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Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana - Leoncavallo: Pagliacci [Blu-ray]
Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana - Leoncavallo: Pagliacci [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Jonas Kaufmann
Price: $19.98
36 used & new from $13.25

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Kaufmann 10, Production 3, July 22, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Jonas Kaufmann is, as expected, riveting in his role debuts as Turiddu and Canio in this production of "Cav" & "Pag" from the 2015 Salzburg Easter festival. As he has demonstrated over and over again, he is the full package, one seemingly designed by the gods for the HD age of opera: ridiculously handsome, with a glorious voice and the acting chops of Brando. Unfortunately, the production, by German film director Philipp Stölzl, lets him and the rest of the fine cast down in a big way. The concept, which presents both pieces as if they were some sort of living comic strip, complete with a stage awkwardly divided into frames, and bizarre, almost surreal, sets and costumes, is the antithesis of "verismo," the movement for which these operas are the prime examples. Many of the directorial choices are jarring and senseless -- Turiddu and Santuzza having a son of 8 or 9 years old, Mamma Lucia being some kind of underworld money launderer (!), Tonio apologizing for presenting himself to the audience "alone" when he's in fact surrounded by the entire cast, Canio slapping an annoying child at the top of "Pagliacci"-- but in the world of regietheater, can one expect anything else? Well, yes. I'm not against updating and high concept, by any means, but the arbitrariness of what Stölzl is doing here just ends up being annoying, claustrophobic and distracting. I will not be keeping this video in my collection. Kaufmann has been just as good elsewhere, and there will be, hopefully, a better "Cav" & "Pag" in future to replace it.


The BFG
The BFG
Price: $9.99
46 used & new from $5.99

6 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bland. Forgettable. Generic., July 1, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The BFG (Audio CD)
I respectfully disagree with the other review posted here. I'm a huge fan of Mr. Williams and practically squealed with delight when I found "The BFG" in my mailbox this afternoon. On listening, however, I must say that, disappointingly, I find nothing particularly distinctive about it. It's lovely music, atmospheric and punctuated with moments that could only come from Williams's pen; but it sounds slightly recycled to me. Almost all of Williams's scores are ones that could only exist in the films for which they've been composed. Much of "The BFG" sounds remarkably similar to a great deal of what this musical genius has done elsewhere. I kept waiting for a theme that would move and/or delight me in the same way that I'm moved and delighted by "A.I.," "E.T.," "Superman," "War Horse," "Tintin" and "Amistad." Or any number of brilliant scores I haven't mentioned. "The BFG" sounds like outtakes from "Harry Potter" and "Hook," and while that's not necessarily a bad thing, it makes for a frustrating listen.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 19, 2016 9:47 AM PDT


Ripcord
Ripcord
Offered by Master Music JP
Price: $8.88
67 used & new from $6.94

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True Blue, May 6, 2016
This review is from: Ripcord (Audio CD)
I'm a little thrown by the reviewer who didn't find much of the genuine Keith Urban in this album. As far as I'm concerned, this is hands down one of his best. It's almost the very prototype of a Keith Urban album: great vocals on great songs that are a helluva lot of fun to listen to. His rock side is represented by tracks like "Gone Tomorrow (Here Today);" his country side by "Blue Aint' Your Color;" his pop country side by "John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16;" his pop side by the infectious duet with Carrie Underwood, "The Fighter." I'd say this album is as true an example of what makes Urban great as the blue of his eyes on the album art.


John Corigliano & William M. Hoffman: The Ghosts of Versailles
John Corigliano & William M. Hoffman: The Ghosts of Versailles
Price: $28.49
25 used & new from $20.23

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Buyer Beware (What Hybrid SACD - DSD), April 28, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It is not my intention to review a CD I have not heard, but to point out to potential buyers that "Hybrid SACD - DSD" means that these CDs will only play in traditional CD players. I play music through my computers only, and therefore was unable to play these discs after purchasing. My bad, of course, the set is clearly marked on the Amazon site. I should have done my research, and wanted to save others from making the same mistake.


The Manhattan Project
The Manhattan Project
4 used & new from $19.75

5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful Ear Worm, April 22, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Manhattan Project (Audio CD)
The main theme of this soundtrack (first heard on the track "Ithaca" and reminiscent of John Williams at his catchiest) is so delightful and infectious a tune that it's been stuck in my head for 30 years, ever since I first purchased it on vinyl when the film came out in 1986. How great to have it again on CD so that it can get out of my head and onto my stereo. Sarde is a master musical storyteller, and this is a soundtrack I'll treasure, right alongside his brilliant work on "Tess."


Sunny Designs 2863RO-F3 Sedona 3 Drawers File Cabinet
Sunny Designs 2863RO-F3 Sedona 3 Drawers File Cabinet
Offered by PlumStruck
Price: $595.00
6 used & new from $523.60

4.0 out of 5 stars Solid, with caveats, April 16, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is fundamentally a functional, solid filing cabinet, exactly as pictured, although a little bit less red in color. Unfortunately, the first thing I had to do after unpacking it -- it was very, very well packaged for deliver, BTW -- was jerry rig one of the drawers. The piece of wood running from front to back on the bottom of the top drawer came slightly loose after I loaded the drawer with files, so that it would not close after the drawer was pulled out to full position. But I got under the drawer on my back and taped up that piece of wood, so now it works just fine. I do wish the drawers were deeper. The tabs on the file folders I have put into the hanging folders I'm using brush against the top of the drawers when I open and close them (if you can picture that), so I am anticipating that they will become frayed in time. At this price, those things just shouldn't occur, in my opinion. Ultimately, though, I'm not unhappy with the purchase. It suits my needs much better than a cheap and flimsy metal cabinet would.


Pietro Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana - Ruggero Leoncavallo: Pagliacci (Blu-ray Sampler)
Pietro Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana - Ruggero Leoncavallo: Pagliacci (Blu-ray Sampler)
DVD ~ Grischa Asagaroff
Price: $9.99
24 used & new from $4.76

3.0 out of 5 stars Middle of La Strada, April 9, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a 2008, no-frills "Cav & Pag," built around solid dual performances by Argentine tenor José Cura. Also well served are the sizzling Santuzza of Paoletta Marrocu and the Silvio of barihunk Gabriel Bermudez. Director Grischa Asagaroff makes some odd, detrimental choices, some small (there was certainly no breakdancing in the 1940s), some not-so-small (having Lola live directly next door to Tiriddu in "Cavalleria Rusticana" makes no dramatic sense whatsoever, as well as contradicts the libretto); otherwise this is a safe, unimaginatively staged production. At this price, though, why would you not make the investment?


Moment Gear Hogwarts Alumni Mens Sweatshirt
Moment Gear Hogwarts Alumni Mens Sweatshirt
Offered by Moment Gear
Price: $38.00 - $43.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, March 20, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Very comfortable sweatshirt, but slightly larger than I would expect for a medium. Ultimately a good buy.


The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Studio Cast Recording)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Studio Cast Recording)
Price: $14.99
32 used & new from $12.66

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Obsessed, February 13, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I know that "Hamilton" is the benchmark against which all musicals this season must be gauged, but as much of a work of genius as it is -- and it most definitely is that -- I find myself coming back to this recording more often. This is a great, grand, gorgeous, full-blown, old-fashioned musical score, stunningly sung by a cast that couldn't be bettered. I am not, admittedly, a fan of the animated film -- cute singing statues?! -- but this recording makes me kick myself for not getting out to Papermill Playhouse to see their production. Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz have always brought out the best in each other, and this time is no exception. I'm particularly drawn to some of the material that was not in the film, like "Rest and Recreation," "Rhythm of the Tambourine" and "In a Place of Miracles." But the preexisting material is given new life and makes far more of an impression than in the film. (With the exception of "Out There," which was always genius; one of the best songs ever written for a film of any kind, IMHO.) Bottom line: if you're in any way a musical theater junkie, this recording is essential listening.


Wagner: Der Fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman)
Wagner: Der Fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman)
DVD ~ Bryn Terfel
Offered by megahitrecords
Price: $16.99
16 used & new from $9.52

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Der bekloppt Holländer, January 15, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Did you know that Wagner's "Der fliegende Holländer" was an indictment of the Dutch East India Company's exploitation of the indigenous South African native? Well, neither did I until I saw Andreas Homoki's completely loopy, but not uninteresting 2013 staging for Opernhaus Zurich. It doesn't quite make sense -- which is putting it mildly -- but it's entertaining in an abstract, what-the-hell's-going-on? kind of way. After a while, unfortunately, you realize that the answer is, "Not much," which is not entirely Homoki's fault. A fairly early opera in Wagner's career, it doesn't have the most cohesive libretto, with all of the dramatic tension pretty much resolved by the end of Act 2. And, for that matter, we already know what Senta's answer to the Dutchman will be any number of scenes prior. So the "conflict" of Act 3 is pretty much manufactured and unbelievable, at least by 21st century standards. On the other hand, "Il trovatore" and "La sonnambula" hardly rate a 10 on the credibility scale, so why carp, right? Better if you just go along with the whole male-chorus-getting-shot-with arrows bit -- yes, you read that right -- and not ask too many questions. Bryn Terfel's Dutchman, anyway, is the raison d'être for this filming in the first place, and he's absolutely splendid; no big surprise, but greatly to be appreciated. Equally good are the Daland of opera great Matti Salminen and, in a much smaller role, the Helmsman of Fabio Trümpy. Less successful, IMHO, are Anja Kampe, who's a little shrill in the upper register and Marco Jentzsch's callow, strident Erik. Bottom line: This cockeyed, crazy interpretation of "Der fliegende Holländer" maybe not be ideal, but until another, more conventional version with Terfel comes along, it will just have to do. But if you can't stomach the unconventional, and it will interfere with your ability to enjoy the singing, stay far, far away.


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