients. Superb.

I am ordering other flavors today based on how good this is.

Wagner: Lohengrin [Blu-ray]
Wagner: Lohengrin [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Wagner
Price: $37.39
21 used & new from $31.71

5.0 out of 5 stars There Are Quirks But This Is My Favorite Lohengrin, July 29, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This production has it's quirks but to date is my favorite. Having purchased a handful of Lohengrins, I've decided this one is my favorite. There is a clean mix of the modern with the traditional---the piano scene is a bit weird---but for the most part it stays true to the intent of the composer.

I am not too picky about the sound quality of a DVD unless it's very poor. Great sound comes from a studio, not a production of singers bouncing around a stage. That said, the sound is decent. The performances are excellent. I would give the singing a solid B+ and the acting an A. The acting in Lohengrin is very important. I doubt Wagner would tolerate sub-standard performance in any area, music, singing or acting. I do think that bad acting can destroy this opera and the acting here conveys the story's deeper meanings very well.

Here's what I mean. Elsa approaches mental imbalance. There is a tension with her character from the beginning. Is she the virtuous maiden or just a bit nuts? The King's herald is appropriately aloof and sterile. He serves as the referee between myth and reality. The king seems really conflicted. War is breaking out and he's got this divided territory and he must rule on whether Elsa is nuts or Friedrich is working a ploy. We feel the tension. The king looks conflicted unlike in other productions I've seen, this king looks really torn. Then this knight shows up. Is he really a good guy? The king asks that question---and in this production, he has the look of Montezuma. Is this the return of the god-knight or some evil force? Meanwhile, Ortrud is blowing a gasket and conjuring up anything to help Friedrich prevail. The closing of Act 1 really is a mad house scene. It's beautiful. There is a coming together, an agreement, but it's chaos too as Ortrud shrieks, Friedrich crawls off, Elsa is smitten, our magic knight croons and the king, at the top of his lungs, is basically singing "Let's get on with things!"

The other DVDs seem to dilute this very weird opera. They either stage it so screwy the original philosophy is lost, or it's so bland it ends up a watered down Arthurian story. This is a profound treatise on good, evil, virtue and conflict. In my opinion, the DVD allows those themes to play out. I liked it.

47 Ronin
47 Ronin
by John Allyn
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.13
96 used & new from $0.44

2.0 out of 5 stars There Are Better Comic Books, July 16, 2014
This review is from: 47 Ronin (Paperback)
The book is mildly entertaining but reads like one of the Japanese comic books. Here's a story that is about as vibrant a tale as possible with the honor of an entire culture riding on it. This novel fails to develop the characters and fails to convey any of the magnitude of the event.

There's a line that just struck me as hilarious. In a bar scene, one of the boys wants to go get a potential traitor right at that moment. The wise Samurai, whoops, ex Samurai cum Ronin, says, "Do not go off half cocked". Picture the deep voice, maybe add a grunt, oh! No half cock grasshopper. The expression, half cocked, has to do with the readiness of a gun. These guys didn't have guns. No, Samurai sons [sic] do not go nuclear. I just found this book to be borderline silly.

There has to be a better account somewhere. I gave it 2 stars because, based on the really ridiculous trailer I saw, this book has to be better than the movie which look like a stars wars goes to 18th century Tokyo.

Cecilia Bartoli - Rossini Arias
Cecilia Bartoli - Rossini Arias
Offered by skyvo-direct-usa
Price: $14.68
123 used & new from $0.01

0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Mistake, Oh What a Mistake, July 14, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this CD in error while searching for a Rossini opera. Shopping on a tablet is sometimes confusing---I viewed this, somehow bought it and yuck, cannot stand it. There are many detractors of this woman's voice and I could never understand that until now. I have another CD of hers that I received as a gift. I didn't care for it and it's been on the shelf after a single listen years ago. This CD is like nails on a chalkboard. Awful screechy warbly noise.

I can't understand what the other reviewers found so wonderful about this CD of ear piercing coloratorture.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 21, 2015 9:54 AM PDT

Prokofiev - The Love for Three Oranges / Nagano, Opera National de Lyon
Prokofiev - The Love for Three Oranges / Nagano, Opera National de Lyon
DVD ~ Gabriel Bacquier
Offered by Cue 2323
Price: $17.98
6 used & new from $9.91

4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Amusing and Worthwhile Production, July 13, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is an odd production of an odd opera. Still, it's enjoyable and I'm glad to have it in my collection. The singing is good, the acting is very good, the staging is about as good as it gets for this opera short of doing a high budget movie version.

The story is strange but it is almost a modern update or parody of Die Meistersinger. You have groups---which I suppose represent the unwashed masses of opera attendees---crying for more comedy! Make us laugh! Other groups call for drama. So the opera is trying to please these clamoring masses while delivering artistic excellence. Operas are somewhat known for nearly corny plots so Prokofiev takes that to extremes and still stays just inside of coherent. That's actually pretty masterful.

I won't say that I was engrossed by this opera so I'll give it 4 stars. But I have mixed feelings about that and perhaps it deserves 5. I struggle because it does brilliantly make the composer's points about much of the absurdity around art and the public's demand for what they want. Again, think about Meistersinger. Wagner makes a similar statement but does so in all seriousness to "preserve the German art form!" Here Prokofiev uses a kingdom run by a clown king who hires a real clown to cure the heir of hypochondria who then falls in love with three oranges, one of which turns into a princess. The prince is cured and the kingdom saved. In the end, the crowds are pleased. Hum?

Give it a chance. It's worth a venture out to something very different. I would sure appreciate your comments.

Verdi: Il Trovatore
Verdi: Il Trovatore
DVD ~ Verdi
22 used & new from $17.19

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! What Amazing Singing, July 13, 2014
This review is from: Verdi: Il Trovatore (DVD)
Here is a nearly perfect production of a very difficult opera. Get it while you can. It's a treasure.

The opera itself has a very convoluted plot. It can be difficult to follow the motivations of the characters, This staging is very quick paced which helps build continuity between the scenes. The set is a little bit strange---very dark. I wondered if it was meant to be a church or a torture chamber at times. The Count's headquarters are like an emergency exit from a factory. None of these minor criticisms detract enough from the performance to matter.

The performances of all the singers are superb. Some of the arias are simply spell-binding. Verdi is about the music and this is a singers production. The orchestra does the job and is never in the way. This is one of the best operas on DVD for pure singing that I have seen. Every part is excellent and will have you holding your breath on some of the most beautiful long notes, diminutive expressions and leaps into high territory.

When I ordered, I made an error and added this to my cart twice. It was a large order and the DVD was pretty inexpensive so I didn't notice. Now I'm glad to have a spare to loan to friends. It's that good.

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