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The Opera Gala: Live from Baden-Baden

4.7 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Deutsche Grammophon proudly presents the new faces of the opera world in a glamorous new live concert DVD: Anna Netrebko, Elı - na Garancˇa, Ramón Vargas and the highly acclaimed young French baritone Ludovic Tézier sing a wide range of Italian and French opera favorites. This recording features highlights from concerts at Baden- Baden's Festspielhaus, where tickets to this extraordinary event sold out in record time. The DVD features the four young stars performing duets and the popular quartet "Bella figlia dell'amore" from Rigoletto. Other highlights include Delibes' famous flower duet from Lakmé performed sumptuously by Anna and Elı-na. Total Playing Time: 139 min.

The Festival Theatre at the German spa town of Baden-Baden is a spanking modern concert hall behind the façade of a handsome 19th-century railroad station. In July 2007, it hosted an evening of wonderful singing by a quartet of leading operatic stars in a program that could have been titled "Opera's Greatest Hits." After a brief orchestral piece from Bellini's Norma the fireworks begin with the duet Mira, o Norma featuring soprano Anna Netrebko and mezzo Elina Garanca, their voices blending beautifully. From then on, it's one familiar, well-loved operatic chestnut after another, all done with spirited fervor and admirable vocalism. Tenor Ramón Vargas is a positive presence, giving us the bel canto gem Una furtive lagrima from Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore in a flawlessly idiomatic interpretation that includes stunning diminuendos and a melting mezza-voce. Ludovic Tézier's rich baritone scores with a subtle rendition of Riccardo's death scene from Verdi's Don Carlo and, in yet another highlight in an evening full of them, joins Vargas in the great duet Dio, che nell'alma infondere from that opera.

Garanca's Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix from Saint-Saën's Samson et Dalila is undersung but her showpiece aria from Rossini's La Cenerentola sparkles, with impressive coloratura fireworks. Netrebko is among the most brilliant stars of today's operatic firmament and while overparted in Norma's Casta Diva, she's effective elsewhere. She brings the house down with the first of the concert's many encores, a performance of Lehar's Meine Lippen from the operetta, Giuditta, that includes seductive singing and acting, sexual flirtations, and energetic dancing. Her enthusiasm is infectious, sparking her colleagues as well as the audience. All four singers join in the quartet from Rigoletto that ends the formal portion of the concert, and in the final encore, they trade verses in an arrangement of the Drinking Song from La Traviata. Conductor Marco Armiliato, whose supportive accompaniments help make the concert a rousing success, directs the capable orchestra.

So this two-hour singfest provides joys for vocal buffs despite the hectic video direction that keeps the cameras moving endlessly, unnecessarily swooping around the auditorium, zooming from balconies to the stage and back, and otherwise distracting from the main event. --Dan Davis

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Anna Netrebko, Elina Garanca, Ramón Vargas, Ludovic Tezier
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC
  • Language: Multilingual (DTS 5.1), Multilingual (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: Italian, English, German, French, Spanish, Cantonese
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Deutsche Grammophon
  • DVD Release Date: January 8, 2008
  • Run Time: 138 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000UPSKO8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,599 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Opera Gala: Live from Baden-Baden" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This is the COMPLETE version of the Baden-Baden Concert on July 2007, available on DVD from DG, whereas the CD is the excerpted version.
By ALL means get this DVD version, since it contains double the contents of the CD, with some BEST performances NOT available on the CD version. (Plus stunning visual effects, of course).
Having reviewed the CD version earlier on, I must say that the complete concert reveals some thing quite different and interesting.
DG, in its inlaid leaflet, claims that its two artists Elina Garanca and in particular Anna Netrebko alone would have made the concert a success.
True - but only to a certain extent, and the truth lies mainly in the VISUAL aspect.
Without doubt, both Netrebko and Garanca are top-notch singers. Netrebko owns a voice whose unfathomable lyricism is hard to beat these days from any lyrical soprano. Garanca is a top-notch coloratura mezzo-soprano in the league of the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. Both ladies attired in Escada's gowns and Chopard jewelry, really presented a wonderful blend of commercialism and artistry.
Having said that, IMHV, the best performances that evening, rather from the two ladies, came from much less well-known (allow me to say so since I do not reside in Europe) French baritone Ludovic Tezier.
Right after the Norma duet from Netrebko and Garanca after the opening sinfonia, Tezier gave the concert its 'morning call' by his Il Puritani solo aria, a wonderful display of lyrical baritone, rich in tone and flying in coloratura singing. Garanca's Rossini aria from La Cenerantola is the second showpiece, fully demonstrating an agile coloratura.
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Format: DVD
This DVD of the Opera Gala from Baden-Baden is truly a worthy addition to anyone's collection of beautiful singing. The video and audio are excellent. All four featured singers possess gorgeous voices and in top form. The ladies looked divine and performed all their numbers magnificently. The baritone Ludovic Tezier was likewise quite impressive in my first introduction to his considerable talent. However, it was tenor Ramon Vargas who proved to be the rock and big star of the show. Although his voice has grown into a robust, powerful spinto with dark colors, he has not lost any of his admirable and distinctive qualities such as his trademark elegant legato singing, masterful control of dynamics, unerring sense of belcanto style and musicality of the highest order. His burnished bronze served him well in the dramatic Verdi numbers. Not only did he sing the most and clearly garnered the most ovation for his arias and duets, he was chiefly instrumental in raising the excitement level throughout the evening everytime he came out to do his solo or duet. For instance, after Anna Netrebko brought the roof down with the Lehar number and her bag of amusing tricks (seemingly an impossible act to follow), Vargas followed with a rollicking and powerful rendition of Rossini's La Danza in a pretty brisk tempo and demolished the remainder of the house left by Netrebko. It's that kind of a night that clearly belonged to Vargas, the senior of the group. Elina Garanca was sensational in the Spanish number too. The way the ladies looked and everybody sang made this gala a truly memorable one, and hard to top yardstick for a gala of four in the future.
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Format: Blu-ray
Once again the Blu-ray format has brought new life and impact to a classical concert. Both the picture and sound are stunning - whether you select the DTS or PCM soundtracks you will not be disappointed. The added resolution and colour definition make the picture really come alive. The singers and orchestra both perform without fault. However, the program itself is quite acceptable, but definitely not inspired.
This recording has three shortcomings which prevented me from giving it a 5-star rating. First, the camera work leaves a lot to be desired. There is definitely too much zooming - in some concerts this would not be a problem but for this kind of material it is quite distracting. This is not the best example of TV direction -- while it may be considered acceptable in some circles it definitely does not enhance the overall impact in this kind of venue. Secondly, the subtitles are often difficult to read against a white background - I cannot understand why they cannot impose these on a grey background to improve readability. And thirdly, there are some odd camera angles and as in other discs I have reviewed the camera does not stay on the singers when they are actually singing - it often cuts away to the orchestra or audience and all the viewer sees is the singer's back. Too often, the camera zooms in or out from the singer. Surely TV directors should realize that overuse of zooms and cutaways is not acceptable or artistic in a recording of this kind from a prestigious company like DG.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is an excellent concert recording. As mentioned by another reviewer, the lesser known singers were up to the high standards of Netrebko and Vargas. Netrebko and Garanca were exceptional in their acting even though this was a concert. They gave the impression they were enjoying themselves as much as the audience was.
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